Catholics are a crucial voice in world population debate, but do journalists know it?

Ever since President Donald Trump took office nearly three months ago, certain publications have made it nearly their full-time job to criticize every step his administration takes.

This is not to say they’re wrong, because the man is rather easy to attack. However, these newsrooms have stepped away from their original purpose and have evolved into something totally other than what I was seeking when I took out a subscription.

Take, for example, Foreign Policy Review, which used to provide me with wonderful dollops of the kind of foreign news I can’t find in any local newspaper.

Things have changed and today’s “voices” column is typical. “Can Trump Learn?” asks one columnist. “Donald Trump’s Presidency is an Assault on Women,” reads another. And then there’s “Is Trump Russia’s Useful Idiot or Has He Been Irreparably Compromised?”

On some of its foreign news dispatches, its coverage has shown the same singular focus. On April 3, it posted the following about a controversial UN fund that, among other things, funds abortions. Although that’s not quite how Foreign Policy Review words it:

The State Department announced Monday that it would cut funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a policy shift that could directly impact the lives of girls and women around the world.
Foggy Bottom claims that the UNFPA, which funds reproductive health and family planning in 150 countries around the world, “supports or participates in” the Chinese government’s policies of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization.

Now, the State Department is not the only entity that opposes the UNFPA. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has a position paper placing the agency right in the center of China’s murderous “one child” policy. Continuing on:

UNFPA said in a statement Tuesday that the State Dept.’s decision was based on an “erroneous” claim, and said its “work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination.” 
A State Department spokesperson pointed to the 1985 Kemp-Kasten amendment, which prohibits U.S. taxpayer money from funding abortion or forced sterilization anywhere in the world. That spokesperson noted that China’s family planning policies are coercive, and that UNFPA partners with China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), which is responsible for implementing China’s family planning policies.

Now, as a blog post at the very conservative Newsmax.com notes, people on the left and right don’t get that Trump may not have been anti-abortion in the past, but it would appear that he is now.

President Donald Trump's executive order to defund the United National Family Planning Agency (UNFPA) sends a message to political foes both on the political left and the right.
The pro-abortion left will should not be too surprised since President Trump has already cut $400,000,000 in population control funds when he reaffirmed the Mexico City Policy a few days after his inauguration.
To the Never-Trumpers on the right, such as the neo-cons at the National Review, anti-abortion fundamentalists, and those marching under the flag of surrender represented by the "Benedict Option" -- President Trump has once again proven his bona fides as being anti-abortion.

The writer, Deal Hudson, is Catholic and has been involved in alternative Catholic media for years, as is one of the people he quotes elsewhere in the piece. That is Austin Ruse, head of C-Fam, also known as the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

By the way, the USCCB came out with a statement on Thursday praising the State Department’s announcement. As I write this, no other religious denomination (that I could find) made any comment about the funding cut. You’ve got to go to the advocacy media to learn how this ban has unfolded in the past few months.

Back to Foreign Policy Review: It laid the blame for the State Department’s decision at the feet of politicians.

“There are extreme conservatives in the House that have an overall appetite to cut off U.S. funding for basic healthcare for girls and women around the world, and unfortunately funding for UNFPA has been caught up in that political work,” said Seema Jalan, the executive director of the Universal Access Project at the U.N. Foundation.

They should have gone into their back files for this 2011 essay by freelancer Mara Hvistendahl on sex-selective abortions that squarely blames the UNFPA for China’s one-child policy. But aren't those politicians informed by something, such as certain personal beliefs or perhaps adherence to the one religious institution that has consistently opposed the UNFPA: The Catholic Church. Or are they afraid of pushing the religion button? 

Foreign Policy Review is not alone in leaving out any religion aspect. A recent National Public Radio piece did the same thing. It's amazing how many religion ghosts one can find in such pieces if you only look for them.

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