By Samantha Singson
NEW YORK, April 3, 2008 (c-fam.org)- A two-year old report has come to light that encourages foundations to fund religious organizations who agree to push the abortion agenda around the world. The report which was funded by the wealthy MacArthur and Ford Foundations, catalogues hundreds of religiously affiliated non-government organizations that are likely to include “sexual and reproductive health and rights” as part of their work.
“Religion and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: An Inventory of Organization, Scholars and Foundations,” issued by the Center for Health and Social Policy, argues that the world’s religions play an undeniable role in shaping attitudes toward “reproduction and sexuality” and can “be an important ally in the effort to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights (or, conversely, a key obstacle).”
The report encourages foundations who are “striving to improve women’s health and rights (including sexual and reproductive health and rights) to incorporate religion in their grant-making,” as religions “have the power to influence government policy” both through the political process and through the religious belief of the policymakers.
The authors propose a three-pronged approach to increase interest in the intersection of religion and abortion. First, foundations could provide incentives to American groups already working in the field so that they could collaborate with developing country organizations. Second, foundations could engage both religious and secular scholars to study the topic in depth. But the most promising tactic, according the study’s authors, is to provide incentives to organizations working on religion and women’s rights or health to move to address religion and sexuality and reproduction directly.
The 216-page report is mostly a listing of organizations which might be induced through grant money to work at the intersection of religion and abortion. Organizations from across the globe affiliated with all the major world religions are included.
Also listed is a long list of influential pro-abortion groups including the Alan Guttmacher Institute, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the International Women’s Health Coalition, Population Action International, Catholics For a Free Choice (in particular its Latin American affiliates), the Pro-Choice Religious Network, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). Other big names include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the World YWCA.
Apart from listing organizations that might qualify as grant recipients, the report also highlights sixteen foundations which have financially supported sexual and reproductive health and rights programs in the past. Six of the sixteen foundations specifically mention abortion as a priority area. According to the report, the capital assets of the foundations listed total more than $35 billion and approximately $500 million is given away in grant money each year.