Skip to main content

Pro-choice group assails HHS pick


WASHINGTON Two Catholic advocacy groups are squaring off over the Obama Administration’s designation of an anti-abortion activist to a key position within the Department of Health & Human Services.

At issue is the White House’s appointment of Alexia Kelley, co-founder and former executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, to be director of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at HHS. The move prompted immediate opposition from Catholics for Choice and its president, Jon O’Brien.

“If Ms. Kelley had been appointed to another position in the administration, there might be less reason for concern,” O’Brien said Friday. “However, the Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for providing and expanding access to key sexual and reproductive health services. As such, we need those working in HHS to rely on evidence-based methods to reduce the need for abortion.

“We need them to believe in men's and women’s capacity to make moral decisions about their own lives. Unfortunately, as seen from her work at CACG, Ms. Kelley does not fit the bill,” O’Brien added.

His group, a vocal supporter of reproductive rights, asserts that Kelley’s leadership of CACG “reveals a vehement antichoice stance that is focused on reducing the number of, not the need for, abortions.

“This language around reducing the number of abortions should be a huge red flag to anyone who believes in and seeks to defend a woman’s right to choose,” said O’Brien. “While evidence-based prevention methods can go a long way towards reducing the need for abortion, some women will always need access to safe and legal abortion and we must recognize that and ensure public policies support that access.”

The group decried Kelley’s appointment as “a defeat for reason and logic” that “calls into question whether President Obama’s administration is serious about reducing the need for abortion.”

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds