YWCA Supports Freedom of Choice Act

By Nicholas Ballasy | November 26, 2008 | 1:14 PM EST

(CNSNews.com) - The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) has “always been pro-choice” and would support President-elect Barack Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act into law, Dr. Lorraine Cole, chief executive officer of the YWCA, told CNSNews.com.
The YWCA launched its “Own It! Campaign” on Nov. 24 at the National Press Club, an event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the YWCA and to “engage younger women on the important issues they face today.”

At the event, the group distributed the results of a national survey, “What Women Want: A National Survey of Priorities and Concerns.”
In the report, 31 percent of the women interviewed said abortion should be legal in most cases, and 23 percent said it should be legal in all cases; 24 percent said it should be illegal in most cases, and 16 percent said it should be illegal in all cases. The other respondents were not sure or declined to answer.

“Well, the YWCA has always been pro-choice, so this is a topic that we would be very supportive of, and again, in a survey that we just completed of women, the majority of women across age groups support a woman’s right to choose,” Cole told CNSNews.com.

According to their official web site, the YWCA of the USA adopted a “freedom of choice” position in 1967 at the YWCA National Convention “following an extensive debate by the nearly 1,000 delegates from local associations all over the country.”
Their Web site says: “All viewpoints were thoughtfully considered before the decision was made.” It goes on to say that their pro-choice position was “reaffirmed” at their 1988 national convention and “remains an important part of the comprehensive YWCA public policy agenda.”

Mark Crutcher of Pro Life Dynamics, a non-profit organization that conducts abortion research and runs an “Abortion Malpractice Litigation” campaign against abortion providers, said an organization like the YWCA taking a pro-choice stance is “outrageous.”

“It’s undefendable,” he said. “I would understand it when you see something like the Playboy Foundation supporting legalized abortion. You see those kinds of people supporting abortion rights, and it makes perfect sense.
“What doesn’t make sense is an organization who claims to be Christian and support the interests of women having a pro-choice stance. That’s absolutely preposterous,” Crutcher added.

Crutcher said the Freedom of Choice Act only encourages “men who prey on women” to act irresponsibly.

“It gives men who prey on women a way out,” he said. “‘I’ll pay for half the abortion’ is considered male responsibility now.”

Dr. Dorothy Height, chairperson of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the largest civil rights organization in the United States, and chair of the National Council of Negro Women, participated in the YWCA event.
Height, 96, served on the staff of the YWCA from 1944-1977. In 2004, she was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Bush on behalf of the U.S. Congress. She said she would support Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act into law.

“I certainly would, because I believe that women should have the right to choose what they will do with their bodies,” Height told CNSNews.com. “I think that having the law in a sense, makes it not only legal – abortions legal – but it also has a way of helping control a situation, and I am so pleased to know that he (Obama) will support that.”