Pro-lifers insist bishops’ support of Comic Relief is support for abortion

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales issued a statement yesterday stating that Catholics can support the charity Comic Relief, secure in the fact that the charity does not support pro-abortion organizations.

But the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) says its research proves otherwise.

"While Comic Relief claims that its funds are not used to support abortions, and they have even offered to hand over their books to the Catholic bishops in support of their claim, the fact is that Comic Relief allocated an enormous grant of over a quarter of million pounds to the strongly pro-abortion organization Reproductive Health Alliance Europe in the year 2001-2002,” said SPUC's national director John Smeaton in a press release yesterday.

The bishops’ statement followed reports that three Catholic schools in the Diocese of Menevia in south Wales would not be supporting the Red Nose Day fundraiser March 11 because of the alleged abortion link.

"I want to reassure parishioners that they can give money to Comic Relief without worrying that any funds would be given to support something contrary to Catholic teaching," said the Bishop Mark Jabale of Menevia.

Smeaton said his organization was very disappointed and concerned by the bishops’ statements, especially given the facts they found.

The SPUC stated that the Web site for the Research Action and Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women describes Reproductive Health Alliance Europe—which was funded by Comic Relief—as an organization “established to facilitate access to and improve the quality of reproductive health care by supporting service providers, involving communities, informing policy makers and assisting program managers.”

“Reproductive health care” is the common term used in reference to abortion.

The pro-life group also found that the Wallace Global Fund Web gave Reproductive Health Alliance Europe $50,000 for “Support for An International Consortium on Medical Abortion, an effort to promote and support the use of pharmacological abortifacients (e.g. mifepristone/misprostol and misoprostol alone) in developing countries.”

The Guardian reported that south Wales schools were originally advised to contribute to the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod) rather than Comic Relief. But Cafod is under fire from the Catholic Action Group for its ABC policy ("abstain, be faithful, use a condom") in fighting HIV.

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