Starting September 8, 2012, anonymous comments -- whether for or against the RH bill -- will no longer be permitted on this blog.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Catholics 4 RH and the Abortion Lobby

This is the first post of the brand-new Filipino Catholic apologetics blog, "Pinoy Templars":

C4RH: Taking a page (and money) from the abortion lobby 
Elisa Sangalang
June 6, 2012

They call themselves Catholics, but they readily admit that their pro-contraception positions don’t agree with the Magisterium. With help from a few dissenting clergy, they are building their own teaching authority, insisting at the same time on the authenticity of their Catholic faith. They organize and hold rallies and protests. They align themselves publicly and privately with known liberal politicians, atheists, agnostics, church/religion haters, ultra-feminists and the LGBT crowd. They rely heavily on funding from population controllers and other anti-life sources like Planned Parenthood and the Ford, Packard and Hewlett Foundations. They bash the bishops and the Pope every chance they get, and habitually twist and manipulate anything coming out of the Vatican. 

This is Catholics for RH (C4RH), the mish-mash of academics, lapsed and nominal Catholics, and kibitzers out to undermine the official Church position on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill. But that’s not the story. Looking a bit beyond the local group that has made itself a champion for the RH bill, you'll find that these “Catholics in name only” learned these strategies from a well-funded foreign mentor, and learned them well. 

Their mentor, with whom C4RH's leaders have enjoyed a rather chummy relationship for a while now, is none other than the dissident US pro-abortion group Catholics for Choice. 

Catholics for Choice was founded by abortion lobbyists in 1970, under the name “Catholics for the Elimination of All Restrictive Abortion and Contraceptive Laws”. Nine years and a name change later (to Catholics for a Free Choice), Frances Kissling became its president. Kissling is vigorously pro-abortion, envisioning a huge underground of activist women “learning how to do menstrual extractions and vacuum aspiration abortions, mothers teaching their daughters, sub rosa classes at campus women's centers." She started out as an abortion clinic director in Pelham, New York, eventually becoming the founding director of the National Abortion Federation. She was so good at what she did that abortion equipment manufacturer IPAS enlisted her help in establishing illegal abortion clinics around the world. IPAS’ illegal activities including circumventing countries’ abortion laws, were confirmed, documented and reported by Harvard professor Donald P. Warwick in his 1980 report Foreign Aid for Abortion.

It is no surprise that Kissling found a kindred spirit in Junice Demeterio-Melgar, pro-RH lobbyist and head of Likhaan. Melgar, like Kissling, nonchalantly brags about her network of underground abortionists. Note the following exchange in a 2002 interview with Frances Kissling:

Sharpless: Not to sound naïve, but how do you open an illegal clinic?
Kissling: You find a doctor who is willing to do abortions. That’s the first thing, find a doctor. Now they already had the doctor for Mexico. And you rent a space and you start doing abortions.
Sharpless: What keeps the government from shutting it down?
Kissling: What kept the government from shutting down illegal providers in the United States of America prior to 1970? Bribes and a lack of political will. There’s never been a real political will to stop illegal abortions. 

Now here’s an interview with Melgar in a 2006 video produced by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy:

Sharmeen: Obaid Chinoy: Dr. Melgar said that faced with stories like Remy's, she had no option but to give advice on abortions, despite what the law said. 
Junice Melgar: Eventually, we give them information about the safe abortion. We also warn them against unsafe practices that could kill them.
Chinoy: But you.. But you know of service providers -- safe service providers -- who would look after these poor women and give them a proper abortion?
Melgar: Yes. I think most women's NGOs would have contact. I think if you really are pro-women you would have contact to these services that are underground.

In a country like the Philippines where corruption is rampant at all levels of government, the Melgars of the world could operate without much opposition, and have. Like two peas in a pod, Kissling and Melgar are so attuned to each other that they even collaborated on a statement in 2004 addressed to the Holy See and titled “The Holy See and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of the Philippines”. Like most pro-choice activists, both women see the church as an institution that has run its course and needs to go. Kissling has dedicated most of her life doing her best to make this happen. In an interview with Mother Jones in 1991, she reveals that she has “spent twenty years looking for a government that [she] could overthrow without being thrown in jail. I finally found one in the Catholic church." Agitprop specialist Carlos Celdran might have fared better had he taken a page or two from Frances Kissling.

In 1984, Kissling hit the jackpot when Catholics for Choice took out a full page ad in the New York Times, speaking of plurality on the issue of abortion among the Catholic faithful. Prior to this, their funding was a measly $20,000 a year, mostly from the Unitarian Universalists, but the ad catapulted the dissident group to notoriety and money began pouring in like never before. That Catholics for Choice has been repeatedly denounced by the US bishops became further incentive for moneyed anti-life organizations to support the group.

In 2007, Kissling stepped down from her throne and handed the reins to long-time fan and sycophant Jon O'Brien. O'Brien has prepared well for the position, having been a spokesperson and information officer for the Irish Family Planning Association and program manager for the International Planned Parenthood Federation in London prior to his appointment at Catholics for Choice.

Both Kissling and O'Brien have developed quite the arsenal in their work at Catholics for Choice, and funding increases through the years have enabled them to train dissident Catholic groups around the globe. The Philippine C4RH and passage of the Philippine RH bill have been special pet projects for O'Brien, who sees the “challenges” the Catholic Church presents as similar to those he had to deal with in his native Ireland. Since taking over at Catholics for Choice, he has nurtured dissident Catholics, meeting with them in the US at least once a year and even coming to Manila for a training workshop in November 2009. A $10,000 grant isn’t pocket change after all. He met with leaders Luz Francess “Bicbic” Chua and Magdalena Lopez in the US in 2010. Chua and Lopez had the special privilege of paying a visit to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette’s spanking new facilities built that year to accommodate the organization’s administrative headquarters.

Planned Parenthood, of course, is known worldwide as the foremost provider of abortion services. Funded by mostly US taxpayer money and private donations from anti-life organizations, Planned Parenthood then turns around and donates money to building more abortuaries locally and internationally. Both Likhaan and Catholics for Choice have been beneficiaries of Planned Parenthood's “generosity”.

In the interest of helping C4RH's quest to pass the RH bill, Catholics for Choice has spoonfed them anti-Catholic articles and other materials to continue the work of attacking the Church. C4RH training graduates like Elizabeth Angsioco give the material extra mileage as she posts her regular weekly Catholic bashes at Manila Standard Today. Individually and as a group, they continue to reinterpret church teaching to suit their purposes, and make sure they do it loudly to convince people that it's the official Catholic position, even when it's not. Hence the fallacious argument that having as few as two children via contraception and sterilization is also “pro-life” as it is “pro-quality of life”, disregarding the efficacy and benefits of Natural Family Planning. The $75,000 received by Catholics for Choice from the Wallace Global Fund in 2009 to promote RH in the Philippines, specifically for “opposition research” is well-utilized indeed.

Why, the reader may ask, would Catholics do this? The answer is simple. Stubbornly clinging to the name “Catholic” puts these dissident pro-choicers in the unique position of being able to attack the Church in ways that anti-Catholic or secular sources cannot. They can vilify the church they supposedly love without being branded anti-religion. Unfortunately, it is a strategy that works on the confused and/or poorly-catechized Catholics, and provides avowed atheists and other non-Catholic entities the oomph they need to further the anti-life cause, even and especially in the face of church opposition. By redefining the authentic Catholic definition of conscience, and by working to prevent conscience clauses from being passed, they ensure that this generation of Catholics and subsequent generations further lose their sense of direction.

In the global arena, Catholics for Choice has campaigned heavily to downgrade the Holy See's Permanent Observer status at the United Nations. Locally, this means that Catholics for Choice and its trained minions has and will continue to undermine Church authority, with the ultimate goal of eliminating its influence on the culture at large.

Interestingly, there is an item on which C4RH and Catholics for Choice don't seem to see eye to eye. While C4RH insists that the RH bill isn't about abortion, Jon O'Brien professes that “access to safe and legal abortion will always be necessary, no matter what preventative measures are available. Contraception fails, people get carried away, fetal anomalies occur, women’s circumstances change.” Or perhaps, as history has shown in most countries, legalized contraception is only the first step. Legalized abortion can always follow shortly thereafter, and has.

Catholics for Choice, and consequently, Catholics for RH, operate on the premise that Church teaching should change with the times. They will continue to do everything in their power to bring about that change. So far, they have failed in this mission. They may have a long list of arguments against Church teaching, but all of these boil down to two: 1) most Catholics do not agree with Church teaching on contraception and abortion, and therefore the Magisterium doesn’t hold the final authority on these and 2) the priests have not been preaching about these things from the pulpit so it must be that the Vatican actually agrees with the pro-choice position. What these pretend Catholics conveniently choose to forget are the millions of Catholics who try to live their faith, fully and authentically, every single day. Disagreement with the Church on Her teachings doesn’t make the dissenter right, it just makes the dissenter a dissenter.



Fifth Progress Report:  Abortion.  The All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution.  Dublin 2000. Web.

Harvey, Brett. "The Morning After." Mother Jones Magazine May 1989: 27+. Web.

"Frances Kissling." Interview by Rebecca Sharpless. Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project. Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College. Web. .

Warwick, Donald P. "Foreign Aid for Abortion." The Hastings Center 10.2 (1980): 30-37. Print.

City of Guilt. Dir. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Perf. Junice Demeterio-Melgar.
. Sharmeen Obaid Films. Web.

Likhaan, Child Justice League and Catholics for a Free Choice.  The Holy See and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of the Philippines. Rep. Web.

Theodorou, Naomi.  “Hail Frances.” Mother Jones Magazine May-June 1991: 11.  Web.

Woods, Jr., Thomas E. The War on Faith: How Catholics for Choice Seeks to Undermine the Catholic Church. Rep. New York: Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, 2009. Web.

National Catholic Conference of Bishops. Abortion and “Free Choice”:  Statement of the NCCB Committee on Doctrine. Nov. 1984.  Web.

United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.  NCCB/USCC President Issues Statement on Catholics for a Free Choice.  May 2000.  Web.

Lopez, Magdalena M.  Philippines’ Achievements Year One.  Report to IIE-LDM.  2009. Web.

"Annual Report." Planned Parenthood. Web. 03 Jan. 2012.

Simon, Stephanie. "Planned Parenthood: By the Numbers." Business News & Financial News - The Wall Street Journal - The Wall Street Journal. Web. 03 Jan. 2012.

Banerjee, Neela.  “Backing Abortion Rights While Keeping the Faith.”  The New York Times February 27, 2007.  Web.

Form 990.  Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.  Planned Parenthood, 2007.  Web. .

Catholics for Choice. Catholic Organizations Call on Secretary Sebelius to Include Contraception as a Preventive Method under Affordable Care Act (ACA). 26 July 2011. Web.

O’Brien, Jon.  “Reducing the Need for Abortion.”  Conscience Magazine 30.1 (2011).  Web.


  1. Repost from a friend. The Pinoy Templars is described as a "brand-new Filipino Catholic apologetics blog." But the blog name just goes to show how out of touch, out of history, and dumb some people can get. How a Catholic can call herself a Templar is beyond me. The Templars were tortured and burned in the stake by the Catholic Church & France supposedly for idolatry, heresy, etc. in the 14th century.

  2. Anonymous:

    Yes, the Templars were tortured and burned at the stake at the behest of the King of France. It is also generally recognized that the Templars were innocent of the charges for which they were made to suffer. It also says a lot about the spirituality of the Templars that, while they could have resisted the French king with the arsenal and fortresses at their disposal, they chose to suffer in humility and peace. AND they died Catholic.

    Just goes to show how out of touch, how "out of history" -- what kind of expression is that? -- and how dumb you are.