WASHINGTON, July 18 (AP)-- A national group of Roman Catholic priests,saying they want to expose Christian politicians who support abortion rightsas false prophets, announced an advertising campaign Tuesday aimed at makingopposition to abortion the top issue for voters. Priests for Life is beginning its effort with a full-page ad in Wednesday'seditions of The New York Times. They will air television ads in selectedmarkets next month. "Voters are free to elect whom they choose. But to be free, one has to beinformed of the implications of one's choice, including the moral andspiritual implications," said the Rev. Father Frank Pavone, the nationaldirector of the New York-based group. "It is our mission, as spiritual leaders, to instruct them on the moralprinciples that should inform their decisions." The ads will not mention specific candidates or make any endorsements. Thead running in the Times tells Christian politicians who support abortionrights to "stop being a scandal to the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Pavone said he would like the TV ads to show images of an abortion, butacknowledged that may not happen since stations have balked at similarattempts by other anti-abortion groups. The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separationof Church and State, said his group would monitor the ads closely. If theads target specific races or candidates, it could compromise Priests forLife's tax-exempt status. "The campaign is designed to target specific individuals who do not changetheir position on abortion. That type of political campaign runs afoul ofthe tax laws of the country," Lynn said. Pavone said the group plans to spend between $250,000 and $1 million on thead campaign. Priests for Life has not determined where the ads will run, butwill target markets where local Catholic politicians have voted for abortionrights, he said. Pavone declined to say whether the group will place ads in Pennsylvania,where the Republican National Convention will be held in two weeks and hometo Gov. Tom Ridge, a Catholic abortion rights supporter GOP presidentialhopeful George W. Bush is considering as a running mate. The Catholic Church condemns all forms of killing and Pavone was asked whythe ads make no mention of capital punishment. He said the Church has placeda higher priority on ending abortion, which he said always involves aninnocent life and is "the ultimate human rights issue."
Priests for Life, founded nine years ago, has about 6,000 member priests. Itis not affiliated with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops or theVatican but Pavone said both groups support their efforts.