By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
PUEBLA, April 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Mexican organization funded by the Canadian Catholic bishops through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), the bishops’ official international development arm, helps women to obtain legal permission for abortions, promotes the depenalization of abortion, opposes pro-life legislation, and has called for the United Nations to revoke the Vatican’s diplomatic status, LifeSiteNews (LSN) has learned.
The group, known as the Comaletzin Rural Feminist Interregional Coordinator (La Coordinadora Interregional Feminista Rural Comaletzin, or simply “Comaletzin”), received $32,000 from Development and Peace in the 2007-2008 year. It is headquartered in the state of Puebla, where it promotes a radical feminist agenda that includes advocating for abortion-on-demand.
Comaletzin is the 17th group that LSN has reported on that is pro-abortion and/or pro-contraception and that receives funding from the Canadian bishops’ development arm. (For all LSN reports on the D&P scandal, see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/features/DevelopmentPeace/)
Comaletzin’s General Coordinator, Ofelia Pastrana Moreno, told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview yesterday that the organization promotes the use of artificial birth control and “sexual and reproductive health” services. If contraceptives fail, said Pastrana, Comaletzin seeks to make abortion available to women who don’t want what she called the “product” of conception, meaning the unborn child.
“What we say is that if some contraceptive method fails, if they want an abortion it should be done in hospitals, and in hygienic, appropriate conditions,” said Pastrana. “And in the case of a rape of course we are in favor that if the woman doesn’t want to have this product then they should also attend to her in hospitals in the health sector of the government in conditions that are also completely hygienic and adequate.”
In addition, Pastrana told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that her organization had applied for permission for an abortion for a girl with Down syndrome, in accordance with state laws that do not penalize abortions in cases of rape.
“We had a case like that with a young woman with Down Syndrome who was sexually abused, of course it was never known by whom, and we … requested an abortion from the authorities which was permitted at that time before they approved this antiabortion law, and they took more than two months to respond,” she told LSN. “So when they responded, the time during which it was permitted, which is up to 12 weeks, had already run out.”
Because the government delayed the process, the child is now alive and being raised by other family members, she admitted.
Pastrana says that if women have access to adequate “sexual and reproductive health,” they won’t need abortions. She said her organization doesn’t distribute contraceptives, but it sends women to clinics that do.
Comaletzin has backed up its pro-abortion stance with concrete political action, campaigning last month in the state capital to prevent the passage of a pro-life amendment to the constitution of Puebla, which would protect the right to life from the moment of conception.
“We are surprised that the legislators want to push back the little progress that has occurred in Puebla in relation to the right to abortion, therefore we are promoting a campaign to tell the deputies that consult with people who know about this, with specialists, with the Supreme Court of Justice, but above all with women to see if they are in agreement or not with the proposal,” Pastrana told the newspaper Todo Puebla in March.
“The perception is that women don’t have the right to decide over their own lives and that all of the progress regarding the legal issue of abortion in our state is being set back,” she added (see full article in Spanish at http://www.todopuebla.com/noticias/municipios/2009-03-12/196…).
Despite Comaletzin’s campaigning and the disruptive protests organized by various pro-abortion groups, the amendment passed and is now part of the state constitution (see LifeSiteNews coverage at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09031601.html).
Comaletzin also participated in demonstrations against a pro-life amendment to the constitution of the state of Morelos in 2008, according to the Union, a Morelos newspaper.
Several organizations, among which is listed Comaletzin, “announced in a press conference the creation of a front and the carrying out of various mobilizations and actions, which would range from peaceful protests to the promotion of legal resources, to prevent the Constitutional reform, which was approved by the local Congress this week, from entering into effect,” wrote the newspaper (see full article in Spanish at http://www.launion.com.mx/mostrar_noticia.php?clave=72851&am…).
According to the pro-abortion feminist news organization CIMAC, Comaletzin also signed a declaration against an attempt to reform the state’s criminal code to remove exceptions in the penalization of abortion.
The CIMAC article states that the signers of the document, which included Comaletzin, contend that with the penal code reform “we are confronted with a serious setback regarding the respect and guarantee of the human rights of women in Morelos,” and quotes the petition as saying that, “This does not guarantee due process nor access to justice for women who have experienced a rape, as our Constitution establishes” (see original in Spanish at http://www.cimacnoticias.com/site/08022807-Codigo-Penal-de-M…).
According to the pro-abortion organization, “Catholics for Choice,” which has been denounced repeatedly by Catholic bishops for falsely promoting abortion in the name of the Catholic Church, Comaletzin is one of the signatories to their “See Change” petition, which demands that the Vatican’s diplomatic status at the United Nations be revoked (see list of signers at http://www.seechange.org/endorsers.htm).
Comaletzín is the seventh pro-abortion organization in Mexico confirmed by LifeSiteNews to be receiving funds from the Canadian Catholic bishops through D&P, which collects much of its money from annual fundraising drives conducted by the bishops during Lent, including “Share Lent,” and “Share Life.” If last year’s funding is extrapolated over D&P’s whole 2006-2011 program, the organization will receive a total of $175,000 Canadian dollars from D&P.
LifeSiteNews has discovered numerous other pro-abortion and pro-contraception grant recipients in South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia during the last two months (see full list of articles at http://www.lifesitenews.com/features/DevelopmentPeace/).
Gilio Brunelli, Director of International programs for D&P, admitted to LifeSiteNews in an interview last month that the organization has no policy of refusing funds to pro-abortion organizations (see full text of interview at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/090320b.html).
Several Canadian bishops have stated that they will withhold funds from D&P until the organization can demonstrate that it is not donating to pro-abortion organizations (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032716.html).