Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Catholics for a Free Choice Take Campaign to Overturn Vatican’s Opposition to Condoms to AIDS Conference
Catholics for a Free Choice this week has taken its campaign to overturn the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to the use of condoms to the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, asking attendees to e-mail the Vatican stating their support for condom use as a means of preventing HIV transmission, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 7/10). Last November, Catholics for a Free Choice launched an awareness campaign aimed at overturning the church's ban on condoms. The campaign uses billboards and ads in newspapers and subways with the slogan "Banning Condoms Kills." The ads have been posted in the United States and other countries, including Mexico, the Philippines, Kenya, South Africa, Chile and Zimbabwe, which have "significant" Catholic populations or high levels of HIV/AIDS (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/29/01). The Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms because they are a form of contraception, which is banned under Catholic dogma. Frances Kissling, Catholics for a Free Choice's president, said the campaign, which was "triggered by mounting dissent" against the church's policy by U.S. Catholics, aims to get the Vatican to "change its position and preach that the use of condoms is not against life, it is part of the culture of life" (Agence France-Presse, 7/10). Elfriede Harth, the organization's European representative, added that the church's ban is important to both Catholics and non-Catholics because "religiously controlled institutions," such as Catholic hospitals and social service organizations that serve a wide variety of populations, often receive public funds to operate HIV/AIDS services. She encouraged public policy makers "to take a critical look at how the [church's] policy affects their ability to play a responsible role in AIDS prevention efforts" (Catholics for a Free Choice release, 7/10). Copies of the ads can be viewed online.
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