News Releases

New York State Bishops Release Major New Statement on Abortion

Date posted: May 12, 2022

The Catholic Bishops of New York State have released a major new statement on abortion as they anticipate the looming Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, and “the gathering societal unrest over the issue of abortion.” (The full statement is available HERE and in a printable PDF suitable for parish distribution is HERE.)

In the statement titled, “Toward a Pro-Life Future in the Empire State,” the Bishops acknowledge that, regardless of what the Court decides in Dobbs, “abortion in New York would continue unfettered.” They say that Catholics must respond “in charity and with sensitivity, but with clarity” to those for whom the prospect of an overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to “fear and anxiety,” and in particular to women facing sometimes overwhelming challenges of unplanned pregnancies.

The Bishops address head-on the false notion that the Church is more concerned with the baby in the womb than with the mother and child once he or she is born, and announce a renewed pastoral effort, challenging every Catholic entity in the state to join them:

“As far back as the 1980s, the late John Cardinal O’Connor, a giant of the pro-life movement, made a pledge that we reaffirm today: Any woman – regardless of age, religious belief or affiliation, marital status or immigration status – who is pregnant and in need, can come to the Catholic Church and we will give you the services and supports you need to carry your baby to term, regardless of your ability to pay. Furthermore, we will not abandon you and your baby after delivery, but, rather, we will see to it that you have the resources that you and your child both need and deserve. No one will be turned away from life-affirming care. If you have had an abortion that you regret, whether recently or in the distant past, please come to us as well, so that we may offer you services to help you to heal.

“We ask every Catholic parish, every Catholic Charities program, every Catholic health facility, every Catholic school, every Catholic college and university, and every religious community in our state to proactively engage with us in this pastoral effort.

To that end, the Bishops have launched a new pregnancy resources page, Help for Moms, at www.nyscatholic.org/helpformoms, where women can find services available to them. The page will be continually updated with new resources.

Finally, the Bishops call on elected officials to work toward a New York that is more supportive of women in crisis pregnancies, and to gear public policies away from continually seeking to increase abortions and toward helping those “who might well make a different choice, if only they were aware of and had other options. The Bishops then present a list of 12 aspirational statements of what such a New York might look like. Over the coming days, the New York State Catholic Conferences social media platforms will highlight each of the aspirational statements, with the hashtags #WeEnvision and #HelpForMoms.

Let us work toward making New York a state where even if abortion is not illegal, it will one day be unthinkable., the Bishops conclude.

The statement is signed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, and Bishops Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany, Robert J. Brennan of Brooklyn, Michael W. Fisher of Buffalo, Terry R. LaValley of Ogdensburg, Salvatore R. Matano of Rochester, John O. Barres of Rockville Centre, and Douglas J. Lucia of Syracuse, on behalf of all of the states bishops, including auxiliary and emeritus bishops.


Statement on Gov. Hochul using $35 million in taxpayer funds to increase abortions in NYS

Date posted: May 10, 2022

“Governor Hochul’s announcement that she is going to immediately redirect $35 million in taxpayer dollars to enable abortion clinics to expand their capacity to perform even more abortions is a grave misuse of state resources and an insult to millions of pro-life New Yorkers. Inviting women from out of state to come here to abort their unborn children is a breathtaking reminder of how far our culture has fallen.

“We must ask again, when will New York lawmakers begin to dedicate even a fraction of their rhetoric and policies to supporting women who want and need the resources to keep their babies? In this month of Mary, the Bishops of New York State urge all Catholic New Yorkers to pray through her intercession for a change of heart for all elected officials, particularly those who profess the Catholic faith, and for a building up of a Culture of Life in our state.”

Take action to urge Governor Hochul to halt abortion fund!

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.


Statement on so-called ‘Abortion Access Fund’

Date posted: May 9, 2022

Following is a statement from Kristen E. Curran, director of government relations for the New York State Catholic Conference, on a proposal by Attorney General Letitia James and state lawmakers to create a fund to pay for abortions for out-of-state residents who come to New York for the procedure:

“New York is the undisputed abortion capital of the country, where virtually no New Yorker has to pay for an abortion. Abortion coverage is mandated in all commercial insurance plans without any copays, and New York is one of the few states to use state taxpayer funds through Medicaid to provide full coverage for abortions.

“Now some officials want to make abortion a tourism industry, like Broadway or Niagara Falls, for out-of-state residents. This is appalling.

“We believe the state should focus on its own residents and making New York a more welcoming culture for women in crisis pregnancies who would choose to keep their babies if only they had the supports and resources they deserve.”


Statement on leaked draft Supreme Court opinion

Date posted: May 3, 2022

Following is a statement by Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s bishops in public policy matters:

“The leaking of an internal draft opinion of the Supreme Court is an egregious breach of trust, and an attack on the integrity of the Judicial Branch of government. When our highest court cannot operate free of political interference or intimidation, it serves as a stark example that nothing is sacred any more. While we fervently pray for legal protections of unborn children, we will not dignify the goals of the leaker by commenting on the contents of the draft document.”


Statement on the Extreme Abortion Bill Failing in the US Senate

Date posted: March 1, 2022

Below is a statement from Kristen Curran, director of government relations, on the failure of a radical abortion expansion bill in the US Senate.

Yesterday, the Women’s Health Protection Act failed to advance in the Senate. The measure would have effectively undone pro-life safeguards throughout the country, and legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy nationwide. The New York State Catholic Conference is pleased that the Senate Republicans, joined by Senator Manchin of West Virginia, opposed the bill. We are deeply grateful to those across New York that did the work of contacting legislators to voice their opposition.

The Women’s Health Protection Act serves as a reminder to pro-life citizens everywhere that we must remain ever vigilant. As abortion advocates continually seek ways to expand abortion further and further, we must hold our leaders to account and ensure that dangerous proposals such as this cannot succeed.

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.


Kathleen Gallagher to Retire as Pro-Life Activities Director

Date posted: January 6, 2022

Kathleen M. Gallagher, who for the better part of four decades has served as director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, is retiring at the end of January.

In that time, she has not only represented the New York State Bishops, but has been a national leader in the pro-life movement, advocating against abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia, and in favor of supports for pregnant women in need and people near the end of life.

“No one in New York State or across the country has done more to advocate on behalf of all human life from conception until natural death than Kathy Gallagher,” said Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the NYSCC. “She is a giant of the pro-life movement, who my brother bishops, past and present, have depended on for nearly four decades to fight for the most vulnerable among us. We thank her for her tireless service. While she is moving into retirement, we’re thrilled that Kathy has agreed to serve as a valued consultant on the many issues related to respect for life that we continue to encounter. God knows we need her voice.”
 
Mrs. Gallagher is a native of Long Island who graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, and joined the Conference in 1984 after a brief stint working in the state legislature. She has served the Conference in that time as its pro-life lobbyist and spokesperson. Among her many other duties, she served as staff liaison to the Catholic prison chaplains. She has received the Diocesan Pro-Vita Award from the Dioceses of Rockville Centre, Brooklyn and Buffalo, and the Bishop Broderick Award from the Diocese of Albany. Her monthly Respect Life column continues to appear in numerous diocesan publications across the state.

“I am grateful to Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops for allowing me to represent them for so long, and blessed beyond measure to have received a salary to advocate for moral principles in which I deeply believe,” Mrs. Gallagher said.
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Kristen Curran Named Director of Government Relations

Date posted: December 6, 2021

Kristen Curran, an experienced Albany lobbyist and government affairs professional, has been appointed Director of Government Relations for the New York State Catholic Conference, Executive Director Dennis Poust announced today.

In her new role, Ms. Curran will represent the interests of the Conference at the state legislature on a broad range of public policy issues. She comes on board on January 1. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the talented and dedicated team at the New York State Catholic Conference,” Ms. Curran said. “The work of the Catholic Church enriches our communities and lifts up those in need. I’m looking forward to advancing these initiatives so that the Church may serve New Yorkers more effectively and continue to be a voice for the voiceless.”

Mr. Poust said, “Kristen brings a wealth of talent, experience and established relationships to this position, and possesses a deep understanding and appreciation for the breadth of Catholic social and moral teachings. We couldn’t be happier to have her advocating for the Bishops’ public policy priorities at the state Capitol.”

Born and raised in Albany, Ms. Curran is a product of Albany Catholic schools and a graduate of Siena College, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree. An attorney admitted to practice in the Third Department of New York State, Ms. Curran received her Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School. She has been a lobbyist for nine years and has extensive experience in organized labor and all levels of government.

She lives in Albany with her husband, James, and their children, Colleen, Clare, and Jack. They are parishioners of St. Pius X Church in Loudonville.


Statement on Appointment of Bishop Robert Brennan as Bishop of Brooklyn

Date posted: September 29, 2021

Bishop Brennan

Following is a statement from Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, on Pope Francis’ appointment of Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Columbus as the eighth Bishop of Brooklyn, succeeding the retiring Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

“We are so grateful to Pope Francis for sending Bishop Robert Brennan home to New York, as the eighth Bishop of Brooklyn. Bishop Brennan, a born-and-bred New Yorker, was an integral member of the New York State Catholic Conference during his time as a priest and auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. To Bishop Brennan, we say, ‘Welcome home!’

“As we rejoice in Bishop Brennan’s homecoming, we also give thanks for the ministry of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, whose  leadership over the last 18 years has been an incredible gift to the people of Brooklyn and Queens. As perhaps the Catholic Church’s foremost expert on migration issues, he has been an invaluable asset on the state and national level in framing the Bishops’ positions on immigration reform, treatment of refugees, and other issues related to new Americans. Our expectation is that we will continue to rely on Bishop DiMarzio’s counsel on these and many other issues for years to come.

“The Diocese of Brooklyn is perhaps the most diverse and densely populated diocese in the country. With Mass regularly celebrated in 33 languages throughout its 177 parishes, it is a living witness to the universality of the Catholic Church. It is a diocese that has seen tremendous economic, social and demographic change over the last two decades. We are overjoyed that following Bishop DiMarzio’s historic tenure, this dynamic diocese now will be in the very pastoral and capable hands of Bishop Brennan.”


Statement on resignation of Governor Cuomo

Date posted: August 10, 2021

Following is a statement from Dennis Poust, executive director of the NYS Catholic Conference, on the resignation of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo following an attorney general report detailing claims of sexual harassment against multiple women:

“The last several months, and in particular the past week, have been a difficult time for the people of New York State. Our prayers are with the women who came forward to share their stories. This was not easy for any of them, and their example will help other women to feel empowered to speak out and send the strong message that sexual harassment must never be tolerated, wherever and whenever it occurs.

“We pray also for our incoming governor, Kathy Hochul, as well as for her husband and children, as she undertakes her new, enormous responsibilities as the leader of our state as we continue to fight a deadly pandemic.

“Finally, we pray for all those directly impacted by Governor Cuomo’s resignation, including his family, his staff, and Mr. Cuomo himself.”

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.


Letter to Congress regarding Hyde Amendment

Date posted: July 8, 2021

Following is the text of a letter from Dennis Poust, executive director of the NYS Catholic Conference, to the full New York congressional delegation, regarding taxpayer funding for abortion, dated July 7, 2021:

“On behalf of Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Catholic Bishops of New York State, I write to urge you to reject taxpayer funding of abortion, and to oppose appropriations bills that do not include the long-standing, bipartisan Hyde Amendment and related pro-life policies.

“These consensus provisions have been approved year after year by Congress and Presidents of both political parties. For almost half a century, the Hyde Amendment has protected taxpayers from having abortion imposed upon them by forcing them to pay for an act that destroys unborn human lives. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment, and has said that government may reasonably favor childbirth over abortion and allocate funding accordingly (Harris v McRae).

“Whatever one’s position on the morality or legality of abortion, we all know it is unique. Indeed, the High Court has said: ‘Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures, because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.’ When the federal government subsidizes certain conduct, it encourages the behavior. Through the allocation of their tax dollars, Americans should not be compelled to finance nor encourage the practice of abortion.

“In his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis declared: ‘Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this…It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life…’

“I urge you to partner with us in providing support, funding, and programs to assist pregnant women facing challenging situations, and to empower them to bear their children and raise their families with dignity.

“Again, I implore you to oppose any appropriations bill that expands taxpayer funding of abortion.

“Please know that you and your staff are in my prayers and the prayers of the Bishops as you continue your important work on behalf of our beloved country.

“Respectfully,

Dennis Poust
Executive Director”

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.