American Foundations:
Funding Pro-Abortion Extremists in Latin America


By Magaly Llaguno,
Executive Director, Vida Humana Internacional, HLI's Hispanic division


No Hispanic country in the Western Hemisphere has legalized abortion on demand, except Cuba and Puerto Rico—and neither really had a choice in the matter. Under the communist tyranny of Fidel Castro, the Cuban people were forced to decriminalize abortion. Under the tyranny of the U.S. Supreme Court, Puerto Rico was made to do the same on January 22, 1973. Abortion is illegal in nearly all Hispanic countries because we, as a people, prize life, faith and family above all other things. The fight against abortion in Latin America is thus not only a fight for life, but a fight to preserve our culture against those who hate life, faith, family and freedom.

Over the past several years, U.S. pro-abortion extremists have been working zealously to deceive and force Hispanics to legalize abortion. If one country falls to the culture of death, they hope that, like a row of dominos, the entire hemisphere will fall with it. Supported by funding from several U.S. foundations, pro-abortion groups like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the International Women's Health Coalition, the Population Council, International Projects Assistance Services (Ipas), the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Family Care International have been waging a steady war on Latin American families and babies. Among these, IPPF is the most powerful and has worked in Latin America the longest.

International Planned Parenthood operates under several names within Latin America. Founded in 1954, the Western Hemisphere Region (WHR) branch of IPPF has been working for years to acclimate Hispanics to the culture of death by promoting legalized contraception, sex education and, more recently, "emergency contraception." IPPF/WHR maintains at least 45 front groups or "member associations" throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.1 Because its activities are funded, in part, by U.S. taxpayers, IPPF/WHR shies away from openly defying the Mexico City Policy by directly promoting abortion. They leave this task to their Family Planning International Assistance (FPIA) arm as well their local affiliates. Worse still, their affiliates often masquerade under euphemistic titles, such as Pro-Familia (Pro-Family)-an anything but "pro-family" organization in Colombia. Margaret Sanger Center International (MSCI), which is really Planned Parenthood of New York City, also funnels money to pro-abortion extremists in Latin America. Both of these organizations-FPIA and MSCI-are supported by U.S. foundations. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, for example, gave FPIA $2 million between 1999 and 2000 and MSCI $650,000 during the same period to implement "international family planning programs."2

As one of the largest and most populated countries in Latin America, Mexico has long been a target of U.S. population controllers. Until the Robles Reform was approved, abortion was illegal in every Mexican state. All that changed, however, in January 2002—thanks, in large part, to funding provided by U.S. pro-abortion foundations.

This most recent assault on human rights in Mexico began, as usual, under the guise of a reform-namely, what came to be known as the "Robles Reform." The author of this revolution was Rosario Robles, the mayor of Mexico City from 1999 to 2000. (Robles was also the Democratic Revolutionary Party's presidential candidate in 2002.) In brief, the Robles law decriminalized abortion in the Federal District of Mexico (Mexico City) if the pregnancy places the mother's health at risk or in cases of rape and birth defects. The measure was proposed by Robles in response to genuine reforms in the state of Guanajuato that sought to criminalize abortion in cases of rape.

One month after its passage in August 2000, the popular National Action Party challenged the Robles law. Specifically, the attorney general's office petitioned the Corte Suprema de Justicia (Supreme Court of Justice) to declare the Robles law unconstitutional. The attorney general also asked the Congreso de la Unión (National Congress) to schedule more "complete discussions" on the subject.3

In January 2002, the Mexican Supreme Court, by an 11 to 7 vote, upheld the Robles law, preparing the way for other Mexican states to further decriminalize abortion. According to legislator Miguel Angel Torrijos, the Supreme Court's ruling "practically legalized abortion" in Mexico.4 Proponents of the law agreed. Bragged Robles: "We advanced in Mexico City and made it possible for abortion to be considered legal. . . . In fact, we launched a debate against the Catholic clerical hierarchy where we cleared a basic aspect-the civil character of the Mexican state, and the separation of the state and the church which is something still fundamental for the right wing of this country. . . . It was debated at the Supreme Court this year and we were able to celebrate and consider them to be constitutional reforms."5

In many ways, the Court's decision came as a shock. For one, the Court legalized abortion while somehow continuing to acknowledge that the Mexican constitution actually does protect the life of all persons from conception. Others were surprised that nominally Catholic justices voted to uphold the law. Justice Mariano Azuela, for example, is widely known as "a friend of the Jesuit Universidad Iberoamericana." 6 Yet, the Iberoamerican University has been collaborating with pro-abortionists since at least 1997. In November of that year, Reverend Enrique González Torres S.J., the rector of the university, organized an "Encuentro" (Encounter) that promoted abortion and contraception. Sister Leonor Aida Concha, a "Catholics" for a Free Choice activist, collaborated with Rev. Torres on this event.7 "Catholics" for a Free Choice (CFFC) is an American organization that claims to be Catholic, but promotes legalized abortion. It has branches in many Latin American countries.

While abortion is still technically illegal in every Mexican state, a handful of states have begun to permit abortion in cases in which a mother's health, and not just her life, is at risk. Unlike in the United States, however, these protections are taken seriously. For example, in some states, two physicians must be consulted before a determination can be made that a woman's health is actually in danger. Thus far, only one state—Yucatan—permits abortion "for economic reasons."8

The virtual legalization of abortion in Mexico was not accomplished overnight. In fact, the ground was well prepared by several U.S. foundations. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, for example, is a major benefactor of "organizations working to advance the rights of Mexican women and youth to make informed decisions about reproductive health . . . with special attention given to reaching youth between the ages of 10 and 14." The foundation's pro-abortion views are quite clear. "Every woman and her partner," states their website, "should have access to accurate information about a broad range of reproductive options, including abortion."9

Over the past several years, the Packard Foundation has contributed millions to the pro-abortion movement in Mexico. The foundation has even gone so far as to support efforts by Ipas to train abortionists and distribute abortion equipment. In the year 2000 alone, the Packard Foundation gave Ipas over $1 million to wage war against Mexican families and babies.

Below is a list of some of the additional grants made by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to pro-abortion extremists operating in Mexico:

    • $1,000,000 to the Population Council for its work with the Mexican pro-abortion coalition "Frente" initiative.
    • $300,000 in 1999 and $1,800,000 in 2000 to Equidad de Genero: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia for a "reproductive rights initiative (Frente)."
    • $1,750,000 in 2000 to Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE), Mexico's leading feminist pro-abortion organization, for a "reproductive rights initiative (Frente) in Mexico."
    • $50,000 in 2000 to Sociedad Mexicana Pro Derechos de la Mujer, another feminist group, for "women's reproductive health and rights."
    • $3,065,000 from 1999 to 2000 to CFFC. Two million dollars of that money was to be used "to develop a long-term regional plan for improving reproductive rights in Latin America" and $655,000 for a "collaborative reproductive rights initiative focusing on Catholic communities in Mexico."10

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is not alone in its extreme desire to see abortion legalized in Latin America. The MacArthur Foundation has also funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mexican anti-lifers:

    • $400,000 from 1997 to 2000 to CFFC.
    • $60,000 in 2001 to ELIGE, a pro-abortion youth network.
    • $450,000 in 2001 to Sistema Nacional de Promoción y Capacitación en Salud Sexual in Mexico City "for advocacy work to protect the reproductive and sexual rights of young people."
    • $150,000 in 1998 to Ipas "to increase access to abortion services."
    • $240,000 in 1997 to GIRE to "promote the reproductive and sexual rights debate" and $270,000 in 2000 "for efforts to advance reproductive freedom."

The MacArthur Foundation likewise gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2001 to organizations that work with youth for the promotion of "reproductive and sexual rights."11 In addition to its work in Mexico, the foundation is a staunch supporter of legalized abortion in other Hispanic countries.

In Brazil, for example, the MacArthur Foundation contributed:

    • $720,000 in 2000 to the Carlos Chagas Foundation "in support of a national leadership development program on research and intervention in sexual and reproductive rights."
    • $210,000 in 2000 to Centro Feminista de Estudos e Assesoria "to educate legislators about maternal mortality and other women's rights issues." (The main argument used to promote legalized abortion in Latin America is that illegal abortions are unsafe. Abortion is murder; it's not ever safe!)
    • $200,000 in 1998 and $210,000 in 2000 to Ipas "in support of programs to increase the quality and accessibility of safe abortion services in Brazil"—i.e. to train abortionists—in spite of the fact that abortion in most cases is illegal in Brazil!
    • $40,000 in 1997 to CFFC "for activities to promote women's reproductive and sexual rights within a religious context."
    • $255,000 in 1997 and $210,000 in 2000 to CFEMEA, the most powerful feminist anti-life organization in Brazil.

In Chile, the foundation donated $300,000 in 2001 to The Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network, a leading feminist pro-abortion organization, "for training and advocacy programs." The story is much the same in many other Latin American countries.12

The Ford Foundation is another key supporter of anti-life extremism in Latin America.

To Mexico, the foundation sent:

      • $350,000 from 1999 to 2000 to Mujer Z Modem, a feminist pro-abortion group.
      • $100,000 in 2000 to Communication and Information for Women, a feminist news agency.
      • $300,000 in 2000 to CFFC "to build a pro-choice alliance in Mexico by expanding the Catholic constituency for reproductive rights."
      • $434,000 from 2000 to 2001 to CFFC for additional pro-abortion activities.

To Brazil:

      • $553,000 in 1999 and 2001 to the Executive Secretariat of the National Feminist Network for Health and Reproductive Rights.
      • $286,000 from 1999 to 2000 to CFFC's Brazil branch.

To Chile:

      • $225,000 in 2001 to the Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network.
      • $145,000 in 2001 to Isis International, Chile's leading feminist pro-abortion group.

To Peru:

      • $383,000 for 1999 and 2001 to the Centro de la Mujer Peruana Flora Tristán (Flora Tristan Center for Peruvian Women), Peru's main feminist pro-abortion organization.

In addition, the Ford Foundation channeled $772,000 from 1999 to 2001 to the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM), a feminist pro-abortion organization with branches in every Latin American country.13

To enable someone to have an abortion is a serious enough crime. But to use force and fraud to compel an entire hemisphere to kill its unborn children is nothing short of genocide. When such money could be used to do good for so many people, it is simply a tragedy that American foundations are bent on using our country's great wealth to subsidize the slaughter of Latin America's youth.

Thanks to your generosity—and God's mercy—committed pro-lifers across Latin America are doing amazing work. In spite of the millions being poured into the coffers of the pro-death movement, only Mexico has liberalized its abortion laws during the past 15 years. The good news is that several Hispanic countries have renewed their efforts to protect human life by instituting additional legal sanctions against abortion. In recent months, we have also defeated bills aimed at decriminalizing abortion in Bolivia and Uruguay. Vida Humana Internacional, HLI's Hispanic Division, provides educational assistance and materials, guidance, funding and moral support to the hundreds of pro-life volunteers working with our 19 affiliates throughout Latin America. Your continued prayers and support are vital to our mission of protecting the values of life, faith and family integral to Hispanic culture. To learn more about our work, visit our website at www.vidahumana.org/english/hispanics/hispanics-global.html or HLI's website at www.hli.org.

1 "About Us," IPPF/WHR, www.ippfwhr.org/about/index.html.
2 See my article "A Summary of IPPF and its Activities in Hispanic Countries," www.vidahumana.org/english/family/summary-ippf.html.
3 Jesus Aranda, "Solicita la PGR a la Corte declare inconstitucional la reforma Robles," La Jornada Virtual, Mexico, 6/7/01.
4 Aranda, "Aprueba la Corte la Ley Robles sobre el aborto," La Jornada Virtual, 1/30/02; "Diputados del PAN denuncian ante CIDH legalización parcial del aborto," La Prensa de Minnesota online, EFE news agency, 3/21/02.
5 Rosario Robles, "Re-Inventing Globalism (AWID International Forum 2002)," Guadalajara, Mexico, 10/4/02, www.awid.org/forum/plenaries/day2rosario.html.
6 Aranda, "Aprueba la Corte la Ley Robles sobre el aborto."
7 Maria Osiris Reyes, "Priests and Religious in an Unholy Alliance with CFFC," 7/6/99.
8 Laurence Pantin, "Mexico High Court Opens Door to Abortion Rights," Women's eNews, 2/7/02, www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/808.
9 The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, http://www.packard.org/, 4/30/02.
10 The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, 4/11/02.
11 The MacArthur Foundation, http://www.hli.org/www.macfound.org, 4/11/02.
12 ibid.
13 The Ford Foundation, http://www.fordfound.org/, 4/11/02.
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