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USCCB, Catholic Relief Services lobby for foreign aid programs

Catholic World News - July 07, 2011

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace and the president of Catholic Relief Services are calling for “robust funding” for selected foreign aid programs.

“We acknowledge the difficult challenges that Congress faces to get the nation’s financial house in order,” said Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany and Ken Hackett in a July 5 letter to Reps. Kay Granger and Nita Lowey, the chairwoman and ranking member of the House’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. Nonetheless, “the enacted FY 2011 Foreign Affairs budget cut these life-saving programs by an average of 8.4% from FY 2010; further cuts would be disproportionate and life-threatening to the world’s poorest people.” The programs include

agricultural assistance to poor farmers; medicines for people living with HIV/AIDS and vaccines for preventable diseases; assistance to orphans and vulnerable children; humanitarian assistance in cases of famine; emergency health care, shelter, and reconstruction in disaster-devastated places like Haiti; peacekeepers to protect innocent civilians in troubled nations such as Sudan and the Congo; and life-sustaining support to migrants and refugees fleeing conflict or persecution in nations like Iraq.

Bishop Hubbard and Hackett also called for pro-life legislation, including “restoring the Mexico City Policy against funding groups that perform or promote abortion, and denying funding to the UN Population Fund, which supports a program of coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization in China.”

“It is also important to preserve the Helms Amendment, prohibiting US funding for abortion, and the Kemp-Kasten provision, prohibiting support of organizations involved in programs of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization,” they added.

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