This is our second report in a series of reports following a year long investigation of Catholic Relief Services. In our first report, we established that Catholic Relief Services, as recently as December 2019, published its own documents, containing its own copyright, promoting condom use to teens. You can view that report here.
Due to the length and complexity of the issue, we are releasing this report in segments in order to make the information more understandable and easier to digest. We’ll publish the full and more detailed report at the end of this series.
In this new report is undeniable proof that CRS is the administrator of a digital library that contains documents promoting abortion, contraception and condoms as the lead agency for the USAID-funded 4Children project. Here is the video of our report, and for those who wish to browse through the information, rather than sit through a video, we’ve provided the transcript with links and images below that.
In our last video, we gave you undeniable proof that Catholic Relief Services was producing documents that promote condom use in a project called 4Children. In this report, we’re going to show you how, as the lead agency in the 4Children project, CRS is the custodian of a web-based clearing house for documents that promote contraception, condoms, and even abortion.
Since 2014, Catholic Relief Services has been the lead implementing partner for a 5-year, $72 million USAID-funded project called Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children). Under CRS’s leadership, this project is being implemented in 12 countries with the help of five partners, three of which are deeply involved in the promotion of contraception and condoms.
The purpose of the project, loosely stated, is to work with local government and civic entities to ensure a more uniform and integrated approach to helping Orphans and Vulnerable Children who are victims of HIV. Through the case management aspect of the project, a social worker assesses individual children regarding their needs, and works with local health and educational facilities to manage their care.
On the surface, it seems like a worthy project, but it wasn’t long before we discovered serious problems.
CRS has five partners in the 4Children project, which are IntraHealth International, Maestral International, PACT International, Plan International, and Westat.
Three of these five partners of CRS are heavily involved in the promotion of contraception and condoms.
Here’s a brief look at what we know about these groups.
IntraHealth International is very open about its promotion of contraception. In this 2-page brochure on IntraHealth’s efforts regarding family planning, it says that its key approaches include “Increasing the range of available FP methods, including long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) and permanent methods, at all levels of the health system, from hospitals to communities.”
Under highlights of its recent work, IntraHealth said:
In Kenya, we helped develop a national FP training plan, establish an FP center of excellence, and roll out a contraceptive supply chain management eLearning course that has cut the cost and improved the efficiency of health worker training.
In Senegal by scaling up a new model for contraceptive security—our Informed Push Model—we helped reduce stockouts to under 2% and increased contraceptive acceptance by 38%.
In South Sudan, they reached 4,000 clients with modern contraception
In Tanzania, their advocacy work led to a massive increase in facilities offering IUD insertion and removal services.
PACT International, promotes and distributes both condoms and contraception.
Here’s an image from PACT’s website of a PACT employee handing out condoms in Malawi:
In Swaziland, PACT’s Prevention Manager, Mphikeleli uses models of male and female sex organs to demonstrate the use of condoms to teens and young adults.
One participant in such sessions told PACT, “Now I’m beginning to understand more about life. How to use condoms, how to tell kids to use contraceptives, how to be a voice of the adolescents.”
Plan International is a stridently pro-abortion, contraception and condom spreading organization.
In 2017, PLAN decried the Mexico City Policy, which forbids federal funding from going toward the practice or promotion of abortion through AID funding, claiming that it puts girl’s health at risk.
In 2018, Plan International published an article titled, “Family Planning is a Human Right.” The article opens by saying: “Plan International supports all girls and young women to make their own sexual and reproductive health choices. Because they have rich and complex lives. They have hopes and ambitions. And because it’s a human right.”
On Plan International’s page regarding access to sexual and reproductive health, Plan very matter-of-factly states that young people need access to services such as contraception, emergency contraception, and even abortion.
Westat and Maestral International are research and analysis agencies, so everything they mention about contraception is always in the context of reporting what various organizations are doing.
But the other three sub-partners – who believe that the best way to fight poverty is to eliminate children – are being introduced to vulnerable and trusting people by CRS. No wonder the CRS-produced documents that we showed you contain the promotion of condoms!
But the part of the 4 children project I want to explain right now is CRS’s custody and management of an internet-based resource library called OVCSupport.org. OVC stands for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
As the lead on the 4Children project, CRS is the custodian of OVCSupport.org. This website is basically a clearing house of OVC project documents from various agencies. The website itself was developed in 2004 by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance with funding from USAID. In April of 2015, management of the OVCSupport website was transferred to 4Children under the leadership of CRS.
Included on this website are hundreds of documents that promote all manner of contraception and abortion, which means that, as the organization responsible for the overall project, CRS is effectively facilitating the indiscriminate dissemination of information on the inclusion of abortion, contraception, and condom use in OVC projects to all community members.
In addition to this, as we pointed out in the last video, CRS had even uploaded its own condom-promoting documents to this website.
So, let’s take a look at the kinds of documents we found.
This one was published by an organization called AIDSTAR. It’s a program guide for integrating gender based violence prevention and response in PEPFAR programs.
On page 42, it bears the heading, “Integrating Gender Based Violence Services within Rapid HIV Testing and Counseling services in Antenatal and Maternity Settings.” In other words, they want to merge the two sets of services into one general service provision.
Under Pregnancy Options it says:
“Sensitize providers to respect and support pregnancy intentions of women living with HIV, provide support and linkages to safe pregnancy and motherhood services, and provide information on access to safe abortion services where legal.”
And under “Safe Abortion and Post Abortion care”, it says:
“Access should include accurate information on the legal status of abortion and health exceptions for seeking abortion.”
Is this the kind of information CRS should be the custodian of?
Here’s another one, called Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free.
This document was produced by an organization called Mothers 2 Mothers and makes 10 positive references to contraception and 117 positive references to condom use. Here are a few quotes:
Page 7 says:
“Overcoming the social and structural barriers to deliver universal access to integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights and combination HIV prevention services that empower adolescent girls and young women to make informed choices about contraception and HIV prevention is essential.”
Page 34 says:
Preventing unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV offers major individual and public health benefits and is essential for elimination of mother-to-child transmission.
Voluntary family planning to enable women and couples to determine the timing and spacing of their pregnancies is a basic human right.
In 2017 an estimated 885 million women in low- and middle-income countries wanted to prevent a pregnancy, of whom about a quarter (214 million women) had an unmet need for contraception.
Integrating HIV services with family planning and maternal health care can also increase the uptake of HIV testing and treatment, safe and effective contraceptive options, and other reproductive health services.
Here’s one more … This one is a Participant’s manual from an organization called African Network for Children Orphaned and at Risk titled, “Basic Skills for Counselling Children.” This manual instructs counselors not only to advise abortion, but how to do it, even if the individual is pro-life.
On page 17 of the manual, a counselor is presented with a series of scenarios and possible solutions. One scenario given states, “A teenage girl is pregnant and is not sure what to do.” The bottom solution given is, “Abortion is legal in South Africa and there is a clinic nearby that can safely perform it so she could have a safe abortion.”
Under the section titled, “Step 4: Helping the Child Choose the Best Solution for Them,” one of the given options presented is, “Have an abortion.”
This one document provides a stark example for several others which explicitly promote abortion, or advocate for so-called “safe abortions.” In addition to this, we initially discovered over 50 documents which directly promoted the use or distribution of contraception, and around 150 that promoted condoms.
Wanting to understand more about CRS’s involvement with the OVCSupport website, we read the “Terms and Conditions” page for the user conduct policy, and at the very top was a disclaimer that said:
“CRS, as the prime agency of 4Children, only promotes programming that is in line with Catholic Social Teaching. Any materials included on this site that promote activities not aligned with Catholic Social Teaching should not be interpreted as endorsement of these activities by CRS.”
That this disclaimer even exists shows that CRS personnel knew full well that this website contained material completely contrary to Catholic teaching. But CRS even undermined its own disclaimer on the very same page.
The Terms and Conditions specified that users will not post any content that is “deemed inappropriate by 4Children in its sole discretion.”
So, Catholic Relief Services, as the prime agency and manager of the website, could very well remove any and all content that is immoral. But then, the Terms and Conditions got even more specific, saying that materials which promote “racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual; contains nudity, violence, or offensive subject matter; exploits people in a sexual or violent manner” were absolutely prohibited.
Catholic teaching on sexual morality has always maintained that committing abortion and using contraception (including condoms) are intrinsically evil acts.
And because of this, the promotion of condoms is at least as immoral and unacceptable as racism and could very well have been identified as “offensive subject matter.” Furthermore, the promotion of condoms and contraception are “sexually exploitative” in nature, while abortion is hateful, harmful, and violent. Under ANY of those stated prohibited items, the documents on this website which promote the use of condoms contraception and abortion could and should be removed.
When the Lepanto Institute first discovered that CRS was effectively the custodian for a contraception, abortion and condom-promoting library, it was immediately reported to key leadership at CRS, asking for an explanation. Not only was no explanation for these documents ever provided, but very shortly after, measures were taken to hide everything we found.
First – the Terms and Conditions disappeared. It no longer exists. All that remains now is CRS’s disclaimer that the contents of the website should not be interpreted as endorsement of these activities by CRS.
Here’s how ridiculous CRS’s disclaimer is.
If your store sells pornography, a disclaimer that the porn sold in your shop should not be interpreted as an endorsement of porn by the shop owners is both worthless and meaningless. But that’s essentially what CRS is saying with their own disclaimer.
And as I said, this is further proof that CRS personnel were fully aware of the offensive materials on the website in the first place. They were hoping that a disclaimer would exonerate them from any responsibility to remove morally offensive material.
And you know what else disappeared? Some of the CRS documents that promote condom use that we originally sent to CRS. In fact, for a while, the entire site was put under password protection, and when it came back up, several of the condom, abortion, and contraception promoting documentation was gone. But not all of it. And after a few months, many of those documents that disappeared were reinstated.
Regardless of the games CRS played with the website, at the end of the day, CRS is still the custodian of a website that encourages grave moral evils.
In our next report, we’re going to prove to you that CRS actually partnered with abortion and contraception peddlers and included them in a health care referral network.