DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     December 6, 1999     vol. 10, no. 231

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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        NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - Since its founding in 1997, American media mogul Ted Turner's UN Foundation has given $118 million to dozens of United Nations projects in areas ranging from child health to security, including initiatives promoting abortion, birth control, and sexuality among adolescents, according to the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute.

        The seven sexuality-focused awards, totaling nearly $8.8 million, were given to projects organized by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jordan, Tanzania, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia, Russia and the Pacific Region. UNFPA executive director Nafis Sadik praised the UN Foundation for their contribution, saying, "This assistance will help give [young people] some of the information and services they need to protect their health [and] to make informed and responsible choices." UNFPA has been a strong proponent of adolescent "reproductive rights" unrestricted by the guidance of parents.

        In Jordan, UNICEF and UNFPA will use their $3.1 million in grant money to create a "comprehensive youth strategy for the country." While UNICEF intends to assist adolescents -- particularly girls -- in developing their "livelihood opportunities," UNFPA will work to "encourage attention to adolescent reproductive health among decision-makers" in the government and the schools. UNFPA will also use its grant to "encourage participation of 42,000 girls age 13-17 in reproductive health activities and life skills."

        The two African projects, run by UNICEF and WHO, will focus on involving youth in HIV/AIDS prevention programs. UNFPA will conduct a similar project in the Pacific with $2.3 million from the UN Foundation.

        Another $2.1 million from Turner's organization will finance UNICEF and UNFPA projects in Russia, where a poor economy has fueled high abortion, STD, and unwed pregnancy rates. UNFPA plans to provide "reproductive health information to adolescents through summer camp and vocational schools" to 100,000 to 200,000 young people in six Russian cities.

        In a related story out of Glasgow, Scotland's Cardinal Thomas Winning has condemned plans by Scottish Health Minister Susan Deacon to increase the number of centers offering sex advice and contraceptives including abortifacient morning-after pills.

        "Last weekend, new figures showed large numbers of under-age children having sex," Cardinal Winning told the BBC on Thursday. "You do not tackle that problem by throwing condoms and pills at these vulnerable young people."

        He added, "Education in choice, in relationships and, yes -- unfashionable though it may be to say it -- in morality, is needed. We need to equip young people with the life skills to make their own choices and avoid peer pressure. Clinics such as those favored by the minister make it harder, not easier, for young people to say 'no' to premature sexual experiences."

        "Family life in Scotland is under attack from many quarters -- the government should be attempting to support it, not undermine it with these clinics which effectively promote immorality," he said.

        The cardinal also advised pro-life advocates that their protests should remain peaceful, a possible reference to recent demonstrations by the newly-formed Precious Life Scotland who have been accused of using militant or extreme methods.

        "I want there to be no doubt in anyone's mind that the Roman Catholic Church condemns unreservedly any violent, intimidatory or aggressive protest," he said. "I have made it clear, even to church groups from overseas who favor militancy, that there can be no place for such behavior in Scotland. I respect the people of Scotland too much for that."

        He added, "Targeting of individuals and their families, jostling people in the street, frightening people -- these tactics are simply not acceptable." Instead, Cardinal Winning called for peaceful distribution of information which would bring home the "awful reality" of abortion.

        "Abortion is a crime against humanity," he said, "a crime with two victims, the unborn baby and the bereaved mother. That is why the Church's efforts in recent years have gone into providing real choice to women facing crisis pregnancies -- unlike those who say that abortion is the only option."

        While in France, ZENIT reported that Father Stanislas Lalanne, spokesman for the French Episcopal Conference, has expressed disapproval of the recent decision of Segolene Royal, France's Delegate Minister for Secondary Schools, to distribute the "morning after" abortive pill among students.

        "It is not possible to ignore the difficult situation that adolescents experience, facing early pregnancies," stated Fr. Lalanne. "But it is precisely for this reason that families and educators must direct the young morally and not deceive them by saying that simple precautions can repair the consequences of their irresponsible behavior."

        A hard condemnation of the French government's decision was expressed by theologian Gino Concetti in an editorial in the Italian daily edition of L'Osservatore Romano. "The French authorities have opted for the easiest and most permissive solution, but also the most debatable. Today it is more necessary than ever to promote a policy of giving correct information on sexuality and encouraging youths and adults not to commit acts that go against life." ZE99120303

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 6, 1999       volume 10, no. 231


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