(CNSNews.com) - A pro-life group is criticizing the background of the new president of abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Nancy Keenan, a former statewide elected official from Montana, took the top job at NARAL on Wednesday.
"It is a sad day in America when someone who claims to have been raised in the Catholic Church takes the helm of an organization solely dedicated to advocating the mass slaughter of innocent preborn children in the womb," the American Life League said in a press release.
"For a woman who was taught to respect all innocent human beings, it is a scandal that Ms. Keenan has agreed to lead such an anti-life, anti-Catholic organization. The Catholic Church does not waver in its teaching that the act of abortion is gravely evil in every circumstance, and Ms. Keenan has made it perfectly clear that she believes the Church is wrong," the pro-life group added.
In a statement on the NARAL website, Keenan said "the stakes have never been higher" for abortion rights supporters.
"Every branch of the federal government is dominated by powerful opponents of choice. President Bush is poised to make nominations to the Supreme Court that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Years of progress on women's health, reproductive freedom, and personal privacy are in peril," said Keenan.
"As a public servant from the heartland of America, I know that respect for a woman's personal privacy and her right to choose are truly American values. We can and we will unite a new generation of American women and their families around these shared values, and preserve and protect our hard-won rights," she added.
Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised Keenan, saying "she will make an outstanding president" of the abortion rights group.
"From her days in the Montana State Legislature to her tenure as that state's superintendent of schools, Nancy Keenan has spent a lifetime advocating on behalf of women and children," Pelosi said in a statement.
"I look forward to working with her and NARAL on a comprehensive approach to reproductive health care, including planning for healthy families, preventing unwanted pregnancies, and protecting a woman's right to choose," Pelosi added.
"Nancy is a seasoned leader and superb communicator with a lifetime commitment to pro-choice values and grassroots activism," said Sally Patterson, chair of the NARAL Pro-Choice America Board of Directors, in a statement.
"Under her direction, NARAL Pro-Choice America will re-energize its base, expand its membership, and strengthen the message of individual freedom and responsibility. She will lead the charge in the battle for the Supreme Court and serve as a tireless advocate for our fundamental and constitutionally protected rights," Patterson added.
Elizabeth Cavendish, interim president of NARAL since Kate Michelman stepped down in May 2004, will stay on to assist in the transition.
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