COVER STORY: Aid agencies' hidden abortion agenda
by Damian Wyld
News Weekly, February 4, 2012
Many Australians would be surprised to know how many high-profile international charities and aid agencies divert a proportion of their money to promote or fund abortion.
Charities do wonderfully good work, both at home and abroad, demonstrating some of the better aspects of human nature. Perversely, though, this work is being undermined by an increasing number of charitable organisations devoting their energies to promoting radical policies such as “reproductive rights” (that is, abortion) and “family planning”.
In its mildest form, this can mean a portion of one’s charitable donations being used to promote contraceptive programs in developing countries in response to fears of global over-population. In its worst form, it can mean well-meaning Australians inadvertently funding abortions in the developing world or financing “pro-choice” advocacy.
Most people by now would be aware of Amnesty International’s controversial and high-profile adoption of a pro-abortion position. But perhaps they are not aware of how much further Amnesty has strayed from its original objective, which was to campaign for the freedom of prisoners of conscience.
In 2010, for example, Amnesty’s global campaign, Stop Violence Against Women (SVAW), was rebadged as the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Unit (GSIU). Putting aside its campaigning on same-sex issues, it’s difficult to see how Amnesty’s push for “reproductive rights” fits in with its advocacy on behalf of political prisoners.
In 2010, Amnesty International Australia’s then SVAW campaign coordinator, Hannah Harborow, announced that the GSIU would “work on reproductive crimes such as abortion”, support “sexual and reproductive rights in Indonesia”, and “look at how inequality, power imbalances and a lack of participation for women leads to the denial of sexual and reproductive rights”, among other things.
Amnesty is by no means alone in taking this particular line. The YWCA — that’s right, the Young Women’s Christian Association — has adopted an overtly pro-abortion platform, to the extent of demanding taxpayer funding for such services.
Its recent Australian policy platform calls for “[t]he protection and promotion of reproductive health, including access by young women to non-directive information and services and birth control; access to a range of options to secure access to safe, affordable, Medicare-funded abortions; access to appropriate sexual and reproductive health services.”
Oxfam Australia, CARE Australia and Save the Children Australia (but not save the unborn?) have also enthusiastically climbed aboard the abortion bandwagon.
An opinion editorial, jointly written by executives of the three groups and published in the Canberra Times (February 17, 2009), lavished praise on US President Obama’s decision to “abolish a rule that denie[d] US taxpayer dollars to international family-planning clinics that provide, suggest or mention abortion to women in developing countries”.
These charities then condemned the fact that, at the time, AusAID policies forbade the use of Australian taxpayer dollars for similar objectives. Attacking “a stale and fruitless debate … hopelessly bogged down in moral arguments”, the charities bleated that it was “hard for aid and development agencies to carry out any sexual and reproductive health services”.
They even went so far as to suggest that “comprehensive reproductive health services” were a desirable instrument of “poverty alleviation”. (Surely the “poor” in this debate are those with such a low view of humanity that they readily plead the excuse of maternal health as a rationalisation to take innocent life.)
Oxfam is obviously a far cry from its beginnings in the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, a group of Quakers and Oxford academics.
According to the UK-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), “Oxfam has funded workers at a clinic run by the abortion-provider Marie Stopes International” and “has also admitted to providing grants to two organisations in Ethiopia and Yemen which are affiliated to IPPF [International Planned Parenthood Foundation], the world’s largest abortion-promoter”.
Numerous other charities operating in Australia are also suspect in this regard.
World Vision, for example, has recently published a report, titled Improving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Papua New Guinea through Family and Community Health Care (October 2011). In it, the report discusses family planning, including distribution of contraceptives and provision of “safe abortion”, and declares such family planning to be “very good” value for money.
Granted, the report begins with a disclaimer that the views therein are those of the authors, not necessarily those of the institutions involved; but it reflects very poorly on World Vision, particularly as its website also “support[s] modern contraceptive methods as part of an integrated approach to effective family planning”. There is no mention of abortion and whether or not an ostensibly Christian organisation supports it. However, with some types of “contraceptives” being abortifacient, donors have every right to ask questions.
The Salvation Army is quite open about its position, but stops short of taking a strict anti-abortion stance. It declares that it believes in “the sanctity of all human life from the moment of fertilisation”, considers “each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and preserved” and promotes “the welfare of the weak and defenceless person, including the unborn”.
Having said that, the Salvation Army goes on to state that in cases of rape or incest “an abortion may be justified because of the extent to which rape and incest violate the whole person”. It further believes that abortion “may also be justified where reliable diagnostic procedures determine that a foetal abnormality is present which is incompatible with life other than brief post-natal survival or where there is total absence of cognitive function”.
Médicins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Australia lists on its website “safe abortions” as a key area of women’s health. On the relevant page, the organisation decries “unsafe” abortion, calls for “comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services” and states that, where relevant, “Médecins Sans Frontières also ensures abortions are performed safely”.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), of which Red Cross Australia is a member, has a longstanding formal collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This work involves “reproductive health” and “family planning”. While abortion is not mentioned per se on the IFRC website, it does describe the mission of its partner UNFPA, which includes “policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted”.
Even Rotary International maintains an ambivalent position. Its international policy on “Sponsorship and Cooperative Relationships” states bluntly that “Rotary clubs, Rotary districts, and other Rotary entities must not accept a cooperative relationship that does any of the following [e.g,] • Conflicts with Rotary’s ethical and humanitarian values [and] • Involves abortion”. So far, so good.
However, despite its ostensibly commendable policy, Rotary, like the Red Cross, has seen fit to enter into what it calls a “cooperative relationship” with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Furthermore, Rotary maintains a unit called Rotarian Action Group for Population Growth & Sustainable Development (RFPD). The RFPD asserts on its website: “Humanity has reached a crisis point with respect to the interlocking issues of overpopulation, unsustainable development and human suffering”. It goes on to say that “many believe that Rotary is the ideal organisation to face this challenge”.
“Family planning” forms a major part of RFPD’s work and visitors to the website are met with a ticking world population clock, clearly designed to alarm viewers.
RFPD has also accepted considerable funding from notorious pro-abortion sources such as the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. A project in Nigeria, for example, saw the Packard Foundation fund RFPD to the tune of $1.2 million. No doubt, the Nigerian project may have done excellent health work, but this cannot overshadow the roll-out of abortifacient contraceptives, nor the source of the funding.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is responsible for massive investment in abortion-related services worldwide. One of its stated goals is to “slow population growth rates in high-fertility areas”. It aims to achieve this by “mobilising policies, resources and political will”, “expanding access to safe abortion and post-abortion care” and shifting public opinion to support so-called “positive reproductive health choices” — all this while the same Foundation funds efforts to preserve the endangered Californian condor. The Packard Foundation is a highly inappropriate choice of bedfellow on Rotary’s part.
There is no denying the good work done across many fields by charities and service organisations, including many of those listed above. However, this work becomes seriously compromised and tarnished when such groups simultaneously promote or fund abortions, or else muddy the waters by collaborating with pro-abortion organisations.
In light of the above, News Weekly readers should consider very carefully their continued personal or financial support of, not only these, but any other charities.
A casual glance at a charity’s policies or “frequently asked questions” may not be sufficient to establish for certain where an organisation stands on abortion. All too often, a pro-abortion policy is cunningly camouflaged as “maternal health” or “reproductive rights”.
It is sad that would-be donors should have to go to such lengths to satisfy themselves that charities are untainted in this way. Unfortunately, it seems there is no other way to ensure that money meant to help preserve and improve lives is guaranteed to be used solely for those purposes.
Damian Wyld is South Australian state president of the National Civic Council.
News Weekly’s cover-story (March 21, 2009)
The Rudd Labor Government’s decision [in March 2009] to bankroll abortions in developing countries has been strongly criticised by the National Civic Council.
The decision, coinciding as it did with International Women’s Day, reversed a decision of the Howard Government 13 years ago, and follows US President Barack Obama’s recent moves to use US overseas aid funds to support abortion.
NCC President Peter Westmore described the Rudd Government decision as “a slap in the face to the millions of Australians who will be forced to bankroll abortions, and a betrayal of women in developing countries who want access to better health, improved food and clean water for themselves and their families, but instead will be offered abortion services”.
He said: “If the Federal Government were serious about better maternal and child health outcomes, as it claims, it would be providing medical and surgical teams for mothers, to prevent the large number of preventable deaths in childbirth, which deprive many children of their mothers every year.
“Yet even in our immediate neighbourhood, in Papua New Guinea and East Timor, for example, Australia’s contribution to pre-natal and post-natal maternal care is almost vanishingly small.”
SOURCE: “NCC denounces Labor’s decision to fund abortions”, News Weekly, March 21, 2009.