By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

ARGENTINA, December 7, 2007 ( -The Catholic Bishop of Posadas, Juan Ruben Martinez, yesterday denounced the push in his country to sterilize and otherwise supress the birth rates of impoverished women.

In an interview with the Argentine Catholic Informational Agency (AICA), Bishop Martinez noted that people often ask him “what can be done to prevent these women from having more children…because what are we going to do with more indigenous people?”

“The comment is revealing and lamentably expresses the thinking of many people,” said Martinez.  “We can make a literal parallel with some officials, ministers, organizations…who habitually affirm ‘what we can do to make poor mothers have fewer children, because what are we going to do with so many poor people later?’”

“It is necessary to respond that poverty is not solved with tubal ligations or other instruments against human nature, but with greater equity and social justice.  In this way the common good and hope will be brought into play,” the Bishop added.

The Bishop’s words reflect a growing concern among the Catholic Church hierarchy that momentum is growing in Argentine society to promote what Pope Benedict calls the “culture of death” through the promotion of birth control, sterilization, abortion, and other means.

The Argentine Catholic University recently issued a report to the bishops that the nation’s Ministry of Health, under newly-elected president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, will receive a budget of $24.4 million for 2008 for its program for “Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation”, a doubling of the previous year’s budget of $12.1 million. 

About half of the budget’s money will come from the World Bank, specifically to finance the distribution of the abortifacient “morning after” pill and other contraceptives.

In addition, the province of Rio Negro recently legalized euthanasia, and the province of La Pampa is in the process of legalizing abortion in virtually any circumstance.

Bishop Martinez believes that society’s growing contempt for the poor is rooted in “egoism and the lack of the sense of the common good.”

“This Sunday of Advent, the Word of God exhorts us to be on the watch, because the Lord will come at the hour in which he is least expected.  Evidently, our society needs to convert itself to the common good and to justice,” he said.

Related Links:

AICA Article on Bishop Martinez’ Comments (in Spanish)…

Bishop Leads Protest March Against Legalization of Abortion in Argentina

President-Elect of Argentina Defends Pro-Abortion Position and Favors “Sexual Choice”

Constitutional Struggle in Argentina Ends in Death for Unborn Child