In a race for the First Congressional District, Republican incumbent Michael Forbes of Long Island charged his Democratic opponent, Nora Bredes, of Catholic bashing.

Rep. Forbes was referring to the anti-Catholic statements made by one of Bredes’ fundraisers, Marilyn Fitterman. Fitterman is a former president of the New York State Chapter of the National Organization for Women and a vocal critic of Forbes. She has repeatedly charged the Catholic Church with interfering in public policy and has compared an unborn child to a “leech.”

In a letter to the editor of the East Hampton Star, Fitterman wrote that the Catholic Church accepted abortion until 1856! She labeled Catholicism a “patriarchal religion,” one that turns its back on the poor, leaving children hungry. Fitterman explained her support for abortion by saying that “A fetus is not separate and apart from a woman’s body. It is part of her body, feeding off the mother, like a leech, sucking her energy, her health, and sometimes her emotional well-being. If men were ordered to use their bodies as such, abortion would probably be a sacrament.”

Rep. Forbes has also objected to Fitterman’s persistent claims that he seeks to impose his Catholic views on the public. The league, of course, stands behind the right of any Catholic to bring his Catholic-informed beliefs to any public forum.

The Catholic League was quick to denounce Fitterman for her comments but was pleased that Rep. Bredes distanced herself quickly from Fitterman’s remarks.

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