US bishops’ agency lobbies Congress to give millions to pro-abortion, pro-contraception groups
March 20, 2019 (Lepanto Institute) — Since 2016, the Lepanto Institute has written about the congressional lobbying efforts of both the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
In May of 2016, we provided details regarding a joint letter the USCCB and CRS sent to Congress requesting nearly $6 billion to be allocated for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). At the heart of our concern was the fact that USAID and PEPFAR together consist of the world's largest suppliers of contraception and condoms. The next month, we published the correspondence between a tenacious Catholic and a representative of the USCCB, who reluctantly admitted that the funding request made by the USCCB and CRS would include coverage of contraception and condoms.
Last year, we called out both the USCCB and CRS for requesting "robust funding" for PEPFAR and the Global Fund, an agency which has provided grants for the spread of contraception and even made grants directly to Planned Parenthood.
And just as in the past few years, CRS is even now lobbying Congress to provide massive funding to three agencies thoroughly committed to spreading grave moral evils. On March 12, 2019, Catholic Relief Services gave testimony to Congress, asking for unqualified billions of dollars for USAID, PEPFAR and the Global Fund. This funding would most assuredly include the spread of contraception and condoms. CRS even specified its request of funding for USAID's Maternal and Child Health programs and HIV/AIDS programs, knowing fully well that both programs are the most heavily involved with the spread of contraception.
Addressing the appropriations to the House subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, CRS Executive VP for Mission, Mobilization, and Advocacy, William O'Keefe "urged" Congress to "prioritize" increased funding for a number of federal agencies, including USAID, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund.
For USAID projects that include the spread of contraception and condoms, O'Keefe requested $1.175 billion. He also requested $5.93 billion for the condom-distributing and promoting PEPFAR. For the Planned Parenthood funding, contraception-pushing Global Fund, O'Keefe said, "To leverage adequate support from other donors, we ask that the committee appropriate at least $1.56 billion to the Global Fund this year." All told, CRS knowingly and willfully requested that Congress provide $8.665 billion to three agencies that are absolutely committed to spreading the Culture of Death.
Throughout the entire 5-page testimony, at no point did O'Keefe indicate that such funding for USAID, PEPFAR, or the Global Fund should not be used for the spread or promotion of contraception or condoms. In the USCCB's backgrounder on the lobbying efforts for increased funding for these agencies, the USCCB applauded the work of PEPFAR saying, "As of 2018, the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has saved 17 million lives, and nearly 2.4 million babies at risk of AIDS were born HIV-free." What good is saving 19 million physical lives if the work also includes polluting the souls of those saved?
Only on a summary page of a budget request chart does CRS and the USCCB mention any sort of concern for the contraception and condom promotion coming from the agencies they so zealously sought funding for. The summary stated:
Although we have principled concerns about those PEPFAR prevention activities we find inconsistent with Catholic teaching and do not implement or advocate for these activities, we support PEPFAR's overall lifesaving mission and urge robust funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
O'Keefe, who spoke on behalf of CRS, is no stranger to controversy. An avid supporter of Hillary Clinton, Bill O'Keefe told CNN in 2014 that Catholic Relief Services is "proud" of the fact that in its work, CRS does not "attempt to engage in discussions of faith." O'Keefe said, "We're proud of that. We like to say that we assist everybody because we're Catholic, we don't assist people to become Catholic."
USAID and Population Control
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was originally created as a population control program. USAID was created through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and one of the primary goals of USAID identified in the Act was population control. Paragraph 4 of subsection b of section 102 of this act states the following:
(4) Development assistance provided under this chapter shall be concentrated in countries which will make the most effective use of such assistance to help satisfy basic human needs of poor people through equitable growth, especially in those countries having the greatest need for outside assistance. In order to make possible consistent and informed judgments in this respect, the President shall assess the commitment and progress of countries in moving toward the objectives and purposes of this chapter by utilizing criteria, including but not limited to the following:
(A) increase in agricultural productivity per unit of land through small-farm, labor-intensive agriculture;
(B) reduction of infant mortality;
(C) control of population growth
In his 1966 State of the Union message, President Johnson spoke of giving a "new and daring direction to our foreign aid program." He proposed to Congress that $1 billion in aid funds be earmarked for new efforts in international health and education; the development of modern agriculture overseas; a world-wide war on hunger, disease and ignorance; the eradication of smallpox and malaria, and increased research in population control.
In the October 1971 issue of Front Lines, which was the official publication of AID, the administrator of AID from 1962–1966, David E. Bell, mentioned how population growth was a top concern from its inception. He said, "First, AID has consistently pioneered in improving the quality of foreign aid. The development of program lending, the early recognition of population growth as a major concern, the evolution of the Development Assistance Committee, are simply a few illustrations of AID's leadership."
In the same issue, Milo Cox, Deputy Director for Field Review and Evaluation in the Office of Agriculture and Fisheries said, "U.S. development agencies were well in the vanguard in recognizing and pushing vigorously for programs in agricultural development and population controls long before these were popular ideas here or in the developing world."
In 1969, during his very first year in office, President Nixon informed Congress he had ordered AID to give a high priority to population control and family planning programs. He said:
I have asked the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development to give population and family planning high priority for attention, personnel, research, and funding among our several aid programs. … As we increase our population and family planning efforts abroad, we also call upon other nations to enlarge their programs in this area.\
By 1974, Nixon had Henry Kissinger conduct a secret study on the use of population control as a weapon against communism. The report was called the National Security Study Memorandum 200, or NSSM 200 for short.
Page 8 of NSSM 200 says the following about the role of AID in this new approach:
Although it was adopted primarily for other reasons, the new emphasis of AID's legislation on problems of the poor ... is directly relevant to the conditions required for fertility reduction.
Page 14 of the report gives even greater detail of the magnitude of population control programs to be enacted through AID, including education and agriculture:
Implementing the actions discussed above (in paragraphs 1-36), will require a significant expansion in AID funds for population/family planning. A number of major actions in the area of creating conditions for fertility decline can be funded from resources available to the sectors in question (e.g., education, agriculture). Other actions, including family planning services, research and experimental activities on factors effecting fertility, come under population funds. We recommend increases in AID budget requests to the Congress on the order of $35-50 million annually through FY 1980 (above the $137.5 million requested for FY 1975). This funding would cover both bilateral programs and contributions to multilateral organizations. However, the level of funds needed in the future could change significantly, depending on such factors as major breakthroughs in fertility control technologies and LDC receptivities to population assistance. To help develop, monitor, and evaluate the expanded actions discussed above AID is likely to need additional direct hire personnel in the population/family planning area. As a corollary to expanded AID funding levels for population, efforts must be made to encourage increased contributions by other donors and recipient countries to help reduce rapid population growth.
The rest of the report provides even greater detail on the plan for implementing population control programs in the guise of foreign assistance, but this suffices to make the point.
Today, USAID boasts that it is the largest contraception distributing agency in the entire world. On the USAID website, under the heading of Family Planning and Reproductive Health, USAID says the following:
As the world's largest family planning bilateral donor, USAID is committed to helping countries meet the family planning and reproductive health needs of their people. USAID supports Family Planning 2020's (link is external) goal to reach 120 million more women and girls in the world's poorest countries with access to voluntary family planning information, contraceptives, and services by 2020. Since the launch of USAID's family planning program in 1965, families are better able to feed, clothe, educate and provide healthcare for their children. Moreover, modern contraceptive use in the 27 countries with the largest USAID-supported programs has increased from under 10 percent to 37 percent, and the number of children per family has dropped from more than 6 to 4.5.
PEPFAR and the spread of contraception and condoms
As we've reported before, PEPFAR is deeply involved in the promotion and distribution of contraception, including abortifacients. For instance, in a section on PEPFAR's website titled, "Linking HIV/AIDS to Women's and Children's Health," PEPFAR makes clear that its work to fight HIV/AIDS includes the promotion and spread of contraception. PEPFAR says:
As part of its overall prevention, care and support, and treatment efforts, PEPFAR is leveraging and linking HIV services to broader delivery mechanisms that improve health outcomes for women and children. Some of these activities include:
- Expanding integration of HIV prevention, care and support, and treatment services with family planning and reproductive health services, so that women living with HIV can access necessary care, and so that all women know how to protect themselves from HIV infection.
In 2012, PEPFAR created a document called "PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-Free Generation." Page 5 of this Blueprint establishes that its intended use is to establish a plan, as led by the United States, for fighting against HIV/AIDS. It says:
The blueprint is intended to promote greater global investments and programmatic impact in the fight against AIDS. The U.S. leads the world in contributions in the fight against AIDS, having invested nearly $37 billion to date in bilateral funding and over $7 billion to the Global Fund since FY 2004. But even as we lead, other countries must step up, and in the end, we should all be measured not only by what we invest, but by the number of lives we help save.
As can be seen in the correspondence between a concerned Catholic and a representative of the USCCB, the constant talking point as to why the USCCB lobbied Congress on behalf of PEPFAR was that "PEPFAR saves lives." However, throughout this 64-page Blueprint, PEPFAR mentions the need to increase the distribution and use of condoms 41 times. Just one example of this commitment to the spread of condoms, PEPFAR said on page 39:
To implement this action step, PEPFAR is and will:
7. Encourage sexually-active youth to learn their HIV status, practice safer sex and reduce their number of sexual partners. Provide sexually active young people with risk reduction information and skills building, including access to male and female condoms and information on correct and consistent condom use.
The Global Fund's New Plan for Spreading Birth Control
Earlier in this article, we referenced a previous report that indicated how CRS lobbied on behalf of the Global Fund, and its funding of contraception and Planned Parenthood. As with USAID and PEPFAR, by lobbying for funds on behalf of the Global Fund, CRS has made itself a willing accomplice to the Global Fund's wicked plans and activities. And those plans include establishing programs that "advance sexual and reproductive health and rights."
The 35th Board Meeting of the Global Fund produced a document titled, THE GLOBAL FUND STRATEGY 2017-2022: INVESTING TO END EPIDEMICS. Beginning on page 3, under the Executive Summary, the Global Fund says:
The core objectives of the Global Fund 2017-2022 Strategy are to:
- Under Strategic Objective 2 Build Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health there are seven operational objectives. They include:
- Support reproductive, women's, children's, and adolescent health, and platforms for integrated service delivery
- Under Strategic Objective 3 Promote and Protect Human Rights and Gender Equality there are five operational objectives. They include:
- Scale-up programs to support women and girls, including programs to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights
It is important to note that sexual and reproductive health services are euphemisms for abortion and contraception.
There really is no excuse for CRS and the USCCB to actively lobby Congress for funding for contraception and condom promoters and distributors. There is even less of an excuse for them to be lobbying on behalf of an agency that was created for the specific purpose of enacting population control programs and policies in impoverished nations. And yet, this is precisely what they are doing. The question is, why?
It all comes down to the almighty dollar. In O'Keefe's testimony, he mentioned CRS activities throughout the world, many of which were funded through USAID, PEPFAR or the Global Fund. By lobbying Congress to provide "robust funding" to these agencies, CRS is expanding on its own opportunities for funding.
The official internet resource for US government spending data is USAspending.gov. The stated mission of the website is "to show the American public what the federal government spends every year and how it spends the money." When looking up funding to Catholic Relief Services, total amounts allocated to CRS from 2005 through 2023 from USAID total $2.47 billion. For the years 2018 and 2019 alone, CRS has received $671,505,602 from USAID.
The website responsible for tracking funded projects of PEPFAR is copsdata.amfar.org. According to the website, "the database highlights planned funding by program area, country, and organization for each year that has been publicly released." The PEPFAR website, which tracks all of its grants to various organizations, indicates that PEPFAR has allocated over $924 million to Catholic Relief Services since the year 2005. This does not include the money CRS has received through PEPFAR as a result of being a sub-partner on other PEPFAR projects where CRS was not the principle recipient of the grant.
It's difficult to know exactly how much CRS has received from the Global Fund over the years because the Global Fund website isn't as comprehensive as PEPFAR's. That said, we have been able to confirm that CRS has received at least $264,226,459 from the Global Fund for 10 different grants. The amounts are as follows:
- From 2012-2015, CRS received $13,810,139 for a project in Indonesia.
- From 2003-2008, CRS received $1,439,778 for a project in Madagascar.
- From 2016-2017, CRS received $6,034,778 for a project in Mali.
- From 2013-2015, CRS received $6,795,038 for another project in Mali.
- From 2010-2018, CRS received $11,098,900 for a project in Gambia.
- From 2012-2018, CRS received $85,454,539 for a project in Guinea.
- From 2011-2017, CRS received $13,064,548 for a project in Sierra Leone.
- From 2008-2017, CRS received $21,749,047 for a project in Benin.
- From 2016-2017, CRS received $32,128,902 for a project in Niger.
- From 2008-2016, CRS received $72,658,405 for another project in Niger.
If anything is ever going to change at Catholic Relief Services, this kind of quid pro quo between them and government granting agencies has got to come to an end. CRS and the USCCB have got to stop lobbying Congress to expand federal funding to agencies that are truly enemies of the Cross of Christ, and they have to stop receiving money from them as well.
Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.