The Archdiocese of Miami defines Respect Life as a “ministry,” one that is “faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.”
The Florida Independent has found that Respect Life coordinates five crisis pregnancy centers that receive public money through the Florida Pregnancy Support Services Program. And Respect Life also coordinates at least two other crisis pregnancy programs: Project Rachel and the Gabriel Project.
The Gabriel Project is a pregnancy “outreach program.” Its website describes its mission:
For the love of God’s children, trained volunteers from our parishes, called “Gabriel Angels,” provide emotional, spiritual, and material support to women facing crisis pregnancies. Their help is caring, personal and confidential.
Your Gabriel Angel is your guide, mentor and friend. She is there to listen to your concerns; pray with you and for you; foster your relationship with God; encourage your confidence in making good decisions; share birthing, parenting and adoption information; help you plan for your health, lifestyle, and future; help you with resources and material assistance through the Respect Life Office.
The Florida Independent found that Respect Life distributes disputed information that links induced abortion to negative mental health outcomes like depression and suicide. Records obtained from the Florida Department of Health — which is charged with overseeing the program — show that the Respect Life Fort Lauderdale office (the only Respect Life center reviewed) is one of over two dozen publicly funded pregnancy centers that “needed to develop a procedure for reviewing and verifying the accuracy of materials and information given to clients.”
The Department of Health documents do not indicate whether public money is going to support overtly religious programs like the Gabriel Project. When asked for further clarity on how the department ensures taxpayer dollars are not spent on religious outreach, the department has not responded.
The Gabriel Project’s website states that, through the program, “relationships are established with members of the church. Women we help are women that choose to keep their baby instead of having an abortion and include those women that have chosen the loving choice of adoption.”