A nominally Catholic abortion lobby group called Catholics for Choice has appealed to Pope Francis to permit Church members to procure abortions in good conscience as a means of eliminating the possibility of having children with birth defects caused by the Zika virus.
According to Reuters, the Washington DC-based Catholics for Choice plans is running ads in the International New York Times and El Diario de Hoy in El Salvador on Thursday, just before the Pope embarks on his trip to Cuba and Mexico.
“Women’s decisions around pregnancy, including the decision to end a pregnancy, need to be respected, not condemned,” the ad reads.
The dissenting pro-abortion group was founded as “Catholics for a Free Choice” in 1973 by a former Catholic nun named Frances Kissling, who led the association for 25 years. The organization has been repeatedly repudiated by the bishops of the United States and Canada as a non-Catholic branch of the abortion lobby that has no right to use the name Catholic.
In 2000, the US Bishops Conference published an official declaration noting that the organization “is directed to rejection and distortion of Catholic teaching about the respect and protection due to defenseless unborn human life.”
“On a number of occasions the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) has stated publicly that CFFC is not a Catholic organization, does not speak for the Catholic Church, and in fact promotes positions contrary to the teaching of the Church as articulated by the Holy See and the NCCB,” the statement read.
The bishops also stated that Catholics for Choice is an “advocacy group dedicated to supporting abortion” that is funded by “a number of powerful and wealthy private foundations” for the purpose of promoting abortion “as a method of population control.”
Despite this clear denunciation of the group, Reuters erroneously referred to the Catholics for Choice as a “Roman Catholic group” in its recent report, adding to the confusion surrounding the news.
The push for easing restrictions on abortion comes in the wake of an announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, which said: “Women who wish to terminate a pregnancy due to a fear of microcephaly should have access to safe abortion services to the full extent of the law.”
Since the very first news of the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil, Planned Parenthood and other representatives of the abortion industry began bringing pressure to bear on Latin American governments to remove restrictions on abortion in their respective countries.
The United Nations as well, which has a well-documented history of promoting abortion internationally as a means of population control, also weighed in on the crisis last week. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for a relaxation of abortion laws in the nations where it is restricted.
“The laws and policies that restrict access to these services should be urgently reviewed in accordance with human rights, in order to ensure, in practice, the right to health for all,” he said.
The Cardinal Archbishop of Lima, Peru, Juan Luis Cipriani, recently blasted the United Nations for suggesting that abortion was an apt solution to the Zika crisis, comparing the international organization to the biblical figure of King Herod, who ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two at the time of Jesus.
“Today we are surrounded by Herods, but Herods with neckties, public posts and budgets,” the Cardinal said, stating that “the United Nations, in the face of this Zika mosquito virus, has decreed that we should approve abortion everywhere so as to kill the children.”
“There is a Herod,” he repeated, “who thinks it’s a good idea to decree an execution: let all pregnant women abort their babies because of a risk that hasn’t even been conclusively shown. But in case of doubt, kill them all,” he said.
The prelate was particularly critical of the actions of those who immediately exploit a crisis to promote abortion, rather than addressing the causes of the malady.
“It’s amazing how fast they have acted, not decreeing a campaign, economic aid or an investigation,” Cardinal Cipriani said in his radio broadcast, “but rather that all Latin American countries allow abortion to combat this danger,” he said.
“We really have to be sick at heart to do such a thing,” he added.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome