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Donations to Doctors Without Borders

Q. How far must one go in pro-life issues to be a good Catholic? May one support a charitable organization if one of its services is to do abortions? I have long supported Doctors Without Borders for its lifesaving work throughout the world.

But in a recent magazine article, they admit supplying women victims of rape with abortifacients and "safe termination of pregnancy." I would appreciate your advice. (Middletown, N.J.)

A. Doctors Without Borders — also known by its French name Medecins Sans Frontieres — has, since its founding in 1971, brought lifesaving care to many sick and wounded people caught in war, epidemics and other disasters. Sadly, though, I do not believe that faithful Catholics should donate to this organization.

On its own website, Medecins Sans Frontieres concedes that since 2004, it has been offering abortions on request at some of its field sites and that its responsibility is to "respect the reason the woman or young girl gives for wanting to have an abortion."

As to whether Catholics may assist Medecins Sans Frontieres financially, one might turn to "Guidelines on Giving to Charitable Organizations," published by the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Asked whether a Catholic may donate to an organization that supports research that destroys human embryos to procure stem cells, the center said, "The answer is no. By donating to a research institute or drug manufacturer that funds research that destroys human beings, one would be cooperating immorally in the act of destroying young human life. Cooperating in an intrinsic evil is itself an intrinsic evil and should be avoided in all circumstances."

Some might argue, I suppose, that Catholic donors to Medecins Sans Frontieres could specify that their own contributions be used only for medical care and not for abortions; but that, I feel, is an artificial distinction since it would simply free up other donations to be used for immoral purposes.

Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfatherdoyle@gmail.com and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018