“We were appalled and equally saddened and disappointed to learn of her advocacy on behalf of Planned Parenthood, and want to reiterate Catholic Charities' absolute commitment to upholding Catholic teachings on abortion and other issues threatening the sanctity of human life,” Mark Dufva, executive director of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, told CNA April 9.
Dufva said former board member Alisa Lapolt Snow underwent a vetting process that included a detailed application, checking personal references, an interview, and approval by the local bishop.
The process concluded with an orientation that Dufva said “clearly explains Catholic social teaching on a number of issues, including abortion.”
“At several times throughout the process, potential board members are asked if they have any conflicts with these teachings,” he said.
“At no time during the process did Ms. Snow express any disagreement with the Church's teaching on these subjects, and she signed a board member agreement wherein she reiterated that understanding.”
Snow sparked controversy last month during her appearance before a Florida State House committee as a lobbyist on behalf of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.
The committee was considering a proposed bill to protect infants born alive during an abortion. A state legislator asked Snow what Planned Parenthood would want to happen to a baby born as a result of a botched abortion.
“We believe that any decision that's made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” she replied.
The Planned Parenthood Florida affiliates’ alliance partially backed away from Snow’s comments April 4, saying that it condemns physicians who do not follow the law or endanger a woman’s or child’s health.
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S. and is a frequent opponent of the Catholic Church on pro-life issues and matters of sexual morality.
Dufva noted that Snow resigned from the Catholic Charities affiliate’s regional advisory board on January 21. He said her activities on behalf of Planned Parenthood began after she resigned.
He said members of the Catholic Charities’ regional advisory board serve as “ambassadors” for the organization and help raise funds to provide “vital assistance” to those who are vulnerable.
“All of us at Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida are praying for Ms. Snow and are deeply saddened by this turn of events,” Dufva said.
Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida says it is saddened that a former board member has become a Planned Parenthood lobbyist, noting that she had affirmed Catholic teaching in applying for the board.
Catholic Charities, Planned Parenthood