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Malawi's Catholic bishops meet with Pope Francis in 2015.

LILONGWE, Malawi, March 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Malawi's Catholic bishops made their strongest statement yet against an abortion bill being considered by legislators, of the nation of over 17 million, linking it to a parallel push to legalize same-sex “marriage” supported by the U.S. and international agencies.

“We are deeply concerned about new trends in our society that promote a culture of death instead of a culture of life through the abortion campaign,” the bishops stated in a March 13 pastoral letter. “Because of that, the family and the institution of marriage between man and woman are under direct attack from those campaigning for homosexual rights and homosexual unions.”

The bishops led their lengthy statement decrying the poverty gap and the political culture of corruption and waste, but they focused on the current bill, which would grant virtual abortion on demand, providing exceptions to the current century-old law, which calls for a penalty of up to 14 years in prison but allows abortion when the mother's life is endangered by delivery.

The proposed bill would add exceptions not only for cases of rape, incest, deformity, and any danger to the mother, but also when mental distress is risked. The law's provisions are backed by questionable statistics suggesting that the country has 71,000 illegal abortions yearly, half of which, it is also claimed, lead to complications.

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This approach is used over and over, according to Obianuju Ekeocha of Culture of Life Africa. She told LifeSiteNews last year, “Right now it is a concerted effort by a number of key organizations and governments aimed at the most vulnerable African countries. It is always the same technique. Go for the countries of east and southern Africa, which are most liberal in matters of male-female sexual relations; produce inflated numbers about illegal abortion and resulting maternal mortality; use scare tactics to win over politicians.”

The bishops called on all Malawi people to show compassion and respect for homosexuals and noted that the “condition is disordered but not sinful in itself. However, when it comes to homosexual acts or unions, the Church does not mince words: these are objectively evil and totally unacceptable.”

The bishops charged the government with caving in to pressure from foreign countries and international aid agencies, which tie monetary assistance to removal of laws restricting homosexuality.

The bishops wrote, “The Government has bowed down to pressure from [the] donor community, international bodies and local human rights campaigners. As Pastors, we find this path very unfortunate. It is an act of betrayal on the part of those in power to sell our country to foreign practices and tendencies contrary to the will of God because of money.”

A story in the New York Times last year noted that the U.S. has spent millionsworldwide since 2012 promoting homosexual “marriage” and other minority causes. It also cited both African homosexuals and Christian church leaders claiming that this push was causing a backlash against homosexuals and resistance to such tied aid. “This is an abuse of power, and that's why many are turning around and saying, 'Keep your money,' ” the Rev. George Ehusani, former secretary general of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, told the NYT.