.- Fallout from the exposure of investment manager Bernard Madoffâs massive $50 billion Ponzi scheme threw many individuals and charities into financial distress. The fraud has also deprived funding from several pro-abortion rights groups and projects.
The Florida-based Picower Foundation, listed as the 71st-largest in the nation by the Council on Foundations, claimed assets of $1 billion, the New York Times reports. It was forced to close in December due to financial problems with its assets, which were managed by Madoff.
Reportedly distributing about $70 million in grants between 2004 and 2007, the Picower Foundation describes its national grant making as covering areas of âeducation, medical innovation and an equitable and inclusive society.â
The non-profit networking web site Idealist.org reports: âThe Foundationâs efforts to achieve a more equitable and inclusive society consists of supporting projects in human rights, reproductive rights and Jewish continuity.â
Slate.com blogger Nancy Goldstein on Wednesday reported that abortion advocacy groups are facing financial shortfalls because of the Picower Foundationâs collapse.
âPicower was one of a handful of foundations willing to stick their necks out and significantly fund the three organizations that handle virtually all major reproductive rights-related litigation and legal advocacy in the United States,â the pro-abortion rights Goldstein wrote. âNow the Center for Reproductive Rights needs to make up a $600,000 shortage in 2009; Planned Parenthood is out $484,000; the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project is off $200,000.â
Carlos Polo, director for Latin America at the Population Research Institute, has linked the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) to a strategy to force permissive abortion laws upon Latin America.
Members of CRR have proposed using international litigation to âdevelop new standards for the protection of reproductive rightsâ and to force local authorities to ignore their countryâs laws and introduce changes that would allow abortion and âreproductive healthâ services for teenagers.
In November, former CRR lobbyist and New York lawyer Melody C. Barnes was appointed to become President-elect Barack Obamaâs Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
The ACLUâs Reproductive Freedom Project authored the 2002 report âReligious Refusals and Reproductive Rights.â Characterizing the expansion of Catholic hospitals as a âgrowth in the sectarian health system,â the report advocated restricting the ability of Catholic hospitals and other institutions to refuse to perform procedures they find objectionable, such as sterilizations or abortions.
âThe law should not permit an institutionâs religious strictures to interfere with the publicâs access to reproductive health care,â the reportâs executive summary argued. Though granting that medical professionals should be allowed to opt-out of procedures to which they object, the ACLUâs Reproductive Freedom Project insisted that they must cooperate in giving âcomplete and accurate informationâ and in making âappropriate referrals.â
âWe reject the imposition of religious doctrines on those who do not share them, especially at the expense of the public health,â the report said, arguing that concerns for individual religious belief and institutional religious worship should be âbalancedâ with protections for âreproductive health,â patient autonomy, and âgender equality.â
Recently, the Reproductive Freedom Project has advocated limiting the ability of pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraceptives. It also has attacked new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rules reinforcing medical professionalsâ and medical institutionsâ conscience protection guarantees provided by federal law.