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You can’t be any poorer than dead – UPDATED

Trick-or-treaters might be coming around with UNICEF donation boxes.  Don’t give ‘em a dime — UNICEF pushes for abortion and sterilization as part of its efforts to improve the lives of women and children.  Beyond the immediate irony of that idea, it’s not even good policy.  According to CatholicCulture.org (emphasis mine):

Pro-family UN watchers are concerned that [UNICEF'S] disproportionate focus on unsafe abortion, based upon questionable maternal mortality figures, detracts from addressing the major health risks to pregnant women in the developing world. Experts say these are severe bleeding, eclampsia, and obstructed labor. By UNFPA’s own admission in a 2004 report, the most important means of reducing maternal mortality is not access to contraceptives and legal abortion but the presence of skilled birth attendants and access to emergency obstetric care.

Imagine:  those backward, third-world women would rather survive childbirth than get help killing their children.  Savages.

Abortion proponents often link unsafe abortion and maternal mortality to push for legal, “safe” abortion. Critics of this argument are quick to point out that in Poland, when abortion was severely restricted in 1993, the country showed a sharp decline in the abortion rate and a decline in maternal deaths. In Ireland, where abortion remains illegal, the country reports one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. By contrast, while the United States has had abortion on demand since 1973, this year the US reported a rise in maternal deaths.

Oh, and look at this!  I was searching for an image for this post, and turned up this ad:

It’s an ad placed by the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation, and shows an axe hacking into the Star of David.   And looky!  There’s the UNICEF sponsorship logo, down at the bottom left.  (Image source and more information here.)

(Wait, let me save the very vocal minority here a little trouble:  Israel has committed atrocities!  They are the true criminals here!  Ms. Fisher’s blind, jingoistic support of Israel is what’s wrong with the Church and the world in general!  Aieeeeee, boogie boogie boogie, somebody said something about the Jooooooos!

Hokey doke.  Let’s just think about this for a second.  What is UNICEF for, again?  According to their website, it “works for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection.”

You know, with an axe.)

I’m not in favor of burdening young children with more bad news than they need to know.  If mini Buzz Lightyear shows up on your porch with a UNICEF donation box, just say, “No thanks, but here’s your fun size Snickers.”  But if your kid is being pressured by his school to use these collection boxes, you can tell him what I just said to my daughter:  UNICEF does some good things, but they also do a lot of bad things, and we don’t want to help them hurt people.  There are other charities that do a better job of helping poor people, so we give our money to them instead.

Here is our favorite charity, run by the Church with an incredibly low overhead:  Save a Family Plan.  Among other programs, you can choose a plan in which your family sponsors a desperate family in India, helping them to become educated and self-sufficient within a few years.    Boy, they get the job done.  And somehow they manage to do it without killing anyone.

UPDATE:

Sandy, an alert reader, sent the following links to clarify the connection between UNICEF and PYALRA, the organization that ran the ad above.  According to Israel National News,

“In a statement dated March 23, UNICEF president, Caryl M. Stern, denounced the “incorrect use of the UNICEF logo” and stated that “UNICEF was not consulted by PYALARA about the use of its logo in a poster announcing a youth broadcast and it condemns the use of its logo to imply endorsement of political opinions. Neither the poster nor the television program it advertises reflect UNICEF’s policies or its views.” Ms. Stern added that “UNICEF’s partnership agreement with PYALARA ended in January 2010” and that “UNICEF will be carefully reviewing any proposed future partnerships with PYALARA.”

Glad to hear it.  UNICEF still stinks, but at least this time, it turns out I was the one going “Aieee, the Joooos.”  Sorry about that!

Here are a few more links with more information about this story

http://thebulletin.us/articles/2010/03/31/news/world/doc4bafdbe416e47247495742.txt

From the Anti Defamation League:  http://www.adl.org/Internet_Rumors/UNICEF.htm

  • http://www.catholicphoenix.com Denys

    You rock. A Flannery quote, an outrageous image, and a welcome reminder about the Culture of Death.

    (My Arabic skills are near-nill, but I think that is “Fatah” written on that axe. You know, the friendly folks who run the Palestinian Authority.)

  • http://amomforlife-theunconventionalfamily.blogspot.com/ Kelly@amomforlife-theunconventionalfamilyblogspot.com

    Simcha-

    I have just begun reading your blog in the last week or so and I LOVE it.

    I wonder if you would allow me to link this post on the pro life page that Priests for Life sponsors? I am usually embroiled in one argument or another and this post is especially full of good points.

    thanks!

    Kelly@ amomforlife-theunconventionalfamily

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      Kelly – absolutely link, thanks for asking.

  • Tara

    Awesome pop-culture reference: my son is going as mini Buzz Lightyear! But without the UNICEF box. UNICEF makes my eyes bleed…and that is without even having known those little details you just mentioned.

    I was researching aid to Haiti several months ago, and the general consensus seemed to be: “UNICEF, ack! No thanks.”

    Also, what is the deal with MINUSTAH? Did you ever hear that the soliders keeping order in Haiti are mainly from a country with a much, much higher homocide rate (Brazil)? And that they apparently did precisely jack-all after the earthquake? Weird. And off topic.

    But the UN, and all it’s various branches, just breaks my heart.

  • Sarah M

    Thank you for this post. Would you mind if I linked it on my blog? Several of my friends tell me that lack of contraception is why women’s health in the third world is so poor. Like you said, the truth is maternal care is abominable in many places whether you have two kids or ten. Providing bc and abortions are the easy way out. It lets UNICEF say “Well we’d like Mrs. So and So to be healthy but she just WON’T stop having kids.”

  • Anne

    yeah but….I thought if we just threw enough money and contraceptives at people all problems would be solved???

    Great post.

  • Christy

    We love Heifer International. Our kids love the idea of saving and gathering our own change to buy a share of a yak or a rabbit or some chicks for a family somewhere else in the world. It’s incredible to read how that animal can change an entire community.

    • Katherine

      We’ve been giving to Heifer International too, but in their latest issue of “The Ark” magazine one of the articles mentioned how they were giving “gender equality” classes to Hindu women. That kind of sent up a red flag – not that I’m for the repression and subjection of women – but I just wonder what that equality education involves.

      • Devra

        Food for the Poor also has a similar program–you can buy a goat, milk cow, chicks, etc., and they have a reputation for being very trustowrthy and efficient.

        • http://www.foodforthepoor.org Megan@FFP

          Devra,

          Thanks for mentioning Food For The Poor! We really appreciate the support. To learn more about our gift catalog (where we have the goats, chickens, etc.), please visit http://bit.ly/cv3Ms2. This is a great way to help a needy family while knowing exactly where your money is going.

          We’re proud to say more than 96% of all donations to Food For The Poor go directly to programs that help the poor.

          Here’s a video we made that shows how important donkeys are to the people of Haiti:

          http://bit.ly/bqIe7J

          Thanks again!

          -Megan@FFP

  • spilisz08

    Thanks for this post! I had no idea about UNICEF. I have given to them in the past, but sure won’t again!

    I really like World Vision (a Christian, but not Catholic charity) and like Christy, Heifer International.

  • Denise

    Thank you for posting this! UNICEF is one of those groups trading on a good reputation but with abominable practices in reality – or giving their/our money to others who have abominable practices.

    Now please write about Catholic Campaign for Human Development!

    Thanks also for the link to Save a Family Plan. I’ve found that I’ve increasingly looked for Catholic Charities that reliably follow the Church’s teachings. Not that Heifer, etc., aren’t neat charities, too, but I’ve run into too many “Christians” (and not) that run down the Catholic Church. Sticking with a good Catholic Charity – and all the ones I donate to get As or higher from the charity-grader orgs – well, it helps avoid the possibility that some of them pass on that attitude as they spend my money helping the poor. But that’s just my take on it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      All I know about CCHD is that when I was growing up, my parents would make an extra donation to the food pantry or some other useful organization instead, when the second collection was for CCHD. (It’s always tempting to disapprove of some charity and withhold money — and end up just not giving to anyone!)

      • K

        It is public knowledge (it should be more public than it is, though) that CCHD has given loads of money to ACORN, NOW, and the ACLU. Here are just a few links detailing the scandal: http://spectator.org/archives/2008/10/23/acorns-unlikely-allies

        and http://www.all.org/article.php?id=12307

        provides a detailed (click on the “updated” version) list of all the organizations CCHD has funded that promote not only abortion but homosexual activism and the like.

        It’s scandal in the true sense of the word, and it would be a service to the Church if we all took the time to write our pastors and bishops about *why* we are donating to other charities instead.

        Help the Helpless is a good charity, too.

        • K

          I just realized that sounded – unwittingly- kind of preachy: sorry! I need to write to my own bishop and pastor, too.

  • http://fallinglikerain-sandy.blogspot.com Sandy

    Maybe it’s just my imagination, but those look like stars and stripes under that axe as well. I don’t remember those being on the Israeli flag. Why does that look American to me?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      You’re right, Sandy. You don’t even have to have an opinion about Israel — a donation to UNICEF could easily be a donation funding anti-USA activities.

  • http://cjvdomesticengineer.blogspot.com Christina

    Also check out matercare.org… now here’s a bunch of Catholic HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS who dedicate their time, money and gifts to decreasing the maternal mortality rate. God bless them! UNICEF, no thanks.

  • Bob

    Anybody have an opinion regarding Food for the Poor? We sent a couple of contributions, so now we’re on their list.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      We did, too, Bob, after a very moving homily by a missionary from them. I did a quick search, and it seems that they had some scandals involving sex and money about a decade ago, and a bunch of administrators resigned. I don’t see any more recent problems, and Charity Navigator, whoever that is, gives them a very high rating for efficiency.

      http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3714

      I like Save a Family Plan because you know exactly what your money is going to. Heifer International, for instance, on the other hand, gives the impression that you’re buying a dozen chicks for a family, when in fact you’re donating enough money to buy a dozen chicks.

      That’s not necessarily a bad thing (and they do mention in fine print that it’s not necessarily a 1 for 1 equation), but only works if you absolutely trust the organization. I don’t know what else Heifer Int’l is involved in – I’m not denigrating them; I just don’t know.

      That’s why I go with Catholic organizations every time. SAFP helps a specific family (you get a photo and letters if you want them) invest money, and you get reports on the specific results of your actual donation. Not to pat yourself on the back, but so you know that you’re not funding something awful. You know, 10-year-old Raj was able to get his asthma medicine and go back to school, and the mother sold the milk of the cow you helped them buy, and now they have enough money for shoes and a laying hen.

      • Bob

        Thank you.

    • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife

      Mary’s meals is a great charity- google it!

  • J Harvey

    Uhh… very good post. I just clicked on the link to the Palestinian ad and my virus blocker went nuts…

    We’ve never given to UNICEF and our CCD classes used to hand out those little boxes!! Geesh. I think that most organizations are bad until proven otherwise. Sad, I know.

  • Faustina

    I’ve noticed that here in Canada, Unicef doesn’t use the boxes anymore. What they’ve done instead is pair with candy companies so that when you buy certain Halloween candies and/or chocolate, Unicef gets a portion of the proceeds. Very sneaky of them! I can usually tell which is which by inspecting the packaging for a unicef logo.

  • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife

    You have put a bee in my bonnet- I think I’ll give my husband a family this Christmas :)

    If you are interested: read my latest blog post on another problem- Christmas lights made in China

  • http://timhollingworth.blogspot.com Tim H

    Good post and good job reminding people that they have to be careful where their money is going.

    I remember the look on my wife’s face when she read a note on the back of a CD (U2 I think) which she had purchased, stating that a portion of the proceedes from the sale of the CD goes to funding abortion rights groups.

    The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s audited financial statement for 2008-2009 lists a donation of $149,000 to The Moutner Project which is a lesbian/transgenter advocacy and support group.

    It’s so hard to tell.

    -Tim-

  • GABRIEL

    GIVE YOUR DONATIONS TO:

    The Missionaries of Charity.

    Let Simcha Fisher provide you with the details.

    • The Jerk

      Uh, not till after she makes my damn dinner.

  • GABRIEL

    http://www.motherteresa.org/07_family/Volunteering/v_cal.html

    HERE YOU WILL FIND CONTACT INFORMATION.

    GIVE WHAT YOU CAN.

    NO EXCUSES.

    G.

  • http://fallinglikerain-sandy.blogspot.com Sandy

    More info on UNICEF and Israel…

    http://thebulletin.us/articles/2010/03/31/news/world/doc4bafdbe416e47247495742.txt

    http://www.adl.org/Internet_Rumors/UNICEF.htm

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/136749

    While none of this will change my mind about donating to them, I’m just trying to get the whole story.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      oooh – thanks, Sandy! Will update my posts here and on IC now. It honestly never occurred to me to try and verify the story, which is why I work for myself – can’t get fired.

  • http://fallinglikerain-sandy.blogspot.com Sandy

    Um…you can thank my teenage daughter. She took it upon herself to do some research. Do I get any credit for raising her?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      Boy, I hope it works that way. Except for when my son licks people. that’s all him.

  • Will

    If you want to help the poor in the Holy Land of all religions through a Catholic charity with almost no overhead, you can give your money to the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land. A google search will direct you to their website. The Franciscans have been in the Holy Land tending to the needs of the poorest since the close of the Thrid Crusade, and they could use your help.

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  • Malakh

    the word written on the Axe means “boycott”…not Fatah.

    It is an ad for a TV show that teaches youth how to boycott Israel effectively.


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