Think you know what the Catholic view on abortion is? Well, Jon O’Brien is here to set you straight.
“This stereotypical view that being a Catholic means you’re anti-abortion is downright wrong around the world, and I think it’s downright wrong in Australia,” O’Brien says.
O’Brien, who is currently visiting Australia, is president of Catholics For Choice. The organisation was formed by three American women in the 1970s. It supports women’s right to follow their own conscience when it comes to birth control and abortion.
“Ninety-nine per cent of Catholic women who are sexually active in the United States of America use a method of birth control that the bishops don’t like,” O’Brien says. “Ninety-nine per cent! If you had a campaign against something, I think you might give up at some point if you knew that 99 per cent of those people you were supposed to be trying to convince didn’t agree with you.
“When it comes to abortion, Catholic women have abortions at the same rate as those of other faiths, or those of no faith.”
Catholics have abortions too. Photo via iStock.
O'Brien believes most Catholics don't listen to the church hierarchy's teachings on birth control anymore.
"Young Catholic women these days, their mums will tell them, 'Make sure you look after yourself, make sure you protect yourself, make sure that when you’re having sex that it’s in a situation that you feel good, and that when you decide to have a child, you’re ready for one.' I think that's the way we talk to one another in our Catholic communities today."
He says there's not much preaching against contraception at Sunday Mass anymore. Instead, the message has been taken to parliament.
"They’re putting politicians under pressure so that those politicians end up enacting policies that the Catholic hierarchy support but very few other people do."