Catholic Aid Organization’s Subversive Support of Latin Americans

Kathleen Reeves

Tolerance, apparently, is Enemy Number 1, especially in places where the Catholic Church’s sphere of social and political influence is intact, but waning.

A threat from without is less alarming than a threat from within. LifeSiteNews, which “emphasizes the social worth of traditional Judeo-Christian principles,” with a particular interest in Catholicism, is incensed by its discovery of that most egregious of combinations: the Catholic Church and reproductive freedom. LifeSiteNews has been hounding the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, which, in promoting development and peace, has earned the ire of the pro-life news site.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace helps fund the Agencia Latinoamericana de Información, a news agency based in Ecuador. LifeSiteNews charges that ALAI

consistently publishes opinion and news articles supportive of the legalization or depenalization of abortion, contraceptive use, and homosexual behavior, as well as attacking the Catholic Church for its doctrines on human life and family.

 

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A reporter from LifeSiteNews confronted the executive director of ALAI with the (curiously worded) accusation: “The organizations that use your organizations are left-wing organizations, aren’t they?" The director, Sally Birch, responded that they were “progressive, let’s say.”

The organization covers a broad spectrum of issues in Latin America, including the economy, human rights, elections, and health. Indeed, it could be accused of being progressive. LifeSiteNews points to articles that challenge, implicitly or openly, the Catholic Church on issues of abortion and sexual morality. In one case, a Catholic priest argues that embryos are not people. (All articles linked are in Spanish; an English version of the site is here.)

LifeNewsSite does not cite an article titled, “Constitution vs. Abortion,” which reports on the Dominican Republic’s upholding of a constitutional ban on abortion. The article points out that in 1992, there were 82,500 clandestine abortions, with 14,650 women hospitalized as a result.

Displayed prominently in LifeSiteNews’s article is the cover of a brochure, or perhaps a poster, put out by ALAI, titled, “For a Diverse and Plural Millennium.” Along the top is written: “World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.” It’s evidently the most damning graphic LifeSiteNews could find. (Though perhaps they suspect that gayness is involved; the poster has a broad rainbow running across it.)

Tolerance, apparently, is Enemy Number 1, especially in places where the Catholic Church’s sphere of social and political influence is intact, but waning.

Besides its commitment to Judeo-Christian principles, LifeSiteNews claims to be “respectful of all authentic religions and cultures that esteem life, family and universal norms of morality.” Its message to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, and to other wayward Catholics, is clear: we stand for “universal norms of morality,” not tolerance. We provide rules and lectures before humanitarian aid. If this comes at the cost of development, so be it. Because in Latin America and around the world, we, rather than the people we serve, know best when their bodies and souls are healthy.

Analysis Politics

Timeline: Donald Trump’s Shifting Position on Abortion Rights

Ally Boguhn

Trump’s murky position on abortion has caused an uproar this election season as conservatives grapple with a Republican nominee whose stance on the issue has varied over time. Join Rewire for a look back at the business mogul's changing views on abortion.

For much of the 2016 election cycle, Donald Trump’s seemingly ever-changing position on reproductive health care and abortion rights has continued to draw scrutiny.

Trump was “totally pro-choice” in 1999, but “pro-life” by 2011. He wanted to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood in August 2015, but claimed “you can’t go around and say that” about such measures two months later. He thinks Planned Parenthood does “very good work” but wants to see it lose all of its funding as long as it offers abortion care. And, perhaps most notoriously, in late March of this year Trump took multiple stances over the course of just a few hours on whether those who have abortions should be punished if it became illegal.

With the hesitancy of anti-choice groups to fully embrace Trump—and with pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’s List all backing his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—it is likely his stance on abortion will remain a key election issue moving into November.

Join Rewire for a look back at the business mogul’s changing views on abortion.

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News Abortion

Pennsylvania’s TRAP Law Could Be the Next to Go Down

Teddy Wilson

The Democrats' bill would repeal language from a measure that targets abortion clinics, forcing them to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities.

A Pennsylvania lawmaker on Wednesday introduced a bill that would repeal a state law requiring abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities (ASF). The bill comes in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a similar provision in Texas’ anti-choice omnibus law known as HB 2.

A similar so-called targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law was passed in Pennsylvania in 2011 with bipartisan majorities in both the house and state senate, and was signed into law by former Gov. Tom Corbett (R).

SB 1350, sponsored by Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) would repeal language from Act 122 that requires abortion clinics to meet ASF regulations. The text of the bill has not yet been posted on the state’s legislative website.

The bill is co-sponsored by state Sens. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia), Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), and Judy Schwank (D-Berks).

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Leach said in a statement that there has been a “nationwide attack on patients and their doctors,” but that the Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy.

“Abortion is a legal, Constitutionally-protected right that should be available to all women,” Leach said. “Every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly swore an oath to support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States, so we must act swiftly to repeal this unconstitutional requirement.”

TRAP laws, which single out abortion clinics and providers and subject them to regulations that are more stringent than those applied to medical clinics, have been passed in several states in recent years.

However, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that struck down two of the provisions in HB 2 has already had ramifications on similar laws passed in other states with GOP-held legislatures.

The Supreme Court blocked similar anti-choice laws in Wisconsin and Mississippi, and Alabama’s attorney general announced he would drop an appeal to a legal challenge of a similar law.

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