February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a person posing as a pro-choice leader thanked her for defending reproductive rights against the U.S. Catholic bishops, Sr. Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association thanked the individual and encouraged her group to take a proposed donation to CHA and instead use it to benefit a “poor woman.”
The pro-life activist behind the e-mail says Keehan didn’t respond to e-mails with an overt pro-life point of view sent from several e-mail addresses, but got a very different response when posing as a pro-choice leader praising her for defending birth control.
The individual sent a message from the fake pro-choice group “Riverside for Choice” on Sunday thanking Sr. Keehan for protecting access to birth control and for her “willingness to not be intimidated by people like the catholic [sic.] bishops who oppose choice in women’s health.”
“On behalf of all the women and men of Riverside for Choice I would like to thank you for protecting the rights of all women to have free access to essential health services including the contraceptives that allow us to control our own health and bodies,” the individual, posing as “Jenna Wagner” of “Riverside for Choice,” said in an e-mail exchange with Sr. Keehan forwarded to LifeSiteNews.com (LSN). “Wagner” also requested information on how to send a donation to CHA.
“Thanks so much, it would please me if you would use the money for a poor woman in California,” was Sr. Keehan’s response the next day, signed “Keep praying, Sr Carol.”
“Wagner” said that the funds in honor of CHA would go to “our fund for women who can’t afford reproductive services,” and added, “Keep up your good work.” Sr. Keehan didn’t respond.
In response to an LSN inquiry about the exchange, Sr. Keehan confirmed the validity of the exchange and said that she is “pro-life, not pro-choice.”
“That they happen to like something I did is something I have no control over,” Sr. Keehan wrote. “I said clearly in many interviews and press releases that our ministries could not be compelled to buy contraceptives. The administration found a way that we would not be involved and I was pleased about that.”
LSN asked why Riverside for Choice, which appears to specifically promote artificial birth control, was encouraged to spend funds in CHA’s honor. Sr. Keehan responded, “I asked them to use it for a woman who was poor, I did not ask them to use it for reproductive health.”
Sr. Keehan and CHA have become the fulcrum of the intensifying controversy regarding the Obama administration’s plan to require Catholic employers to pay for sterilizations, contraception, and abortifacient birth control drugs such as the “week-after” pill, Ella. The White House flaunted support from CHA on Friday when it announced an “accommodation” to the mandate that has since been soundly denounced by the U.S. bishops as inadequate. Media outlets then juxtaposed CHA’s name beside Planned Parenthood‘s to give the impression that the two sides of the debate agreed to the arrangement. The CHA also infamously broke with bishops last year to lend critical support to the health reform bill behind the mandate.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Sr. Keehan was one of three people the president called before delivering his Friday morning “adjustment” to the mandate, which rephrased the rule while leaving it essentially unchanged. The other two were the heads of the U.S. Bishops Conference and Planned Parenthood.
The sender of the e-mail, who wished to remain anonymous, told LifeSiteNews.com that the faux pro-choice e-mail address was used after other e-mails were ignored.
“I sent her numerous e-mails from a pro-life point of view and she did not respond, so I wondered if she would respond in a positive way to an e-mail from an abortion supporter and she sure did,” said the sender.
“I was most disturbed by her asking a clearly pro-abortion group to use their money for a ‘poor woman’ knowing a pro-abortion group would use it for abortion,” the sender said, “and when I wrote back and basically said it would go in a fund for ‘reproductive services’ meaning abortion, she did not object.”
Catholic Health Association.