MEXICO CITY, February 20, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the U.S. bishops' international development agency, has funded at least two organizations in Mexico that LifeSiteNews has verified as opposing pro-life constitutional amendments and supporting the provision of abortion by the government.

The funding of the groups has been confirmed in an e-mail received by LifeSiteNews.com from CRS Director of Communications John Rivera.

The two pro-abortion groups that have received CRS backing in Mexico are the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (FRAYBA), and the Center for Reflection and Action on Labor Issues (CEREAL), both of which are currently advertised as "partners" on CRS's own website.

However, when asked by LifeSiteNews.com, Rivera refused to answer whether CRS was funding other pro-abortion organizations in Mexico, such as the "All Rights for Everyone" National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations (TDT).

He also refused a request asking for a complete list of organizations funded or supported by CRS in Latin America and worldwide.

Rivera admitted to LifeSiteNews.com that CRS has known about the two groups' signatures on a declaration advocating the legalization of abortion since 2009, but continued to fund them at the time, because they claimed that "they neither advocate for nor condone abortion in any way." Rivera did not say, however, if the groups admitted promoting the legalization of abortion and its provision by the government, as well as opposing pro-life state constitutional amendments, all of which LifeSiteNews.com has documented.

FRAYBA's pro-abortion activities

As LifeSiteNews.com has documented in previous reports, FRAYBA has for several years engaged in pro-abortion activism individually and also as a member of the pro-abortion TDT network. In addition, the group has admitted to LifeSiteNews.com in a 2011 interview that it favors the legalization of abortion and even its provision by the government.

In 2008, for example, the group signed a declaration opposing a proposed right-to-life amendment for the state of Jalisco, one that was finally passed two years later.

The group's name appears on numerous other pro-abortion declarations and reports discovered by LifeSiteNews.com, including ones issued in 2006 (p. 9 of pdf, FRAYBA named on p. 3 of pdf), 2009 (p. 1, FRAYBA's signature p. 3), 2010 (pp. 7-10, FRAYBA on p. 1), and 2011 (pp. 22, 23, 47, FRAYBA on p. 2). The documents repeatedly denounce Mexico's state right-to-life amendments and demand the legalization and provision of abortion by the government.

For example, the 2010 declaration complains that the amendments, which protect the life of all from the moment of conception, "ignore the right of women to a dignified life, to personal integrity, to the protection of their health, to respect for their dignity, to the equal protection of the law without any discrimination, to effective recourse, to their private lives, to liberty of conscience, to liberty of thought, to the free choice regarding the course of her life."

In 2012 (pp. 8, footnotes 23, FRAYBA on p. 25) FRAYBA received special thanks for its personal contribution to a pro-abortion report issued by the All Rights for Everyone Network. The organization refused to answer questions about its participation when LifeSiteNews contacted it several months ago.

However, FRAYBA representative Jorge Armando Gomez admitted in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews.com in late 2011 that the organization regards abortion as a "right" that should be protected and even provided by the government.

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"We are in favor of the depenalization of abortion because we are against criminalizing women who opt for that,” spokesman Jorge Armando Gomez told LifeSiteNews, who also said that doctors should not be penalized for performing abortions.

"In this sense we say that the government should guarantee the right to health, because quite often abortion is done in Mexico in unhealthy conditions or in hospitals where women aren’t guaranteed a good service.”

"So, the government should provide the service in that case?” LifeSiteNews asked.

"Yes, in the framework of the right to health, like with many other services such as births, care for when we get sick, in the same way this action of opting to abort should be done in good conditions and life should not be endangered."

CEREAL's pro-abortion activities

CEREAL, a worker's rights advocacy group based in Mexico City run by members of the Jesuit order, has also attached its name to several pro-abortion declarations. The group is also a member of the pro-abortion "human rights" coalition TDT (mentioned above in connection to FRAYBA).

CEREAL joined FRAYBA in signing the 2008 protest against a proposed right-to-life amendment to the state constitution of Jalisco. It also joined FRYBA to sign the pro-abortion declarations in 2006, and 2012.

CRS has admitted to LifeSiteNews.com that it continues to "work with" CEREAL but has not elaborated on the statement.

CRS spokesman John Rivera admits knowledge of document, refuses to answer further questions

When asked by e-mail to explain CRS's funding of these two pro-abortion organizations, spokesman John Rivera responded: "In 2009 CRS became aware that these two partners had signed onto a broad United Nation’s report covering a number of human rights issues that included statements supporting the new Mexican abortion law."

"At that time CRS staff investigated the situation received written assurances from both organizations that they neither advocate for nor condone abortion in any way," wrote Rivera.

However, added Rivera, "LifeSite News has raised further allegations that had not previously come to the attention of CRS."

Although Rivera added that "CRS ‘ partner relationship with FRAYBA ended in 2011," he admitted that "CRS does still work with CEREAL and will consult with the Jesuit Province of Mexico regarding any statements or activities at odds with Church teaching."

Over a month-and-a-half following CRS' communication with LifeSiteNews.com in December, this news agency has no further information about CRS' promised "consultation" with the Jesuit Province of Mexico regarding CEREAL. The group also continues to be listed as a "partner" on the CRS website.

Although Rivera claimed in his e-mail to LifeSiteNews.com that CRS no longer has a "partnership" with FRAYBA, he has refused to explain why FRAYBA is still listed on the CRS website as a "partner," and will not say how much the organization has received from CRS. He has also refused to say if CRS is continuing to maintain a relationship with FRAYBA, and to give a complete list of groups in Latin America funded by CRS.

Following two unanswered requests for clarification by e-mail from LifeSiteNews.com, this reporter contacted Rivera directly by telephone to ask for the same information. Rivera, however, refused to answer.

After this reporter pointed out that Rivera had not responded to the e-mail requests, Rivera replied, "Yeah, well we sent the response, and that's our response."

LSN: “But you won't say whether you're funding other groups, specifically..."

Rivera: "We're sticking to the response we sent you."

LSN: "But why don't you want people to know who you're funding? It's a..."

Rivera: "Thank you very much." (Hangs up.)

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