By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

TORONTO, March 11, 2009 ( – The official international development organization of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is funding groups in Mexico that are pressuring the Mexican government to legalize abortion, LifeSiteNews has learned. The five pro-abortion groups have received $170,000 in total this year from Development and Peace.  In an interview with LSN, the Director of International Programs for Development and Peace admitted that the issue of whether or not a group is pro-abortion is not a determining factor in funding.

The money, donated through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), is being given to at least five different pro-abortion groups, which the CCODP calls “partners”.  The groups support the legalization of abortion on demand throughout Mexico, call for the government to expedite and guarantee existing legal rights to abortion for rape and other reasons, and urge the distribution of contraceptives, including abortifacient “emergency contraception”. 

The CCODP “partners” verified by LifeSiteNews as abortion-promoting include the “Miguel Augustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center” ($24,000 Canadian Dollars in 2007-2008 year), the “Mexican Network for Action Regarding Free Trade” ($36,000 CAD), the “Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action” ($40,000 CAD),  the “National Center for Social Communication” ($30,000 CAD), and the “All Rights for Everyone Network” ($40,000 CAD).

Mexican pro-abortion groups will receive a total of $850,000 CAD for the period 2006-2011, if last year’s budget is representative of all five years in the CCODP five year plan.  The money will largely come from funds donated through “Share Lent” and other diocesan fundraising programs held by the Catholic bishops of Canada.

When confronted with the fact that his organization is funding pro-abortion groups in Mexico, Gilio Brunelli, Director of International Programs at CCODP, admitted to LifeSiteNews that the organization has no policy of refusing funds to such groups, and that the CCODP does not thoroughly review the overall activities of groups that it supports.

“The criterion is not pro-life or pro-abortion,” said Brunelli.  “If the piece of work they propose to us is something we want to support it is something that is within our parameters, if yes we support them, if not we don’t.”

“We don’t have a policy for or against” abortion, he added. “So your organization doesn’t have any policy for or against abortion at all?” LifeSiteNews asked for clarification.  “No we don’t,” he responded, adding that such matters are “not our role. It’s the role of our bishops.”

Three “partners” of the CCODP, the “Augustin Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights”, the “Mexican Network for Action Regarding Free Trade,” and the “Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action” are signatories to the Report of Organizations of Civil Society on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights in Mexico, which openly advocates legalization of abortion on demand throughout the country, with 67 mostly positive references to the practice or its legalization (see document in Spanish at the United Nations’ “human rights” website:

The report states that it is “urgent and necessary that all federal entities advance towards broadening permission for legal abortion for the purpose of standardizing it throughout the country. Only in this way will the constitutional guarantee of equality before the law be a reality.”  Standardizing abortion laws in this way would make abortion on demand available for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy throughout Mexico, equalizing it with the law currently existing in Mexico City.

It adds that “The Mexican government, secular and democratic, has the obligation to promote a legislative policy, congruent with its characteristics, founded on objective factors to attend to the health of women who want to interrupt an undesired pregnancy, who are put at risks in the clandestine conditions in which abortion is currently practiced.”

The report also denounces sexual abstinence campaigns as an attempt to “limit the advance of sexual and reproductive rights” and demands that the government make contraception “available to all people, especially young people,” including “emergency contraception,” which terminates newly conceived life.

Two partners, the “Miguel Augustin Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights” and the “National Center for Social Communication,” are signatories to the Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Mexico Elaborated by Organizations of Civil Society for Periodical Universal Examination, which also advocates abortion on demand throughout Mexico, “standardized” in accordance with Mexico City’s law (see document in Spanish at

A final grant recipient, the “Network for All Rights for Everyone”, maintains a document detailing the “agenda” of the organization, which includes “putting into effect the right on women who are impregnated as a consequence of rape to interrupt their pregnancy” (see document in Spanish at  LSN June 22 Note: this document has been removed from the website. LSN did download it, however, and it is now available at

The Network’s membership includes the pro-abortion Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Center (also a  CCODP grant recipient), as well as the pro-abortion “Catholics for the Right to Decide,” an organization denounced by the Catholic Church’s leadership for misleading Catholics about the Church’s teaching on abortion, birth control, and sexual morality (see Network membership list in Spanish at

In addition to signing pro-abortion statements, at least three organizations funded by the CCODP display pro-abortion propaganda on their websites. The Miguel Augustin Pro Juarez Center posts the pro-abortion “Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Mexico” mentioned above.  The National Center for Social Communication also acts as a mouthpiece for pro-abortion groups such as “Catholics for the Right to Decide” distributing its press releases (see republication of press releases in Spanish at The Network for All Rights for Everyone maintains its pro-abortion Agenda on site as well.

Although the CCODP portrays itself to the public as a charitable organization primarily devoted to supplying the material needs of the poor, LifeSiteNews has confirmed that its partners in Mexico are almost exclusively organizations devoted to leftist political causes.  Only $50,000 out of $438,000 CAD went last year to Mexico’s Caritas, which actually helps the poor with food and medical help.

While Gilio Brunelli, Director of International Programs at CCODP, claimed that the CCODP does not specifically fund pro-abortion activities, he acknowledged that not all funding is targeted to specific activities or projects.  Although he claimed that the CCODP had “mechanisms” verifying that the money was not being used for pro-abortion activities, he did not elaborate on what they were.

Asked about the fact that money is fungible and therefore can be used to free up other funds for pro-abortion activities, Brunelli acknowledged that “The money is always fungible,” adding that it is “not our responsibility” to avoid funding groups that could use the money for such purposes.

LifeSiteNews only investigated the Mexican organizations that CCODP funds. Although it is not known if the Catholic aid organization also funds pro-abortion organizations in its many other recipient nations, it is at least now known that abortion support is not a factor in the CCODP funding decisions process.

Contact Information:

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Gilio Brunelli, Director of International Programs
Phone: 514-257-8711
Email: [email protected]

Address in Toronto:
10 St. Mary Street, Suite#420
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M4Y 1P9
Phone: (416) 922-1592
Fax: (416) 922-0957
Toll Free: 1-800-494-1401

Address in Montreal:
1425, René-Lévesque bld. West, 3rd Floor
Montréal, Québec
Canada, H3G 1T7
Phone: (514) 257-8711
Fax: (514) 257-8497
Toll Free: 1-888-234-8533

Prevous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Catholic Charity Development and Peace Lenten Calendar Links to Abortion Groups