NewsFri Jun 11, 2010 - 12:15 pm EST
Distortions Continue in Debate over Development and Peace
Commentary by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, June 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - According to a May 21 Catholic Register article by Associate Editor Michael Swan, LifeSiteNews.com is accused of running a "nasty" campaign against the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights, a Mexican organization funded by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P).
As LifeSiteNews has reported in numerous articles on the Center and many other groups funded by D&P, the organization has clearly and repeatedly indicated its support for the legalization and availability of abortion. However, Swan's article uncritically repeats the organization's claim that they have been falsely accused, based on a single UN report that the group only contributed to, and supposedly did not endorse.
This, indeed, has been the consistent response of D&P itself as repeatedly reported by Swan in the Register. We are told again and again that everything is based on a misunderstanding over a single report. But however much the claim is repeated, it is simply not true.
LifeSiteNews' coverage has shown that Agustin Pro Juarez did far more than merely contribute to a UN report endorsing abortion. In reality, they have given multiple clear statements endorsing the legalization and availability of abortion in Mexico and have even publicly denounced a pro-life amendment to the constitution of the state of Jalisco.
The latest example is the clearest proof that the Center is committed to the pro-abortion agenda in Mexico. In 2008, the organization signed its name to a short, clear statement denouncing a proposed pro-life amendment to the Jalisco state constitution. The statement, which appeared in the Guadalajara newspaper Publico on June 9, 2008, is not a general "human rights" declaration that merely mentions abortion. The whole purpose of the brief statement is to denounce the right to life amendment, claiming that it violates the "right" of women to obtain an abortion. A scanned copy of the statement as it appeared in Publico, which includes the Center as a signatory, can be found on the Internet for anyone to read.
Fr. Luis Arriaga, the Center's director, said in his interview with Swan that "we're not focused on sexual or reproductive rights. This is not our specialty." LifeSiteNews never claimed that that was their specialty, but it should be interesting to note that Arriaga fails to condemn abortion and associates it with "sexual or reproductive rights," using the language of the pro-abortion movement. However, it is even more interesting to note the contrast with his actual behavior.
In August of 2009, after LifeSiteNews had already uncovered his organization's pro-abortion stance, and after the group had made similarly vague denials of involvement, Arriaga personally attended and participated as a panelist in the forum "Catholics for the Right to Decide: 15 years of struggle and hope in favor of the human rights of women and young people," which celebrated the 15th anniversary of the group. Catholics for the Right to Decide is an organization whose primary goal is to achieve the legalization of abortion on demand throughout Latin America. Its parent organization in the USA, Catholics for Choice, has been roundly condemned by the American bishops for it's advocacy of the murder of the unborn.
It shouldn't be surprising that Arriaga participated in this forum. After all, the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Center is itself a member of the "All Rights for Everyone Network," another D&P funded group, which vigorously advocates the legalization of abortion in the name of its constituents, and which also has "Catholics for the Right to Decide" as a member organization.
In addition, the Center has signed at least 2 other statements endorsing abortion as a "right." One was a UN report issued in 2009, which is still proudly displayed on the Agustin Pro Juarez website. Contrary to the organization's false claims, it did not merely sign a statement saying it had contributed. Rather, it's name appears under the heading "Subscriben," which means "they subscribe" (page 1). The report, which is fairly brief, advocates that all Mexican states "guarantee access" to abortion in the way the capital does—that is, legalized abortion on demand, 100% subsidized by the government (paragraphs 37 and 38).
In 2006, the organization put its signature on another UN report promoting abortion as a "right," and in this case there were 2 options. They could sign as a group that merely "adhered" to the report, or they could sign in the first group, which formally "presented" the report. They signed as presenters, in the first group. The document can be found at the UN website: and the signature of the Center as a presenter is found on page 2.
LifeSiteNews has seen a similar pattern in the response to our other stories on D&P funded groups in Mexico. Development and Peace and its apologists imply that only a single UN document is involved, and that the signature is not an endorsement. However, in the vast majority of cases the groups we exposed signed multiple documents and even issued their own. Many went further, campaigning for Mexico City's abortion on demand law and even in one case helping a woman to obtain a legal abortion for her mentally retarded daughter (an effort that fortunately failed).
All of these facts can be verified through LifeSiteNews' articles on this topic, which number in the dozens and are based on the organizations' own webpages, news articles in the local mainstream media, telephone interviews with their leadership, and photos of their own facilities. They can be found at LSN's D&P Feature Page.
None of this is to say that the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Center is an abortion clinic itself, nor that it even focuses on abortion as its primary concern. Many of the causes it espouses appear to be laudable. However, it cannot be denied the group has a clear position in favor of the legalization and availability of abortion, that it fights against pro-life constitutional amendments, and that it actively supports the pro-abortion group "Catholics for the Right to Decide." D&P's donors have the right to ask: if they can't trust D&P and its beneficiaries to be honest about matters that are verifiable by any member of the public, how can they trust them at all - on anything?
Matthew C. Hoffman is the Latin America Correspondent for LifeSiteNews.com. His articles have appeared in dozens of major newspapers and magazines including the Wall Street Journal, Sunday Times of London, Detroit News, Miami Herald, and many others.