Patrick Craine

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U.S. Bishops’ relief agency caught giving $2.7 million to top abortion-marketing firm

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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BALTIMORE, July 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic Relief Services is in the midst of distributing a projected $2.789 million grant to one of the leading voices in the international abortion movement.

The U.S. Bishops’ foreign relief agency is distributing the funds to Population Services International, a $670 million organization that markets abortion drugs in the developing world.

When questioned about the grant, CRS initially claimed PSI had merely sold them mosquito nets to combat malaria, but when presented with more information, the Catholic agency acknowledged that the abortion giant took a decidedly more active role.

News of the grant has Catholic pro-life leaders raising concern that the funds, though ostensibly for a good project, are merely empowering PSI to fulfill its founding mission of population control.

“Anything you do to empower [this organization], anything you do to help it, anything you do by way of funding it, for whatever stated purpose, is strengthening an organization that is just absolutely diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church and its teachings,” said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. “And to pretend otherwise is not just naïve, it is duplicitous.”

Founded in 1970 by porn baron Phil Harvey, who initially used his porn profits to fund PSI, the organization networks and trains local providers throughout the world to offer “safe abortion.”  The group’s “charity” work largely involves “stimulat[ing] demand” for contraceptives and abortion drugs among the world’s poor and then selling them the products. 

Mosher told LifeSiteNews.com that the reason PSI got involved in some legitimate health issues was to further its population control agenda. PSI first began tackling health issues such as malaria and safe water in the 1980s.

“They use the bait of health care or the bait of some form of aid to seduce women into coming into their clinics and availing themselves of their services, so they can be used as bribes, they can be used as sanctions,” he said. PSI “is first, last, and always a population control group,” he added, noting that it “promotes abortion, sterilization, contraception, always and everywhere.”

Investigating CRS’ connection with PSI

LifeSiteNews began investigating CRS’ relationship with PSI because the Catholic agency’s IRS filings for 2012 showed that they had given PSI a grant of $9,588 for “agriculture.”

Asked on Friday to explain the grant, CRS communications director John Rivera told LifeSiteNews that in late 2011 they had purchased water purification packets from PSI in Panama to help with water contamination following a major tropical storm.

“PSI was the vendor with the stocks nearby to respond to the emergency,” he said. “This helped to save lives from dysentery, cholera, and other water-borne diseases. The water purification packets were given to Caritas El Salvador and distributed to several dioceses in the coastal region as part of our joint CRS-Caritas disaster relief operation.”

Upon further investigation, LifeSiteNews discovered that CRS was given a grant of $26,939,110 by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to run a project combatting malaria in Guinea from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013. The grant agreement, signed December 13, 2011, indicates that CRS would award PSI $1,995,959 over the two year period to assist with the project. According to a grant performance report dated May 21, 2013, PSI signed the agreement with CRS on October 8, 2012, and agreed to take on more unspecified project activities on January 7, 2013.

CRS’ relationship with PSI goes back at least more than a decade. A page on the website of the Centers for Disease Control describes a safe water initiative in Madagascar, with an implementation date of April 2000, that CRS partnered on with PSI and CARE. Further, on its website PSI currently lists CRS as a partner in Zambia, Haiti, and Guinea. According to PSI’s webpage on Guinea, CRS partnered with them on a measles vaccination program there during 2009, in addition to its current funding relationship.

There is also movement of personnel between the organizations. In October 2011, CRS hired an HIV technical advisor after she had worked at PSI for three years. While at PSI, she had contributed to a paper on “global contraceptive needs.” Additionally, a member of PSI India’s board of governors indicates that he has worked for CRS in the past.

LifeSiteNews asked Rivera about CRS’ partnerships with PSI on Monday, and was told, “It may take awhile.” On Thursday morning, Rivera indicated that the Guinea grant was to purchase mosquito nets.

“CRS bought mosquito nets from PSI, the vendor designated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which funded the project,” he said.

But on further questioning about the grant, including why PSI had needed to hire staff for the project – as indicated in the grant performance report – if they were merely a vendor, CRS acknowledged that PSI had taken a rather more active role in the project.

“To be clear, now that we have had more time to talk with staff involved in the project, the money did not go specifically to purchase the nets but rather to implement other parts of the grant which is focused on distributing 3 million nets and making sure they are properly used to save thousands of lives by preventing malaria,” wrote Michael Hill, CRS’ Senior Writer.

Hill said PSI’s grant grew to $2.789 million over the two-year period when PSI took over responsibilities from another sub-recipient that had dropped out before the project began. Part of those activities included “training and overseeing community health workers to educate households on malaria prevention, and training and overseeing community organizations which would organize anti-malaria themed events,” he said. He also noted that PSI is responsible for the mass-media marketing portion of the project.

“CRS did not choose PSI as a partner in the project,” Hill explained. “Rather PSI was selected as an implementing sub-recipient to the grant by the Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism, independent of CRS.” He stressed that PSI “was implementing activities related only to the prevention of malaria.”

PSI: Abortion, abortion, abortion

PSI is open about its promotion of abortion even on its own website. On its page about “reducing unsafe abortion,” the firm explains that it “works to increase access to WHO-approved medical abortion drugs.” Its website also mentions its provision of medical abortions in Cambodia and Nepal, noting that in Cambodia it launched the country’s “first safe medical abortion drug, known as Medabon.”

But what it states on its main website is just the beginning.

In India, PSI markets a “safe abort kit” and aimed to “facilitate … over 200,000 safe abortions using medical abortions” from 2008-2013 as part of a program that aims to network local clinics to insert IUDs and provide medical abortion drugs. The PSI India website, which is separate from the global organization’s website, indicates that they had succeeded in facilitating 2,774 medical abortions in the first year. The website says their work in India focuses “both on the demand and supply side” of the medical abortion and IUD markets, explaining that they promote the use of the products by “target[ing] audiences with information and messages using inter-personal; mid and mass media.”

The network that PSI has set up in India, begun in 2008, includes 908 clinics and 10,000 pharmacies in three Indian states, and has sold 229,398 IUDs, according to a program summary that was updated in May. At a national meeting of the country’s “Medical Abortion Consortium,” which PSI co-organized, one of their specialists explained that one of the aims of the program is to help local facilities get registered to offer abortion.

PSI also markets its own brand of condoms in India, stating on the PSI India website that it has sold over 2 billion.

In Nepal, PSI has played a central role in expanding abortion access after the country liberalized its abortion law in 2002, according to a 2012 article in the journal Reproductive Health. The article states that PSI has “trained local pharmacists to provide women with knowledge about medical abortion, referrals to abortion services and information on indications for legal abortion in Nepal.” It also says that they have served on a government team devoted to implementing the new law, joining groups like Marie Stopes International, the Family Planning Association of Nepal (IPPF’s local affiliate), and Ipas.

In Cambodia, in addition to marketing the country’s first legally registered medical abortion drug in 2009, the firm refers women to “safe surgical abortion clinics,” according to a presentation on their work in the country. The presentation also mentions that the group “subsidized the price of [medical abortion drugs] considerably to ensure availability to poor and vulnerable women of reproductive age.”

PSI is also a mainstay at pro-abortion conferences, and has posted numerous online job ads seeking employees to fulfill various roles in the organization’s campaign for globally-accessible abortion.

At the 2013 Women Deliver conference on May 31st, they organized a session on “making safe abortion care a clinical reality” and one of their employees was a panelist for a session dealing with methods to “increase access to safe abortion.”

On January 16, 2013, Daniel Crapper of PSI delivered a talk titled “Creating the misoprostol market” at the Global Maternal Health Conference in Tanzania. (See video here.) In his talk, Crapper indicates that PSI has "social marketing" programs for the abortion drug in 7 countries and talks about their strategies for promoting it.

The organization is listed as a participating sponsor at a conference in Lisbon, Portugal in 2010 dedicated to expanding access to medical abortion.

Regarding hiring, PSI has an active job ad – posted July 3rd and still open until August 1st – seeking someone who has “experience with safe abortion” to “oversee and coordinate … safe abortion … implementation” and to help “expand access to quality safe abortion … services and products.” The person must also “support countries as requested to advocate for use of [medical abortion] for safe abortion.”

A 2011 ad seeking a Deputy Director of Services for Kenya said the position had a focus on “increasing access to safe abortion services,” including “provid[ing] and organiz[ing] technical assistance to countries for training of trainers.” Among the needed qualifications was a “clinical proficiency [in] surgical and medication abortion.”

A 2012 ad sought a “maternal health consultant” to provide “technical guidance to PSI platforms implementing abortion, post abortion care, post partum hemorrhage programs,” and other programs. Another from 2012 sought a communications manager in Cambodia whose duties included managing PSI’s  “safe abortion” brand.

In addition to its work promoting medical and surgical abortions, PSI is a leader in the global movement to promote abortifacient “emergency contraception” pills. The organization is a member of the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC), and has a staff member on the steering committee. A Google search of the ICEC website turns up numerous examples of PSI’s promotion of abortifacients. Other Consortium members include the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Ipas, and Catholics for Choice.

‘They might as well be funding Planned Parenthood’

As with its controversial grants to the pro-abortion group CARE, CRS’ $2.7 million grant to PSI Guinea is “pass-through” funding, meaning that CRS acts as a principal recipient to a funding agency and then doles out part of the funds to sub-recipients.

CRS defended this “pass-through” funding to CARE last year, arguing that the funds are given only for projects in line with Catholic teaching and are not fungible because of the way the grant agreements are established.

But when asked at the time if CRS would give ‘pass-through’ funding to Planned Parenthood for a morally neutral project, they said no. “We would never partner with Planned Parenthood,” Rivera said last year. “We’ve given this a lot of consideration, and there’s a threshold in terms of what the focus of an agency is, and the preponderance of their work.”

But Michael Hichborn, director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith Project, said that the U.S. Bishops’ relief agency, in funding PSI, “might as well be funding Planned Parenthood.”

"Based upon the preponderance of the work PSI does, I would love for CRS to explain how giving it money is any different than funding Planned Parenthood, because the preponderance of PSI's work IS birth control and abortion,” said Hichborn.

"Whenever CRS gets caught funding groups like this, they wave their professed fidelity to the Catholic Church the way Nancy Pelosi professes that she's an ardent, practicing Catholic. Simply having a Catholic Identity document cannot in any way exonerate CRS from giving money to an organization like PSI.”

Mosher’s claim that PSI uses legitimate health issues like malaria to promote its population control agenda would appear to be supported by statements PSI made in a program description for a Madagascar project funded by USAID from 2008-2013, where the pro-abortion group describes how it views its work on malaria as “deeply intertwined” with its “reproductive health” agenda.

“Reproductive, maternal and child health and malaria are all deeply intertwined, affecting poor and vulnerable populations in rural areas together,” the organization writes. “Success (or failure) in one area, such as malaria, can free up resources to focus on other areas, or drag down progress.” Integrating these programs, they add, “offer[s] many opportunities to reach target audiences.”

In the same document on the Madagascar project, PSI indicates that it would be partnering on the project with CRS.

"Given that PSI made perfectly clear that its distribution of malaria drugs and mosquito nets is 'deeply intertwined' with pushing birth control on the poor, CRS can't claim that giving a grant to PSI is isolated only for fighting malaria,” said Hichborn. “PSI's own documents explain that pushing birth control is its primary focus."

Contact info:

Cardinal Robert Sarah
Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"
Palazzo San Pio X 
V-00120 Vatican City State
Phone: +39-06-69889411
Fax: +39-06-69887301 or +39-06-69887311
E-mail: [email protected]

Find contact information for all U.S. Bishops here.

Readers may also comment on Catholic Relief Services’ Facebook page.

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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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