Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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More contraceptives the solution to Afghanistan’s maternal health woes: UN-trained health minister

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

KABUL, August 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Some Islamic leaders in Afghanistan are objecting strongly to the proposal made by the country’s health minister, Suraya Dalil, to start government-sponsored contraceptive programs to alleviate poverty and maternal mortality. Afghanistan’s nearly 30 million people are over 99 percent Islamic.

Khalilullah Mohammad, a lecturer in Islamic law at Kabul University, told Reuters news agency, “It is not up to us to control the reproduction of children.”

“The holy Koran tells us not to kill your children ... If anyone asks me advice on this new plan, I will strictly oppose it.”

Dalil said, however, that the government would be pushing contraceptives as part of its efforts to improve the lot of women and boost the country’s economic outlook.

“In addition to providing education, counseling and improving women’s access to birth control supply, it is equally important to include men in the family planning discussion,” she said.

The Afghan government ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, (CEDAW) agreement in March, 2003. The CEDAW review committee is well known for its attempts to bully smaller nations into adopting the UN’s population control efforts by legalizing or expanding availability of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion.

A long-time promoter of contraceptives for “family planning”, the U.S.-educated Dalil is a product of the United Nations heavily pro-abortion and anti-family political machinery.

Dalil began her career working for Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and moved on to work helping Afghan refugees for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In 1994 she joined the UNICEF sub-office in Mazar-e-Sharif. After the Taliban takeover, she fled to Pakistan and continued working for the UNICEF Afghan office from Islamabad.

This summer she told MS. Magazine, the flagship periodical of the feminist movement, “Many Afghan women know about family planning, birth spacing and contraceptives. They need to have access to them.”

With Afghanistan having the highest birth rate in Asia, it is a major target of abortion and population control groups. The New York Times reported on meetings with Afghan mullahs organized by Marie Stopes International, one of the busiest abortionists in the developing world. These “informational seminars” were part of a larger effort to convince Islamic leaders to preach against women having “too many” babies.

Marie Stopes also delivers contraceptives to women door-to-door in Afghanistan’s cities. The organization, which works closely with UN organizations, estimates that in 2009 alone, the sale of birth control pills nearly doubled to 11,000 packages in September from 6,000 packages in January.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also launched a project to promote contraception, in the country, in conjunction with local Afghan health agencies; the WHO estimated they reached 3,700 families in three communities with the program.

While research undertaken by UNICEF found that the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is shockingly high, up to 8 per cent, one international aid organization has fought the mentality in developing countries that says contraception and abortion are the solutions. Pointing out that some of the countries with the strictest laws on abortion, such as Ireland, also have the lowest maternal mortality rates, Matercare International maintains that what women really need is good medical care and social supports through their pregnancies and beyond.

The organization, which provides on-the-ground medical assistance to mothers in poor countries, issued a report this year saying, “Maternal deaths and birth injuries, such as obstetric fistulae, are among the greatest tragedies of our times, especially since they are preventable and treatable. Tragically, however, there are not the trained personnel or hospitals needed, especially for the rural poor.”

The consensus of the obstetricians, the report added, is that the solution to reducing maternal mortalities lies in providing prenatal care, skilled attendants at all deliveries, and accessibility to specialist care for life threatening complications.

“Nonetheless, driven by ideology, most international health aid agencies continue to insist that the principle strategy to reducing maternal deaths in developing countries should be the promotion of so called ‘safe’ abortion and birth control, despite no sound reasoning or evidence for community support for such policies.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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