WASHINGTON (September 13, 2005)—Deirdre McQuade, formerly with the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been named Director of Planning and Information for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In this position, Ms. McQuade will be the primary media spokesperson for the Secretariat, and will assume responsibility for planning major outreach and advertising campaigns.
Msgr. William P. Fay, USCCB General Secretary, announced the appointment. "In addition to her impressive educational background, Deirdre McQuade's experience in ecumenical outreach, her work with young people, her experience in counseling and assisting pregnant women, as well as her work with Feminists for Life, provide a perfect background for making known to a broad audience, secular and religious, Church teachings concerning the sanctity of human life," Msgr. Fay said.
Ms. McQuade, noting that the Catholic Church is the nation's most prominent pro-life voice, said she looks forward to "helping direct the Church's educational and public outreach efforts on pro-life issues. There is a great need for people to learn to raise questions about abortion," she said, "especially in terms of its impact on women and our larger society." In her role as the bishops' public voice on abortion, Ms. McQuade also said she is "looking forward to working with the media and to be available to them to provide information and perspective on the public policy debate on the life issues."
Deirdre McQuade holds Masters degrees in both philosophy and theology from the University of Notre Dame. She recently was a grant program analyst in the Office of Research on Women's Health at NIH, directed the Office of Pastoral Research for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in 1999-2002, where she also served as an ecumenical officer, and in 2003 was the National Program Director for Feminists for Life where she oversaw the organization's College Outreach Program.
The Pro-Life Secretariat works to teach and deepen respect for all human life, especially the most vulnerable – the unborn, disabled, elderly, and those who are dying. The Secretariat also coordinates and advises with respect to public policy to protect the lives of those vulnerable members of the human family. It works both within the Church and in the public square, and encourages local programs that assist pregnant women, disabled persons, the dying, and those who have been involved in abortion.