By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
ECUADOR, May 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Canadian Catholic bishops’ international aid agency is supporting a pro-abortion information service in Ecuador that 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, LifeSiteNews has learned.
The Latin American Information Agency (Agencia Latinoamericana de Información – ALAI), receives regular funding from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), which is an arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
ALAI’s website (http://alainet.org) contains over two hundred articles mentioning abortion (http://alainet.org/docs/spip.php?page=recherche&lang=es&recherche=aborto…). Out of a sample of 30 hits using the search term “abortion” in ALAI’s search engine, LifeSiteNews found 24 articles advocating the legalization and/or availability of abortion, or portraying the availability of abortion in a positive light. Of the other six, three did not mention abortion within the text, two mentioned it in a neutral manner, and only one mentioned negative consequences of abortion — and then used those consequences to advocate contraception.
One pro-abortion editorial published by ALAI says that banning abortion, contraception and homosexual behavior is a form of “terror” and “femicide”, comparing it to rape and torture.
“Femicide is the final result of a continuum of terror that includes rape, torture, genital mutilation…obligatory heterosexuality….penalizing contraception and abortion” state the authors (see original article in Spanish at http://alainet.org/active/28443).
Another article reported on Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez’s decision to veto an abortion legalization bill, the “veto that kills” and called the opposing side’s position the “so-called pro-life” stance (see article at http://alainet.org/active/27692)
Two articles distort the Catholic Church’s historic and current teaching on an abortion in an attempt to convince the reader that the procedure can be morally acceptable in some cases.
One author states openly that she accepts “its decriminalization in certain cases, such as rape,” and claims that “during the history of the Catholic Church, it never came to have a unanimous and definitive posture with respect to abortion. It oscillated between condemning it radically to allowing it in certain phases of pregnancy” (see article at http://alainet.org/active/29407).
In reality, the Catholic Church has always condemned abortion as gravely sinful, although certain theologians, who lacked modern scientific knowledge about the process of fertilization and human development, believed that a human life did not immediately begin after pregnancy.
Another author, who claims to be a Catholic priest, implies that the beginning of life in the womb is not clear and that therefore first trimester abortions are not clearly immoral.
After admitting that the embryo has its own unique genetic code, the author claims that its humanity is brought into question by the fact that it receives hormones and other support from the mother.
He states “a more than probable conclusion that follows from these considerations: the genes are not a person in miniature. Molecular biology makes it clear that, for the development and the ethics of the embryo, extragenetic information is as important as genetic information” and that its humanity does not occur “until the eighth week.”
“It is clear,” he concludes, “that in this way whoever follows this theory can reasonably hold that the interruption of the embryo before the eighth week cannot be considered as an attack against human life, nor can those contraceptive methods that impede the embryonic development before that date be considered abortifacient” (see article at http://alainet.org/active/29097).
ALAI republishes and distributes declarations made by various pro-abortion organizations, including “Catholics for the Right to Decide,” which has been repeatedly denounced by leaders in the Catholic hierarchy for deceiving the public about the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion.
It also runs articles that advocate strategies for defeating the moral influence of the Catholic Church, which it refers to as the “religious right”.
One article counsels readers on “various challenges in confronting the power of the religious right. One of those challenges is to resist attempts by the Catholic Church to recover its hegemony on sexual morality, for which it is necessary to emphasize the importance of secular societies and the separation of Church and State” (see original article at http://alainet.org/active/19894).
Sally Birch, Executive Director of ALAI, told LifeSiteNews that her organization is a “press agency focusing on social issues. We produce, you could say in some senses, alternative information on the political, social, and economic situation in Latin America.” She acknowledged that the group is funded by CCODP, and although she wouldn’t disclose the amount, admitted that it was over $10,000 Canadian dollars per year.
“The organizations that use your organizations are left-wing organizations, aren’t they?” LifeSiteNews asked. “Um, progressive let’s say,” responded Birch.
Regarding articles that favored abortion, contraception, and homosexuality, Birch acknowledged that “probably more of them” were favorable to such practices, but said it was “debatable.” She agreed to try to find examples that were not and send them to this reporter by email. As of press time, LifeSiteNews has not received a response.
The Latin American Information Agency is one of many pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and pro-gay organizations funded by the CCODP. As LifeSiteNews has reported in recent months, CCODP funds many such organizations in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia (see full coverage at http://www.lifesitenews.com/features/DevelopmentPeace/).
After admitting to LifeSiteNews in a previous interview that CCODP has no policy of refusing funds to pro-abortion organizations, the group has not responded to requests for further interviews.
An investigation into the funding of such organizations has reportedly been completed by a committee consisting of two Canadian bishops, an American bishop, and CCODP staff. The results have not yet been released.
An April 20 Catholic News Service report, re-published in Toronto’s Catholic Register under the title, “Development and Peace confident of no wrongdoing in Mexico”, reports that CCODP executive director Michael Casey was “not dismayed” after the committee’s initial meeting in Mexico City with the five groups LifeSiteNews found to be pro-abortion.
Several Canadian bishops have stated that they will refuse to contribute funds this year to CCDOP if it cannot refute allegations that it is supporting pro-abortion organizations.