Monday 14 July 2008

Abortion without borders

The latest edition of the The Tablet (which describes itself as "the international Catholic weekly") contains a glossy full-colour insert advertising Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), sometimes known by its English name Doctors Without Borders (DWB). The insert's front page has a modern paraphrase of the Hippocratic Oath, "I will tread with care in matters of life and death". Yet inside, an MSF nurse working in the Democratic Republic of Congo recounts how her team "trained local nurses to provide emergency contraception", i.e. the morning-after pill, which may cause an early abortion.

The reference in the Tablet insert is by no means an isolated incident of MSF complicity in the culture of death. In November 2001, an MSF spokesman admitted that MSF doctors perform abortions, saying: "In some countries abortion is an important part of family planning policy."

MSF's own website has many references to MSF's provision of abortion and abortifacient birth control, and its programmes of "reproductive healthcare" and "family planning" (both euphemisms for abortion). For example, in December 2005 an MSF article said:

"The obligation to give resources - even when operating in dangerous situations - is above all the obligation to provide care and to ensure its quality. In cases of sexual violence, it could be a matter of giving antibiotic treatment to combat a sexually transmitted infection, giving prophylaxis treatment to prevent HIV infection, providing medicine to avoid pregnancy, performing an abortion or reconstructive surgery, or, of course, addressing psychosocial issues."

"Providing medicine to avoid pregnancy" refers to the morning-after pill - MSF deny that life begins at conception. ("Prophylaxis treatment" is a reference to condoms and possibly early drug treatment.)

Last year, the president of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Doctors, Jose Maria Simon, claimed that an MSF internal protocol advises MSF doctors how to get away with performing illegal abortions.

Catholic publications should not promote Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). It is particularly to be regretted that this insert appeared in a publication sold at the back of Westminster Cathedral and other prominent Catholic places.

I will be writing to relevant Catholic authorities about this. In the meantime, anyone wanting more information about MSF's complicity in the culture of death can email me at