By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman and Steve Jalsevac
BRAZIL, March 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), which is the Canadian bishops' international aid organization, is funding two pro-abortion groups in Brazil, LifeSiteNews has learned. However, despite the mounting evidence D&P is continuing to deny that there is any problem with its funding of the various groups noted in the LSN reports on this issue.
The first group, the Rural Women's Movement (Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas), openly opposes efforts to enforce Brazil's laws against abortion, and suggests that abortion is a "right."
"To criminalize women who practice abortion is an act of absolute injustice and against Human Rights," the organization proclaims in its open letter, "Letter of Repudiation of the Creation of the CPI to Investigate the Practice of Abortion" (see Portuguese original at http://www.mmcbrasil.com.br/noticias/171208_cpi_aborto.html).
The open letter was issued by the group to protest the creation of a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) in the Brazilian Congress to investigate clandestine abortions in Brazil. Abortion is illegal in Brazil, although it is not penalized in cases of rape or danger to the life of the mother.
"The creation of a CPI to investigate abortion practices, by those who should guarantee rights and justice in Brazil (a majority of whom are men), deserves our repudiation and our indignation," the organization proclaims.
The Rural Women's Movement is listed as a D&P "partner" on the Development and Peace website (http://www.devp.org/devpme/eng/international/latinamerica-links-eng.html), which in turn links to the Movement's website containing the pro-abortion declaration.
The second organization identified by LifeSiteNews as pro-abortion is the Federation of Organs for Social and Educational Assistance (Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional, or FASE). The group treats abortion as a "right" and displays literature endorsing the legalization and availability of abortion.
FASE endorses a joint statement demanding the legalization of abortion in Brazil on its website, which claims that "the Brazilian government has the obligation and responsibility to guarantee to women who need to have recourse to abortion that they can do so in conditions that are necessary for the preservation of their health and their life. The SUS, being the Public Health System, should guarantee universal access to these rights for all women and all social classes" (see original statement in Portuguese at http://www.fase.org.br/v2/pagina.php?id=1504).
The organization also promotes the pro-abortion National Feminist Network for Health, Sexual Rights,and Reproductive Rights (see http://www.fase.org.br/v2/pagina.php?id=2162) which provides women with information on where they can obtain abortions without prosecution, and advocates the increased availability of abortion in Brazil (see report by group in Portuguese at http://www.redesaude.org.br/Homepage/JornaldaRede/JR18/Jornal%20da%20Rede%20n%BA%2018.pdf).
FASE even displays the National Feminist Network's pro-abortion "Report on the Participation of the Feminist Network for Health in the Social World Forum -- 2009" in which the Network discusses its contribution to the theme, "The Illegality of Abortion Threatens the Lives of Women" (http://www.fase.org.br/projetos/clientes/noar/noar/UserFiles/30/File/Publica%E7%F5es/Rede%20Feminista%20de%20Sa%FAde%20-%20FSM%202009.doc).
The pro-abortion activities of the two groups and the African groups reported in yesterday's LSN report were originally uncovered by John Pacheco at the Canadian blog "So-Con or Bust." He has sent an open letter to Archbishop Weisgerber of Winnipeg, displayed on his blog, which includes documentation of the two groups, as well as many others funded by D&P whose statements openly or implicitly endorse the legalization and/or availability of abortion, contraception, and other activities condemned by the Catholic Church (see letter at http://www.socon.ca/or_bust/?p=1566, and see index of posts on topic at http://www.socon.ca/or_bust/?p=1567).
Pacheco does not state if he has received a response from Weisgerber. However, he says he did receive a response from another bishop, whom he does not name. The bishop wrote, in response to Pacheco's suggestion that donations be given to LifeSiteNews instead of D&P, "I think that it's time you removed my name from your mailing list - what you are advocating is simply stupid! Why should irresponsable journalism be rewarded?"
As LifeSiteNews has reported, the D&P is funding at least five organizations in Mexico that support the legalization of abortion, as well as at least three in Africa. The National Catholic Register has reported that the D&P is funding a strongly pro-abortion organization in Bolivia as well. LifeSiteNews is also investigating evidence that suggests that even more groups funded by D&P actively endorse abortion or contraception.
Only a small percentage of the approximately 200 international organizations funded by D&P have been investigated so far by LifeSiteNews, but the percentage investigated found to be formally supportive of abortion is alarming. LSN's findings, however, have confirmed the statements given by Gilio Brunelli, Director of International Programs for Development and Peace, who admitted in an interview on March 11 that the Catholic development organization does not have a policy for or against abortion.
Given that many social justice and development groups in these times tend to have a strong tendency to lean well to the left on many issues, it would seem imperative for D&P to undertake due diligence to ensure funded groups do not hold any views contrary to Church principles on abortion, contraception, radical feminisn and homosexuality.
At the moment D&P is still vehemently denying that there are any problems and that the LSN reports are false (http://www.devp.org/devpme/eng/pressroom/2009/comm2009-03-20-eng.html). The reaction among Canadian bishops has been mixed, with a significant number disregarding the LSN reports and giving full weight to the widely disseminated D&P denials and attacks upon the integrity of LSN. The reason given is that D&P is "an arm of the Church" and is therefore more credible.
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Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
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