Pro-Abortion/Contraception Groups in Africa Receiving Development and Peace Funding
By John Jalsevac
March 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews.com has learned that a number of African groups that receive funds from the official development arm of the Canadian bishops, Development and Peace (D&P), advocate for abortion and contraception. One of the groups is actively involved in the distribution of condoms in Africa.
The African groups featured in this report are in addition to the five Mexican groups that receive D&P funding that LSN recently reported were also involved in abortion advocacy (See: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09031210.html). Another report revealed that D&P funds were being donated to "one of the most militant, radical and active" pro-abortion organizations in Bolivia (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09031812.html).
On its website D&P lists the group "Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre" (WARDC), a Nigerian organization, as one of its "partners" that receives D&P support.
Only last year, however, WARDC teamed up with the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), one of the United States’ most prominent and radical pro-abortion groups, to produce a report on the state of "reproductive rights" in Nigeria. In 2008, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) called CRR "anorganization that seeks to create an international human right toabortion on demand through litigation." The copyright on the joint WARDC/CRR report is shared by the two groups, who co-authored it.
In the report WARDC, in conjunction with CRR, explicitly and repeatedly calls upon the government of Nigeria to improve "access to family planning services, including a full range of contraceptive methods," and to ensure access to abortion.
In the recommendations at the conclusion of the report WARDC urges the government "to guarantee access to safe abortion services within the existing law," and to "take measures to make certain that medical professionals who provide or advocate for safe abortion are not harassed or unjustly targeted for criminal prosecutions." (To see the report go to: http://reproductiverights.org/sites/default/files/documents/pub_nigeria2.pdf)
The report also urges the government to, "Undertake informational and educational efforts aimed at both men and women to provide accurate, evidence-based, and comprehensive information about contraceptives and to correct commonly held misconceptions. Such efforts should include sexuality education aimed at adolescents, given high teenage pregnancy and maternal death rates."
Another African group that has in the past worked hand in hand with the Center for Reproductive Rights, is the Association des femmes jurists du Bénin (AFJB), or the Association for Women Lawyers of Benin. AFJB, which is listed as a "partner" of D&P, co-produced with CRR a 1999 report on the state of "reproductive rights" in Benin.
The report laments that "fertility in Benin is characterized by a low rate of contraceptive prevalence (16.8%)" and "induced illegal and clandestine abortions." The report then speaks approvingly of various initiatives that the Benin government has undertaken to improve access to contraception, despite the fact that the laws on the books officially prohibit contraceptive propaganda. However, the report continues, "In spite of these initiatives, adolescent girls do not have adequate access to the family planning services offered."
The report also addresses Benin’s abortion laws, which forbid abortion except to save the life of the mother. While the report stops short of explicitly advocating the legalization of abortion, it laments that, because abortion is illegal, "In the majority of cases, abortions are practiced clandestinely, under deplorable conditions that disregard women’s health."
The report goes on to suggest that the fact that abortion is illegal exacerbates certain health problems, especially when illegal abortions go wrong. "When abortion is illegal, adolescents are fearful of seeking care, even when there are complications," says the report. (To read the report, see http://reproductiverights.org/sites/default/files/documents/sr_benin_0599_eng.pdf)
Another group, this time in Guinea, the Coalition Nationale des Femmes - Droits et Citoyenneté (CONAG - DCF), a coalition of 8 organizations, is also listed as a D&P partner. In November of last year, however, CONAG-DCF, along with numerous other pro-abortion groups, signed on to a petition denouncing the decision of Uruguayan President Tabaré Vazquez to veto an abortion bill that had been passed.
The bill that CONAG came to the defense of would have liberalized the country’s abortion law to allow abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (See: http://www.choike.org/nuevo_eng/informes/7153.html).
The petition said that "it is offensive that a single person can revoke the decision and vote of the majority, and alone determine the alternatives to unwanted pregnancy, a decision each woman ought to be able to take autonomously." It concluded: "We hope the democratic system returns the rights your veto has violated to all Uruguayans."
Another group in Togo, Africa, "Forces en action pour le mieux-être de la mère et de l’enfant" (FAMME), is listed as a partner of D&P. However, a 2006 report by USAID (the official U.S. government agency providing US economic and humanitarian support abroad) and Family Health International (FHI), details at length a program instituted by FAMME, in which FAMME obtains and distributes condoms to sex workers in Togo.
The report explains that "the condoms are ordered through the local PSI office, which delivers them to FAMME." It continues, "Once the condoms are supplied, the FAMME project management team makes packages according to the sites and number of peer educators at each site." (Read the report: http://www.fhi.org/NR/rdonlyres/e3e4nxkxsdbwev7hkfsac3ltmh545bmsqg4vs5nx7krsqctzkgtdaf7wpj7owhbksmioirjxvrhtuk/BestPracticesENHV.pdf)
In a 2007 news article by Agence de Presse Africaine (APA), FAMME executive director Dometo Sodji explained that thanks to FAMME and other NGOs, 1.4 million male condoms and 300 000 female condoms were distributed in the country in 2006. (http://www.icilome.com/nouvelles/news.asp?id=1&idnews=9322&f=)
In a 2003 report by Human Rights Watch, FAMME was described as "an outreach organization that specializes in women’s health and condom distribution." (See: http://www.hrw.org/en/node/76184/section/6)
See the Center for Reproductive website: http://reproductiverights.org/en
See related article:
Secret Meeting to Plot Global Abortion Strategy Exposed - UN Personnel Present