“Thousands of Irish citizens are alive today thanks to this law,” Sherlock said. “In addition to this, Ireland has demonstrated that it’s possible to ban abortion and also be a world leader in protecting the lives of pregnant women.”
The alleged Soros foundations’ proposed strategy to fight the Republic of Ireland’s pro-life law says the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in Ireland offers “valuable and timely opportunities to advance the campaign.”
Its next three years of activity are intended to pilot strategies to “stem, mitigate and reverse the tide of fetal personhood laws and constitutional amendments” and to generate “a robust set of organizations advancing and defending sexual and reproductive rights and injecting new thinking/strategy into the field.”
A spokesperson for the Open Society Foundations did not comment on the specific document, but told CNA that a number of internal documents were published “after being removed from an online community that served as a resource for our staff, board members, and partners across the world.”
“In some cases, the materials reflect big-picture strategies over several years from within the Open Society Foundations network, which supports human rights and the rule of law in more than 100 countries around the world.
“The Open Society Foundations work in many countries to promote full and equal rights for women, including sexual and reproductive autonomy,” the spokesperson continued, characterizing the incident as an apparent symptom of “an aggressive crackdown on civil society and human rights activists that is taking place globally.”
“We stand by our work and are proud to support all our grantees,” the spokesperson said.
The alleged strategy document appears to provide a window on the foundations’ other funded projects and its larger goals.
It pledges support for the Mexican pro-abortion group El Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE). It acknowledges current support for the International Women’s Health Coalition, the Center for Reproductive Rights, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and Women on Web.
It plans to fund the Center for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, citing the work of academic Charles Ngwena on the subject of reproductive rights and the law. It aims to encourage a partnership between this center and the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa spinoff the Southern Africa Litigation Center to provide internship or fellowship placement for students.
The document criticizes large donors in women’s rights like the Gates Foundation, the U.S. government, and a number of corporations for allegedly focusing on “individual empowerment” that serves development goals.
(Story continues below)
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“The handful of donors that do support structural transformation of political and economic systems have comparatively fewer resources,” the document says.
According to the document, the Women’s Rights Program characterizes itself as “a small program in a foundation that encourages risk taking and backing new issues, actors, and strategies.”
“Our distinctive role is to take on the controversial issues avoided by other larger donors, particularly on women’s sexuality and reproduction,” it says.
The document says the program is different from most donors because it can work with “a network of locally-staffed foundations in over 40 countries and seven regions” that has “a deep knowledge of local context, opportunities, and frontline actors.” The Open Society Foundations’ network allows the program “to make cross-country/regional connectionism,” it says.
The alleged strategy document also has other focuses of concern, such as maternal mortality, the treatment of pregnant women, child marriage, violence, access to economic resources and drug policy.
In addition to the theme of “sexual and reproductive rights,” the strategy also includes goals like economic justice and the strengthening of women’s rights organizations and movements.