Euro-parliamentarians Going Abroad to Push Abortion

Heading to Brazil and Peru in Order to Counter Church’s Influence

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, NOV. 22, 2005 ( A select group of European parliamentarians received an invitation for a 10-day trip to Brazil and Peru to support the legal right to abortion.

The purpose of the visit is to discover «the reality of sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America and the Catholic Church’s influence on these policies.»

The trip was proposed by the Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development and by Catholics for a Free Choice, both groups dedicated to the promotion of abortion.

Riccardo Cascioli, director of the Center of Studies on Population, Environment and Development, told ZENIT that the trip will take place Dec. 1-10.

The invitation reads that it will be an opportunity to meet with local groups that «promote reproductive health,» which includes abortion and contraception, as well as with representatives of the government and parliamentarians.

In discussions with these individuals, emphasis will be placed on rejecting «the impact of religion on this matter,» the invitation says.

It explains that the visit will begin in Brazil «where a rapid transition is taking place, both economic as well as political.»

Today, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies’ Commission for Social Security and the Family began hearings to discuss legislation that would legalize abortion.

The main object

The tour will continue in Peru, «one of the poorest countries of the region, which faces many challenges in regard to reproductive and sexual health rights,» the invitation states.

Cascioli explained that the parliamentarians’ trip is part of an «extensive international campaign oriented to pressuring countries in which abortion is prohibited or limited. Latin America is the main object of this attack, as it is the only continent in which abortion continues to be largely prohibited.»

The director mentioned, for example, the appeal made in Colombia to the Constitutional Court with the support, among others, of the Swedish Association for Sexual Education, the Scandinavian branch of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

«Fundamental in this strategy is the attack against the Catholic Church, accused of exerting an influence which prevents the approval» of pro-abortion laws, clarified Cascioli.

The Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development was established in 2000 to exert pressure on Euro-parliamentarians to favor the legal right to abortion at the international level. Among its main sources of funding are the IPPF, the U.N. Population Fund and the European Commission.

«Unfortunately,» added Cascioli, «the latter is not a surprise, as in these years the European Commission has tripled the funds allocated to reproductive health programs in Europe and the world, using funds destined for cooperation and development.»

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