A recent report by the World Faiths Development Dialogue, entitled “Faith and International Family Planning,” mentions programs related to CRS twice in the document.
The first mention highlights a program in Timor-Leste, which is an excellent example of the type of natural family planning program that CRS has been promoting in several countries for years.
The second mention describes a Maryknoll program in Cambodia to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child, which received some funding from USAID through CRS, along with a number of other donors. As part of this program, Maryknoll counseled some of its patients in natural family planning, providing them with full information about fertility, risks of subsequent pregnancies for HIV-positive mothers and birth spacing. They encouraged decisions with respect to natural family planning founded not only on HIV status, but also on their wider circumstances, while retaining respect and acceptance for the families’ choices. The Maryknoll program did not provide artificial contraception – free or otherwise.
The 2008 CRS document on the Cambodia program that is referenced in the World Faiths Development Dialogue report is no longer publicly available. It became clear in 2012 during a systematic review of CRS materials that some language in the report led to a misinterpretation of the activities under the Maryknoll program. The document was intentionally removed at that time in order to avoid confusion. Unfortunately, the recently released World Faiths Development Dialogue report included information from the recalled 2008 document, which could be misinterpreted regarding the activities of the program.
CRS has been in touch with the World Faiths Development Dialogue on this issue and has worked with Maryknoll to provide corrected information on the Cambodia program in the report.