By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
NICARAGUA, April 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A representative of a group that is funded by the Canadian bishops’ official development arm has admitted in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com that it actively promotes an abortion-on-demand agenda in Nicaragua. The group has worked to block pro-life legislation in the country, demands the legalization of abortion, and supported Obama’s decision to revoke the Mexico City Policy. The representative also told LSN that the group promotes and dispenses contraceptives from its "women’s health" clinic.
The interview substantiates photos of the group’s headquarters, which prominently displays pro-abortion signage, and other documents obtained by LSN and another Canadian pro-life activist.
Recently a traveler to Nicaragua returned with photos of the March 8th Women’s Collective, a funded "partner" of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP).
The CCODP (or D&P), which is an arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, receives much of its funding from collection drives in parishes held during Lent. Over the last two months LSN has reported that at least 18 groups funded by CCODP are involved in pro-abortion and/or pro-contraception activities. (See all the evidence here: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09041702.html)
The photos of the March 8th Women’s Collective, which were first published by Canadian pro-life and pro-family activist John Pacheco on his Socon or Bust blog, show signs posted within the building advocating the legalization of abortion.
According to Pacheco, the eyewitness who took the photos, whom he has spoken to directly, traveled to Nicaragua within the last year on a "faith-based education trip." One of the projects that she visited on that trip was that of 8 de Marzo (see original blog post at http://www.socon.ca/or_bust/?p=1596).
Pacheco says his source, who wishes to remain anonymous and whom he calls "Conchita," was taken to an office of 8 de Marzo, which includes a clinic capable of doing gynecological exams. The participants were then given a talk by the director of the clinic, Luz Marina Torres, who stated that 8 de Marzo supports the legalization of abortion in Nicaragua and had been involved in campaigns to prevent the passage of the nation’s current pro-life penal code, which punishes all abortions except for those necessary to save the life of the mother.
As Torres spoke, she reportedly stood in front of a large banner which proclaims: "VIOLENCE IS: Requiring a girl to carry a pregnancy. We demand the return of therapeutic abortion" (see photo).
"Conchita" also told Pacheco that two doors at the clinic had signs that read, "I support abortion." A poster she photographed proclaimed that 8 de Marzo’s mission is to defend "sexual and reproductive rights," a common euphemism used by pro-abortion groups for abortion and contraception (see photo).
A representative of 8 de Marzo who identified herself only as "Carla" confirmed to LSN in a telephone interview that the organization supports the legalization of abortion on demand and has been involved in the struggle against Nicaragua’s pro-life penal code.
"In 2006 you were very involved in the struggle to preserve the legal right to perform an abortion," LSN mentioned, at which point Carla interrupted to say, "therapeutic abortion," and added, "yes, and it was stolen here."
"The March 8th Women’s Collective, you would like to make abortion available for any woman who would like to choose an abortion, right?" LSN asked. "Claro," responded Carla in Spanish, meaning "of course," or "clearly."
"Do you distribute contraceptives?" asked LSN. "Yes," responded Carla, "there is a sexual and reproductive health campaign, by means of workshops, information…for young people."
LSN has also learned that 8 de Marzo joined a coalition of groups in 2006, including the pro-abortion "Catholics for the Right to Decide," dedicated to stopping pro-life legislation then under consideration by the Nicaraguan Congress.
The purpose of the coalition, called the Focal Point Feminist Movement (Punto Focal - Movimiento Feminista), and its so-called September 28 Campaign, was to "demand of our governments the effective regulation of abortion where it is recognized legally, and to demand its depenalization in cases in which it is still penalized," according to a bulletin issued by the group in September of 2006 (see original in Spanish, page 1, at http://www.puntos.org.ni/servicios/catalogos/actividadesdoc/docs/BOLETIN_CAMP28SEPT_CR_883.pdf).
According to the bulletin, on the first and second of September of that year, 8 de Marzo was to hold a "workshop" for the members of the group, entitled "Reflecting on Therapeutic Abortion" (p.5). On August 16, it held a meeting for the coalition’s members to discuss the September 16 Campaign (p.5). It is listed as a member of the coalition on page 8 of the bulletin.
LSN has also verified that 8 de Marzo signed a letter congratulating Barack Obama for approving US overseas funding for pro-abortion groups.
The letter expresses "deep gratitude for your repeal of the Global Gag Rule." The Mexico City Policy, also called the "Global Gag Rule" by pro-abortion groups, was an executive order signed by Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. and Jr., that prohibited U.S. funding from going to groups that promote or refer for abortions.
"From our daily work with those most affected, we know that your action will have profound positive effects on the lives of millions of people," continued the letter. "We are hopeful that it heralds a new era of U.S. partnership in global cooperation to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and the advancement of women’s sexual and reproductive rights worldwide."
It also states: "We specifically call on you to ... support removal of remaining legal and policy restrictions on U.S. funding for safe, voluntary, legal abortion information and services, including the Helms Amendment," and "restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and ensure that officials from your Administration act as a strong voice for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United Nations and other international arenas and do all in their power to translate international agreements into actions that improve women’s lives" (see document in its entirety at http://www.filia-frauenstiftung.de/fileadmin/upload_redakteur/Sonstige/Ipas_Int_l_GGR_sign_on_letter_1_23_09.pdf).
According to CCODP’s 2006-2011 program for Latin America, 8 de Marzo is receiving an unspecified amount of Canadian dollars from the CCODP for "organizational strengthening," "women’s health," and "training and development."
The group is one of many CCODP grant recipients documented by LifeSiteNews and SoCon or Bust over the past two months as pro-abortion and/or pro contraception (for full listing of articles on the subject, see http://www.lifesitenews.com/features/DevelopmentPeace/).
Contact information for every Canadian bishop
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
2500 Don Reid Drive
Phone: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048