Planned Parenthood head lashes out at Cardinal O’Malley

Cardinal Sean O'Malley / Dianne Luby; Photo Credit: Boston Globe
Cardinal Sean O'Malley / Dianne Luby; Photo Credit: Boston Globe


Dianne Luby, the head of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts has responded to comments by Cardinal Sean O’Malley after the prelate criticized President-elect Obama and Planned Parenthood. Charging that his comments diminish his credibility, she argued that Catholics “overwhelmingly support” the “views and services” offered by Planned Parenthood and advocated by Obama.

She also claimed Planned Parenthood shares common ground with the Catholic Church on working to reduce “risky behavior among young people” and the need for abortions.

Luby’s reply was directed to the Boston Globe’s Michael Paulson, who had interviewed the cardinal.

In his interview with Paulson after Election Day, the cardinal had remarked that Obama “is possibly in the pocket of Planned Parenthood, which in its origins was a very racist organization to eliminate the blacks, and it’s sort of ironic that he’s been co-opted by them.” He also said Obama had a “deplorable” record on pro-life issues and argued that church-going Catholics reflect the Church’s teaching, though “not as much as we’d like them to.”

Luby, the President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, responded to Cardinal O’Malley in a message to Paulson.

"It diminishes Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s credibility when he attacks President-elect Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood for views and services his own members overwhelmingly support,” Luby claimed, saying the cardinal and several other “participants at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops” are “eager to jump into politics.”

She said it would be good for the bishops “to understand why their messages didn’t stick with their primary audience,” claiming that Obama succeeded because of his ability to “propose solutions that reflect the reality of issues faced by the American people.”

Luby then cited statistics claiming 92 percent of married Catholics use some form of birth control, while 72 percent of Massachusetts Catholic voters support “comprehensive sex education.”

“These are issues that the Catholic Church and Cardinal O’Malley have repeatedly refused to acknowledge as a mainstream part of health and education in our society,” she argued, saying “Perhaps Cardinal O’Malley should spend less time sharing political opinions and more time listening to the reality of life for his own constituency.”

Luby claimed the Catholic Church has “an opportunity to reconnect with their members around these issues,” arguing that Obama had succeeded with voters by “highlighting messages about preventing unintended pregnancy and reducing the need for abortion.” Luby professed that Planned Parenthood shares that belief and said the group would work with Cardinal O’Malley to reach that goal.

Additionally, she claimed 70 percent of Planned Parenthood services “are related to preventative care, not abortion.”

She also argued Cardinal O’Malley and other bishops “have a lot of work to do in order to reconnect with their members,” citing failed pro-life initiatives in California, Colorado, and South Dakota.

CNA spoke with the Archdiocese of Boston to obtain a reaction to Luby’s letter, but a response was unavailable by press time.