Sr. Carol Keehan: Sandy Hook 'Separate Issue' But 'Abortion Takes the Life of an Innocent Child'

Patrick Burke | January 16, 2013 | 10:38am EST
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Sr. Carol Keehan, DC. (AP Photo)

( -- Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), which strongly supported Obamacare, called for tighter gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting but also said the CHA recognizes that abortion kills children and “we should do everything we can to prevent that.”

Sister Keehan spoke about gun violence at a press conference with other faith leaders on Tuesday at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C. The event was held to “demand political leaders take action to prevent gun violence," including requiring criminal background checks for people purchasing a gun, restricting high capacity weapons and ammunition magazines, and making gun trafficking a federal crime.

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At the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., 26 people, including 20 children, were killed in a mass shooting on Dec. 14 by 20-year-old Adam Lanza who used firearms legally owned by his mother, who he also killed.

At the press conference, asked Sr. Carol, “The CDC in its latest data from 2009 said there were 784,507 abortions in the U.S. Should President Obama back legislation to stop the slaughter by abortion of innocent children?”

Sr. Keehan said, “That’s a separate issue from what we’re talking about today. But CHA has always been on record from its very start that abortion takes the life of an innocent child and we should do everything we can to prevent that.”

Vice President Joe Biden and Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, who strongly supported the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. (AP)

“We’ve been on record legislatively forever saying that we should not allow it. And Roe v. Wade was a mistake, but we also feel a special responsibility as [to] Catholic health care,” she said.

Sr. Carol added that it is the responsibility of Catholic health providers to support programs especially for poor mothers, while continuing to fight for legislative action.

“Our statistics nationally show the rate of abortion going down overall but going up significantly in women who are poor,” Keehan told “That’s where Catholic health has got to continue to have clinics, outreach programs so that mothers never feel like they have no choice but to have an abortion. And, at the same time, still continue the legislative efforts with our Bishops’ Conference to change the law in our land.”

A letter that Sr. Keehan and other faith leaders signed and sent to Congress said:

“In light of the tragedy in Newtown—and in Aurora, Tucson, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Oak Creek, and so many more—we know that no more time can be wasted. Gun violence is taking an unacceptable toll on our society, in mass killings and in the constant day-to-day of senseless death,” according to a letter sent by 24 faith groups to members of Congress. … While we continue to pray for the families and friends of those who died, we must also support our prayers with action.”

Sr. Keehan is a member of the Catholic religious order the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

Some of the other speakers at the press conference included Vincent DeMarco of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence; Sayyid Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America; Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners; and Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.

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