PRI correspondent

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CRS issues blanket denial of involvement in family planning. But CRS employees indicate otherwise

PRI correspondent
By PRI correspondent
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July 29, 2013 (pop.org) - In our month-long, on-the-ground investigation of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) activities in Madagascar, Population Research Institute (PRI) found that the organization was directly involved in the promotion and distribution of contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and devices in contravention of Church teaching.

CRS has responded that “We are puzzled by quotes [from CRS employees] saying we do “the same work” in family planning as secular organizations since none of the work that CRS does in Madagascar is in this area.”

That is not what CRS employees in Madagascar told us.

For example, our investigator interviewed Nicolas Ragalison and Jean Ferlin Nambana, who are both [Health]  Support Technicians (also called “Zone Supervisors”) for Catholic Relief Services in USAID’s SantéNet2 Program in the Madagascar City of Tamatave on 30 November 2012. There are 12 Support Technicians, in all, of whom 3 work for CRS and 9 for USAID. Each has responsibility for a specific geographic area.

PRI: Does the official teaching of the Catholic Church on family planning hinder the work of the CRS zone supervisors in the program?  Can you work just like the other [non-CRS Support Technicians]s?

CRS: There are several “actors” in the program. There are “independent trainers” under SantéNet2. So in training in family planning, CRS relies on the training given [to Community Health Workers (CHW)] by those independent trainers.

PRI: [Is there any]way that CRS can possibly participate in this program without collaborating in the promotion of artificial contraception?

CRS: We technicians, working in parallel with the Social Development Committees, have a support role with the Community Health Workers (CHW)…And we have to collect data, make reports, send the reports/data.  We have to assure the availability of the products, of all the social-marketing products…

PRI:…including the family planning products, no?

CRS:  Yes. And sometimes there are ruptures in stock.

PRI: So, you CRS technicians and USAID technicians work in the same way under SantéNet2?  I’m asking if there’s a difference in the method of work, in the approach to the work, between the two.

CRS:  It’s the same thing.  We do the same work, including in the area of family planning.

PRI: So, you work with the Community Health Workers; the CHWs are selling modern contraceptives and educating local women in their use, but that doesn’t prevent you [CRS] technicians from working with those CHWs?

CRS: No, not at all.  It’s no problem.

PRI: So you’re working with those CHWs in the area of family planning just like the technicians from [the abortion-promoting group] CARE work with the CHWs?

CRS: That’s right.  It’s the same.

PRI: There are, of course, Catholics and non-Catholics working here.  You’re not Catholic, Jean Ferlin, so artificial contraception and promoting contraception is not a problem for you.  But Nicolas, personally, as a Catholic, it’s not a problem for you?  Or for the other CRS technician who’s a Catholic?  A religious problem?  Since the Church doesn’t approve of artificial contraception?

CRS: No, no.  It’s no problem.  The Catholic Church doesn’t accept the pill or the injection, but it does accept the cycle beads.

PRI: I’ve been told that, in spite of the teaching of the Church, Catholics here, including in very rural areas, will use modern contraception just like everybody else.  Is that what you find in your work?

CRS: Yes, yes; that’s right.  It’s only the “big Catholics” who are against artificial contraception…

PRI:…So the Catholics working for CARE,...and for CRS [under SantéNet] are not going to discourage women from using modern contraception, right?...The CHWs, with your support, have the obligation to present to the beneficiaries all the different contraceptive methods, and then the women choose what they want, right?

CRS: Yes.  That’s right.

PRI: And the authorities from CRS, the health managers from CRS-Tana are not going to come down here and talk to you about the “official teaching of the Catholic Church,” or ask you to do anything different, because of Catholic teaching, or anything like that, are they?

CRS:  No!  No! (Laughing, laughing)

PRI: Have you encountered any major problems with any of your NGO partners in the program?  

CRS:…With Population Services International [an abortion/population control group], there’s just the problem sometimes of ruptures in the supply of products.  

PRI: Does that happen often ...  

CRS:  It’s rare.  Just occasionally with Confiance [the injectable abortifacient depo provera]...And no problem with Protector Plus , or Pilplan [birth control pill], or the cycle beads.

           
*        *        *       *        *  

We suggest that before CRS issues blanket denials of its direct involvement in family planning programs, that they talk to their own grassroots employees overseas.  Just as we at PRI did.

Next: African bishops complain about CRS activities.

This article has been re-published with permission from today's Population Research Institute's Weekly Briefing


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Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

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Abortion group targets pro-life doctors, nurses with new website: New Zealand

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
By Michelle Kaufman

Pro-life health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres in New Zealand are the target of a new website designed to intimidate those who choose not to refer for abortion or prescribe contraception.

The website, My Decision, is created by the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ). 

The site lists health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres which they believe women should avoid.  The incomplete list includes the names of individuals or organisations, the region and town, and whether they are a doctor, nurse or other provider. 

Women are asked to submit their stories of “hostile or unhelpful health professionals.”  The stories are non-identifying and can be edited for length or clarity.  At the time of writing only two stories had been posted.

In an earlier blog post, ALRANZ mentioned that the new website, which was still under construction at the time, is “aimed at shining the light on ‘conscientious objectors’… who deny people the reproductive healthcare they want or need.”

Right to Life NZ says they believe the site is “denigrating the good name and reputations of health professionals who believe that abortion is a harmful choice.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Under New Zealand law, health practitioners can object to providing reproductive health services according to their conscience.  However, there is one caveat – they “must inform the person who requests the service that he or she can obtain the service from another health practitioner or from a family planning clinic.”

 “Sonscientious objection is a fundamental right and one that must be preserved if we are to continue to live in a free and civil society,” said Chris O’Brien, Vice President of Right to Life NZ. “We risk tyranny if this right is taken away.”

“There are very good doctors that appear on that website” said Dame Colleen Bayer, whose Dunedin Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre is also named.  “These doctors speak truthfully and have real care and concern for their patients.  Women do themselves a disservice to discount them based on this information.”

The resource section on the My Decision website links to ALRANZ, Family Planning (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and an abortion provider), and the website Abortion Services in New Zealand. 

The Abortion Services website is sponsored by ISTAR Ltd, a registered Charitable Trust which is the sole importer of mifepristone into New Zealand.  ISTAR also provides Manual Vacuum Aspiration equipment for early surgical abortions.

ALRANZ, was instrumental in the writing of the Greens abortion policy, which was unveiled earlier this year.  That policy aims to take abortion out of the Crimes Act making it more accessible.  The policy also targets health professionals who may conscientiously object to ensure they refer patients on to a “neutral practitioner”.

More information about freedom of conscience in healthcare 


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The government is proposing allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.
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Northern Ireland considers allowing killing disabled unborn babies: pro-lifers condemn

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned this week's announcement by Justice Minister David Ford that a consultation on changing the abortion law will be "ready by autumn." The government is considering allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.

“Abortion is a serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland,” said the director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth. “The law here protects unborn babies, and David Ford as Minister for Justice must ensure that all children are legally protected."

Last December, Ford revealed he would be undertaking a consultation to consider changes to the law after he heard the stories of two women, who complained that they had not been allowed to abort their babies who had been diagnosed with anencephaly. Instead, they said, they had traveled to Britain for abortions.

Abortion was refused under Northern Ireland’s laws because the diagnosis of anencephaly for the child poses no medical threat to the mother.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

On Monday Ford told the BBC that the Department of Justice would bring forward its consultation paper on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws by the fall.

However, Smyth warned that “the core ethical principle which must underpin this discussion is that every child deserves the right to life regardless of how short their life may be, and regardless of the circumstances of their conception."

She vowed that Precious Life will launch a public campaign in support of the life of all unborn babies.

“We all feel enormous sympathy for parents in these traumatic and distressing cases," Precious Life stressed in a statement. "But parents in these difficult situations deserve much more than our sympathy – they need a professional support system in place, which will provide them with help, support and resources.

"Precious Life are resolved to work towards a solution that loves and protects both mother and baby. Once again we call on the Health Minister to immediately establish perinatal hospice services for parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby,” said Smyth.

 

Contact:

Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
Stormont Estate
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BT4 3SG
Phone:(028) 9076 3000
Email: via website (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/contact-us.htm)


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80% of parents who have an unborn child with spina bifida choose abortion. But Chad Judice (pictured with Eli) knows that life is worth it.
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Abortion? No way. Dad says son with spina bifida is a ‘gift’ to the family.

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By Dustin Siggins

What is the most pro-life, pro-God influence in your life? According to Catholic author and speaker Chad Judice, his five-year old, disabled son has been a tremendous source of happiness and faith for even the hardest of hearts.

In an op-ed published in The New York Post, Judice writes that when he and his wife found out their unborn son Elijah had spina bifida, they were offered the option of abortion. While they chose life, it didn't stop them from fearing the worst for their careers, eldest child, and Eli.

"That evening...Ashley cried as she read to me from the literature we’d been given," writes Judice. "It said 80 percent of parents who receive a spina bifida diagnosis choose abortion."

"And it told us that our son might have learning disabilities and be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to ever walk."

According to WemMD.com, the two most common forms of spina bifida have few, if any effects, on those who have them. However, the most rare and most aggressive form of the disability can result in significant problems for life:

  • Little or no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms, so they may not be able to move those parts of the body.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, such as leaking urine or having a hard time passing stools.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus). Even when it is treated, this may cause seizures, learning problems, or vision problems.
  • A curve in their spine, such as scoliosis.

Eli's form of spina bifida was severe, but -- as it turned out -- manageable, writes Judice. Despite surgeries and "medical challenges," he was out of the hospital within thirty days, though seizures and surgeries would continue to challenge the family. At five-and-a-half, he is entering kindergarten, learning to walk with modern technology, and "his intelligence is at or above average, and he's very talkative."

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all, Judice says, is the effect Eli has had on those who are outside of the family. His story has helped "some pregnant mothers...to reject abortion," and "rekindle the dormant faith of some...drawing them into a life with more room for God and family."

One of those rekindled Christians was a man who, after years in prison, prayed for Eli "as he recited The Lord's Prayer." According to Judice, "it was the first time he’d prayed in 30 years."

Since Eli's birth, Judice has written two books about his son and their family. "Waiting for Eli: A Father's Journey from Fear to Faith" was the first, and has received praise from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. According to Pavone, it is "an inspiring story of faith, hope, love, and the power of prayer."

"The world judges the value of human life by physical perfection, but God sees things differently. To Him, we are perfectly lovable in our imperfection. Uplifting in its reverence for human life in its most fragile stages, WAITING FOR ELI will encourage pro-life activists everywhere, from the most seasoned to the newly initiated."

Also unstinting in praise was the Chair of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, who writes for Judice's website that the book "chronicles [Judice's] spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment to the divine mercy of God’s providence."

The second book, "Eli's Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer," received the "Best Book by Small Publisher" award in 2013 by the Catholic Press Association.

"I think of Eli as God’s special gift to my family," Judice wrote in the Post. "And as I share about him, Eli’s story softens hearts and brings people to a greater appreciation of the beauty and sacredness of life."


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