by Hilary White and Steve Jalsevac
When is abortion not really “abortion”? When it is promoted as “therapeutic” by UN-supported international health organisations trying to make a “strategic alliance” with the Catholic Church in Latin America. The Population Research Institute (PRI) has just posted a 6-minute video of highlights from interviews conducted by its Latin American Director that reveal the slick language tactics used by UN agents to manipulate Catholics to cooperate with its anti-life, anti-family agendas.
Dr. Oscar Suriel, International Consultant on Family, Health and Community, for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a member organization of the World Health Organization (WHO), told PRI’s Carlos Polo in March, that it is not “abortion per se” that they support, but only “therapeutic abortion.”
Dr. Manuel Manrique Castro from UNICEF said that his organization’s dedication to the use of condoms to prevent AIDS was fully supported by many Latin American bishops.
Drs. Suriel and Manrique spoke to Polo at a meeting in Quito, Ecuador organised by the Latin American Catholic Bishops Conferences (CELAM). The two UN officials said they were at the “Pastoral Meeting about Children and Adolescents at Risk, at CELAM’s invitation, and both spoke of organising a “strategic alliance” with the Church.
When asked in the videotaped interview whether PAHO’s support of abortion does not put it into conflict with the Church, Dr. Suriel flatly denied that his organisation supported abortion “per se” but only promoted “therapeutic abortion.”
“It is not correct that we promote abortion,” Suriel said. “That is a poor assessment because it is not so. If it were so, then we are like you said, in opposition to you, and that is not correct.”
“You are referring to therapeutic abortion. And therapeutic abortion is not promoting abortion. Therapeutic abortion is an important thing. So what we are promoting is therapeutic abortion. But we do not promote under any circumstances or in any way abortion per se. It is very different from what you are saying.”
However, when confronted with the fact that PAHO had supported the Mexico City legalization of abortion on demand, a situation that even PAHO does not believe constitutes “therapeutic” abortion, Suriel backtracked and said it was about what a woman wants. “We promote that if a teenager wants … if they have a pregnancy and they must keep it, we promote that,” he said.
PAHO and UNICEF both promote “reproductive health” that is an acknowledged euphemism at the United Nations for the promotion of abortion, abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. UN groups, while stating that their reproductive health policies are in conformity with local laws, also engage in heavy pressure tactics, particularly through committees such as that of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), to change national laws to allow abortion on demand. Earlier this year, UNICEF published a 168-page report that called for massive increases in “reproductive health services,” in developing countries.
Several years ago the Vatican withdrew its support for UNICEF and later Renato Cardinal Martino, then Vatican representative at the UN, asked Catholics to cease donating to the organization.
Asked if UNICEF would be willing to give up promotion of their anti-life policies in order to form a partnership with the Catholic Church, Dr. Manrique said that it is only “radicals” in the Catholic Church who oppose those things, not the Church as a whole.
“Well, that may be the recommendation of the Cardinal, but along with the recommendation of the Cardinal there are many other opinions,” he said. “There are radicals that do not help the advancement of organizations.”
Asked if the promotion of condoms for AIDS prevention, the “reproductive right” of abortion and contraception, and “gender ideology” are in conflict with the Church, Manrique responded, “These three issues … are perfectly in tune with the Catholic Church.”
The Church, he said, has not “promoted” contraceptives, “but it has accepted the use of condoms specifically in the case of AIDS. It accepts it. I can bring if you like, many cases of bishops who agree and say ‘If people need it, you can use it’.”
Confronted with Pope Benedict’s recently restated opposition to the use of condoms, however, Manrique agreed that the pope is the highest moral authority in the Church, but said, “Since this is a recent event, it does not overturn the multiple statements of many Latin American bishops, including the Secretary General of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference. Or what even the Brazilian bishops have said in this regard.”
Both Suriel and Manrique later asked the Population Research Institute (PRI) not to publish the interviews, which were videotaped and are now posted to the internet on PRI’s YouTube channel. They said they feared that their comments would result in their loss of access to Latin American Catholic medical clinics and volunteers.
On the PRI website Carlos Polo sums up the UN agencies’ attitude in the interviews. He states, “They believe that they are simply recruiting social workers – who work cheaply or simply for free – into the service of a secular health organization. As far as the Church’s position on abortion is concerned, they apparently believe that if they co-opt enough of the Church’s workers, priests, and bishops, that they can use it as an instrument for their own ends.”
Unfortunately, as has been reported regarding social justice organizations funded by Canada’s Development and Peace and other Catholic groups, these tactics by international anti-life groups are proving to be successful.