Trump's Election Triggers Pro-Abortion Fears Globally
activists and organizations across the globe are still recovering from
the aftershocks of the election of Donald Trump, who campaigned on a
pro-life platform, and whose nominations for key cabinet positions
embrace individuals who are committed to the pro-life position including
Vice-President elect Mike Pence, Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff
Sessions, Governor Nikki Haley as Trump's nominee for United Nations
Ambassador, Congressman Tom Price to head the department of Health and
Human Services (HHS), Dr Ben Carson to oversee the department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD), Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of
Education and Congressman Mick Mulvaney to head the Office of Budget and
activists had been strategizing on ways they could work with what they
expected would be the uber friendly pro-abortion administration of
Hillary Clinton to push international access to abortion but now face
the reality of life under a pro-life U.S. administration. In contrast,
advocates for the unborn are celebrating in the U.S. and around the
world anticipating the pro-life actions that President Trump will
undertake in the U.S., at the United Nations and abroad.
most pressing concern of abortion-minded NGOs is funding. Expectations
are high that President Trump will restore the U.S. ban on funding to
foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote
abortion and refuse to stop these activities as a condition of receiving
US funding. Foremost of the foreign NGOs that have previously lost
funding under the Mexico City Policy are International Planned
Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International (MSI); both
operate affiliates in a large number of countries with pro-life laws and
Read more here.
US: Abortion Rate Dropping
The official keeper of US abortion records, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports in the latest Abortion Surveillance Report that
the total abortion number, rate and ratio of reported abortions for
2013 decreased and reached their lowest level since abortion was
legalized dropping to 664,435 reported legal induced abortions.
According to Michael New, an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C, reporting data
for both 2012 and 2013, the overall number of abortions fell by almost
five percent. The decline was widespread, as the number of abortions
fell in 41 of the 46 states that reported data for each of these two
years. In fact, the U.S. abortion rate has declined consistently since
it peaked in 1980; it fell by approximately 15 percent between 2004 and
2013 and has fallen by over 40 percent since 1980."
A portrait of the average woman having an abortion was described by Randall O'Bannon of the National Right to Life Committee,
latest CDC demographic data tell us that the woman who aborts today is
more likely to be an unmarried minority, a twenty-something who already
has at least one child. Chances are she will have her abortion at 8
weeks gestation or less and she is increasingly likely to turn to a
He continues, "These
are critical factors to keep in mind when developing a legislative,
educational, or outreach strategy. Other surveys have told us that women
often turn to abortion because they simply don't see any other options.
Measures that not only make women aware of but help create and provide
realistic alternatives to abortion may be one very effective means of
are many reasons for the drop in abortions including the passage of
state legislation, the closing of large abortion clinics and successful
pro-life outreach to abortion-minded women. O'Bannon explains, "These
latest numbers from the CDC are confirmation that America is moving,
perhaps even accelerating, towards a culture more hospitable to unborn
International Pressure for Abortion
New Pro-Abortion Collaboration to Counter Pro-Life NGOs
activists have launched a new collaboration to attack pro-life and
pro-family organizations around the world that are increasingly
successful in their efforts, including at the United Nations, and which
are falsely described as "anti-human rights". The press release of the Observatory on the Universality of Rights (OURs) explains that the time to act is now as "governments
the world over shifting to the right, and most recently the election of
Donald Trump in the United States, more power and legitimacy has been
given to anti-human rights actors at both national and international
radical activists fear religious and cultural values that protect the
unborn and national laws against abortion claiming that
"today conservative actors are targeting the systems established to
protect our human rights. These actors use arguments based on extreme
interpretations of religion, culture, and tradition, along with rhetoric
linked to state sovereignty to roll back fundamental rights -
particularly women's rights and gender justice- and to justify state
support to protect the right to life of the unborn child and his or her
mother from the violence of abortion and to affirm marriage as the
union of one man and one woman is growing. Countries are increasingly
defending their religious and cultural values, as well as their
sovereign laws during negotiations at the United Nations despite
mounting pressure. Radical NGOs are increasingly frustrated.
The press release includes, "Religious
fundamentalists are now operating with increased frequency, resources,
and support in international human rights spaces. Furthermore, these
actors are extremely well coordinated, building dynamic, issue-oriented
affiliations between civil society actors, intergovernmental
organizations, and states, and across regions and religions.
OURS self-described goal is "to
monitor, analyze, and share information on these anti-rights
initiatives threatening international and regional human rights systems.
Grounded in a feminist framework, the OURs initiative works across
regions, issues, and human rights spaces towards the advancement of
effort should encourage pro-life and pro-family organizations around
the world and at the UN as a sign of success. OURS acknowledges that "the
strategies employed by anti-human rights actors have already had a
substantive effect on the international and regional human rights
is coordinated by the Association for Women's Rights in Development
(AWID). Members include Ipas, Planned Parenthood and World Council of
Africa: U.S. Pro-Abortion NGOs Target Pro-Life Laws in Africa
The Guttmacher Institute and Ipas co-sponsored a conference in Addis Ababa with the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) entitled: The Africa Regional Conference on Abortion, From Research to Policy Conference. The conference was attended by 260 researchers, activists, policymakers and donors who issued a declaration
that called for holding African governments accountable to eliminate
"unsafe abortion" by not only changing national laws restricting access
to abortion but by "supporting the work of civil society to expand safe
Maputo Protocol, the only treaty in the world that recognizes a right
to abortion under select circumstances, was a major topic of the
conference as attendees discussed ways to use the Protocol to pressure
signatory countries to open their doors to abortion.
Declaration was critical of cultural and religious opposition to
abortion in Africa including by health care personnel as it stated:
throughout the region, women and girls are still denied the ability to
control their reproductive lives. In many places, reproductive health
care, including safe abortion care, is inaccessible--particularly for
young, rural, poor, displaced and uneducated women--for a variety of
reasons including legal restrictions, cost and cultural stigma. This
stigma extends to health care providers who may not provide abortion
care as a result."
Discussion topics at the conference included: Building
societal support for safe abortion: The role of police, faith
communities and the education sector; A new perspective on "youth
friendly services": A dialogue between young people and health
professionals; Why should we care about second-trimester abortion?;
Potential for safe abortion in Francophone Africa; Self-use of medical
abortion: What are we afraid of?; and How do we do it? Abortion legal
and policy changes - lessons from the field
Other organizations joining Guttmacher Institute and Ipas and signing
the declaration included: FEMNET, Gynuity Health Projects, Ibis
Reproductive Health, International Planned Parenthood Federation,
African Regional Office, Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre, Marie
Stopes International, Population Council, and Women's Health and Action
Research Centre (WHARC).
France: Senate Votes to Ban Pro-Life Websites
The French Senate moved in an extreme direction that violates free speech by banning pro-life websites that post information against abortion. The Senate vote, 173-126,
follows action in the National Assembly to approve legislation that
makes it a crime to publish any pro-life material that conflicts with
the nation's abortion policy and seeks to prosecute pro-life activists
for "exercising, by any means, moral and psychological pressures,
threats or any act of intimidation against people seeking information on
a voluntarily termination of pregnancy."
In response, Grégor Puppinck, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice, said: "Publishing
the Christian teaching that abortion is a crime could be seen as
putting pressure on people. The simple sharing of information that might
upset moral conscience could be sufficient to constitute a crime."
is concerned about the potential for a broad impact on religious
freedom as the bill could extend beyond pro-life activist groups and
websites and eventually include entire religions, especially impacting
Catholic clergy. He explains, "This law may prohibit the church from
publishing its position on abortion. If you teach that it is a sin then
teaching itself would be sufficient for prosecution."
Pro-life websites were described as containing "horrors and lies" by Sen. Francoise Laborde. Violators of the ban face up to two years in prison and $30,000 in fines.
French Senate and National Assembly next reconcile their respective
bills before sending a final version one to Socialist President François
Focus on the United Nations
Croatia: U.N. Special Rapporteur Visits, Promotes SRHR
Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the
highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Mr. Dainius
Puras, issued his preliminary observations
on his recent visit to Croatia including his opposition to growing
pro-life efforts, especially those associated with faith. One section
of his report was dedicated to "sexual and reproductive health rights"
in which he expressed his discouragement that "some
policy makers are being influenced in their decisions by a growing
number of church-affiliated organizations who continue to oppose
well-established instruments and mechanisms for the promotion and
protection of women's sexual and reproductive health rights."
He voiced opposition to efforts to revise the Law of Abortion of 1978 which is before the Constitutional Court stating, "The
implementation of this Law was already facing some challenges, such as
hospitals' denial of abortion on the ground of conscientious objection."
He also stated that "while sexuality education was introduced in
schools, not enough hours per year are allocated to this important
topic and the delivery of the relevant module actually depends on each
teacher, who often refuse to do it on the basis on misleading arguments
that prevent children and adolescents from making informed decisions
about their sexuality and adopt healthy sexual behaviours."
He labeled as "retrogressive measures" policies to prevent access to legal abortion that "may amount to human rights violations" and stated, "Sexual
and reproductive health rights also indicate that primacy should be
given to women's and children's rights and not to the family unit."
In response to his visit and observations, Zeljka Markić, President of the organization "In the name of the family" wrote a letter of protest
to Prime Minister Plenković, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Zeida Ra'ada Al Husseina, Chairman of the UN Human Rights Council, Choi
Kyong-lima and others in which she states, "Among
other things, we consider his work was done outside of his function, he
did not respect the institutions of the Republic of Croatia,
and that he wanted to impose certain forms of values that are not in
harmony with democratically expressed will of the citizens of the
Republic of Croatia."
Dominican Republic: Senate Maintains Ban on Abortion
The Dominican Republic Senate voted to maintain its ban on abortion
by a vote of 19-1. Possible changes to the Penal Code to open the door
to legal abortion have been under debate for nearly 20 years. The
Chamber of Deputies first passed the bill before the Senate confirmed
its support to increase the maximum sentence for abortion from 30 to 40 years in prison.
Poland: Parliament Approves Assistance to Families of Disabled Babies
Poland's Sejm has approved a new policy
to offer financial assistance to families for the birth of disabled
babies. The initiative, called the "For Life" plan, extends a payment of
4,000 zlotys ($1,000) upon the birth of a child with a disability or
life-threatening disease. Government official Elzbieta Witek explained
that the policy is intended to be the "first step" in extending
government support to families of handicapped children who have been
lobbying for federal assistance. The initiative was approved by a vote
of 267-140 with 21 abstentions and is expected to be signed by President
Andrzej Duda. President Durda has said he will also support legislation
to further protect disabled babies from abortion. "I believe that the lives of these children are too poorly protected at the moment," stated Duda.
US: Senate Committee Calls for FBI and Justice Investigation of PP
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, called on
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Justice Department to
investigate, and possibly prosecute, four Planned Parenthood affiliates
and three private companies for the sale of aborted baby body parts.
Senator Grassley's actions result from an examination by committee staff
of over 20,000 pages of documents directly provided to the committee by
the organizations and companies in question.
the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by
decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it. And,
unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against
commercializing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then
the problem is likely to continue."
The extensive report details the background and legislative history on the issue.
The Majority's Report--Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy--includes the following: "The
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) initially had a policy
in place to ensure its affiliates were complying with the law, but the
affiliates failed to follow its fetal tissue reimbursement policy. When
PPFA learned in 2011 of this situation, PPFA cancelled the policy rather
than exercise oversight to bring the affiliates back into
compliance. Thus, PPFA not only turned a blind eye to the affiliates'
violations of its fetal tissue policy, but also altered its own
oversight procedures enabling those affiliates' practices to continue
US: House Approves Doubling of Budget for Select Committee on PP
The US House voted
to allocate additional funding for the select committee investigating
Planned Parenthood (PP). The committee was created last fall to
investigate the findings of undercover videos that revealed the abortion
provider was illegally selling aborted babies' body parts and tissue.
The approved funding of $800,000, which passed on a party-line vote of 234-181, doubles its' annual budget. "It is now up to us to build on the work, to hold the government accountable, and stop these affronts to human dignity," said committee chairwoman Rep Marsha Blackburn.
US: Congress Holds Dialogue with African Diplomats on First 1000 Days
Nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life was the focus of a recent Congressional-Diplomatic Dialogue
between Members of Congress and members of the African diplomatic
community. The dialogue, the sixth in a series of discussions between US
Members and African diplomats, seeks to identify strategies to improve
health in Africa by targeting child nutrition. "Every night 800 million
people around the world go to bed hungry," said Rep Chris Smith,
Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global
Human Rights and International Organization. About 165 million of these
are children under five who are malnourished.
Roger Thurow, author of The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children - and the World
testified to the detrimental effects malnutrition for women and
children has on families, communities and entire countries. Diplomats
from a number of African countries shared their nation's strategies to
address this critical issue which impacts a child for his or her
Scotland: Government Rejects Call to Allow Abortion until Birth
The Scottish government has rejected calls for abortion to be allowed up to birth, extending abortion access beyond the current legal limit of 24 weeks,
the same as in England and Wales, which also allows abortion throughout
pregnancy if the child has a disability. Pro-abortion organizations,
including Amnesty Scotland, want Scotland to follow the model of Canada
which does not have a law on abortion allowing abortion on demand
throughout pregnancy. A spokesman for the Scottish Government said it
has "no plans to change the law".
New Zealand: Justice Minister Rules Out Abortion Expansion
Justice Minister Amy Adams is rejecting calls to change New Zealand's Crimes Act.
Currently abortion is legal in the case of risk to the physical or
mental health of the mother, in the case of incest and if there the
unborn child has a disability. There is no exception for rape and
abortion outside the exceptions remains illegal. The only political
party to support the abortion law change is the Greens.Justice Minister Adams stated, "Abortion
is a deeply personal issue and has traditionally been left as a
conscience issue for MPs, and that's appropriate. Wholesale reform of
abortion law is not something I'm currently looking at."
US: Texas Health Department Releases Informed Consent Booklet
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission released a revised booklet
for women considering abortion informing them of the risks of abortion,
including the increased risk of developing breast cancer. The booklet,
"A Woman's Right to Know", states: "If you give birth to your baby,
you are less likely to develop breast cancer in the future.. Research
indicates that having an abortion will not provide you this increased
protection against breast cancer. In addition, doctors and scientists
are actively studying the complex biology of breast cancer to understand
whether abortion may affect the risk of breast cancer."
also includes information about the unborn child's development,
including the baby's ability to feel pain at 20 weeks, and resources for
pregnancy and parenting. Abortion advocates are protesting the revised
booklet. Health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams clarified that
the booklet aims to be "helpful, user friendly and medically
accurate, and we carefully studied the medical and scientific research
available to us along the way." She clarified the main purpose is to give pregnant women the information they need for informed consent.
India: Health Ministry Extends Abortion Policy to Single Women
The Indian government is expanding the current abortion policy
to permit single women to procure legal abortions for "failure of
contraceptive" and "unplanned pregnancy"; current law specifies only
married women. The changes are part of a series of revisions to the
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act that seek to increase access
to the destructive act of abortion in the country. "The amendments
will increase women's access to safe abortion and we are hoping the
government will attempt to pass the bill in Parliament at the earliest," said Vinoj Manning, executive director of abortion provider and promoter IPAS India, an affiliate of US-based Ipas.
France: Ban on Commercial Celebrating Children with Down Syndrome
France has banned
an advertisement celebrating children with Down syndrome (DS), saying
it would "disturb the conscience" of women who had aborted babies with
DS. The commercial featured the joys of parenting children with DS and
was aimed at a pregnant mother considering abortion. Happy children with
DS offer a positive message telling her, "Dear future mom, don't be afraid... your child will be able to do many things," including "hug you", "run toward you", and "tell you he loves you". France's highest administrative court recently upheld the High Audiovisual Council's ban of the commercial.
Brazil: Supreme Court Legalizes Abortion in First Trimester
The Brazilian Supreme Court
has legalized abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, citing
the U.S. and other western countries that do not penalize first
trimester abortions. The Supreme Court ruled that Brazil's pro-life law
violates women's fundamental rights to autonomy, physical and
psychological integrity, sexual and reproductive rights and gender
equality. Brazil's House of Representatives plans to set up a special
commission to review the Court's decision. Rep. Evandro Gussi called the
ruling a "flagrant affront to the Constitution" which violates the
government's separation of powers. "It's the Criminal Code that determines abortion to be a crime against life," said Rep Gussi.
South Africa: Supreme Court Rules No Euthanasia
The Supreme Court of South Africa has rejected euthanasia
by overturning a lower court decision that approved the assisted
suicide of a South African man. The court ruled that the issue is a
matter for the legislature and not for the court to decide. The justices
cited flaws in the medical information provided to the Pretoria High
Court in the initial case and said the case was manipulated by a
euthanasia lobby group. "A court addressing these issues needs to be aware of differing cultural values and attitudes within our diverse population,"
the Supreme Court stated. The approval of assisted suicide in this case
would have opened the door to legislation legalizing it in the country.
Photos Sought to Counter Images of Children in the Womb
new pro-abortion effort seeks photographs to counter the images of
prenatal development and the abundance of stock pictures of unborn
children that are used so effectively to counter the false argument that
abortion involves a 'blob of tissue'.
seeking access to a universal right to abortion are increasingly
frustrated with the positive emotions rendered by ultrasound images of
the preborn child and the subsequent opposition to abortion they
produce. In response, the Museum of Contraception and Abortion (MUVS) in Vienna, Austria has organized a contest on the topic of "Abortion" seeking photographs to counter what it calls the "one-sided visual language that projects a wrong impression of abortion and the circumstances of women affected by unwanted pregnancy." It claims that "the media resort to pictures of women in the final stage of pregnancy,or to ultrasound of rare late-term foetuses, and even to graphic pictures of late-term aborted fetuses".
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