Thursday 17 July 2008

Is the Government calling a pro-abortion tune for Progressio to dance with its partners?

I've blogged recently (4 July and 10 July) about Progressio, formerly the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR), and its pro-abortion partner organisation in El Salvador, Las Dignas. Progressio describes its work in El Salvador as including "Strengthening the women's movement on response to the needs of women's organisations". The question needs to be asked: has Progressio helped Las Dignas's work promoting abortion?

Further research into Progressio has revealed that at least two of its partner-organisations support a campaign to strip the Holy See, the government of the Catholic Church, of its permanent observer status at the United Nations. (The See Change campaign is run by the pro-abortion and falsely named Catholics For Choice [CFC] and is motivated by, among things, the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion.)

One of the two Progressio partners supporting See Change, COMUS (Colectiva Mujer y Salud) (Woman and Health Collective) in the Dominican Republic, is described by Progressio as: "a non-profit-making organisation which has been working since 1984 to defend the sexual and reproductive rights of Dominican women in rural and urban areas. The collective offers services of integral care and health (physical, mental and emotional), training, produces information materials and promotes public debate on gender issues."

"Sexual and reproductive rights" is a term commonly used to denote the right of access to abortion on demand. It would be interesting to know whether the Collective's "services of integral care and health" include abortion. The Collective lobbied its country's legislature to decriminalise abortion and condemned the government's decision to declare 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation, as the Day of the Unborn Child.

Among Progressio's areas of work in the Dominican Republic are "supporting women's organisations", "lobbying and advocacy skills training" and "training in social and political rights". The question needs to be asked: has Progressio helped the Collective to lobby for the legalisation of abortion?

Progressio describes its other partner supporting See Change, Fundacion Puntos de Encuentro (Meeting Points Foundation) in Nicaragua, as "a platform from which to take on and debate different themes from a perspective of diversity with equity and non-discrimination. Among others, it deals with the themes of health and sexual and reproductive rights". The Foundation is also a partner of the Guttmacher Institute, the worldwide pro-abortion lobby's leading research body. The Foundation campaigned against the closing of a loophole in Nicaraguan law which allowed abortion.

Progressio says that "the current focus of Progressio's work [in Nicaragua is, among other things] "to promote women's rights" and that "Progressio's development workers have strengthened advocacy by partner organisations working with networks of women". The question needs to be asked: has Progressio helped the Foundation to lobby for abortion?

A parliamentary answer yesterday showed that, in the decade since the Labour government came to power, Progressio has received over £28 million from the British government's Department for International Development (DFID), and will receive over £3 million in the coming financial year. The Labour government's policy is to promote abortion on demand worldwide as a fundamental, universal human right. Progressio itself presents a case study of DFID funding an English woman to prepare programmes for Progressio's pro-abortion partner in Nicaragua, the Meeting Points Foundation mentioned above.

Does the old adage "He who pays the piper calls the tune" apply here?

As a Catholic myself I think its wrong that Progressio is listed as a Catholic organization in the Catholic directory and that its publications can be found in Catholic churches.