Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 11
No. 2
February, 2017
 
International Pressure for Abortion
Europe: Global Abortion Industry Seeks Funding and Support
The pro-life action of President Trump by reissuing and expanding the Mexico City Policy (MCP) has resulted in non-US organizations that perform or promote abortion choosing to continue their abortion work and to lose US funding estimated to be nearly $600 million in population control funding and much more in overall health funding. The MCP rightly recognizes that an organization’s funds are fungible and that US contributions can enable the abortion work while the Helm’s Amendment prevents direct use of US assistance for performance or promotion of abortion as a method of family planning.
 
A campaign for donations to replace lost US monies is underway with a number of countries pledging financial support to She Decides, a fund established by the Netherlands to assist NGOs most impacted by the life-affirming policy. At the top of the NGO list are abortion industry giants International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International (MSI). IPPF estimates it will lose $100 million in USAID funding.
 
On March 2, Belgium, will host an international “She Decides” conference in Brussels along with the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, the four countries have committed a combined $32 million to replace US funds.
In response to the Brussels conference, Obianuju Ekeocha, President of Culture of Life Africa in a video entitled "The Dictatorship of the Wealthy Donor" addresses the delegates to the “She Decides” meeting and raises her concern that countries in the West are deciding what African women want. Ms. Ekeocha explains,

"Many countries in the West, including Canada and the Netherlands have decided to come together to raise funds. Not funds for food in Africa. Not funds for water in Africa. Not funds that the Africans can use as they want. Instead, they are gathering together to raise millions of dollars that they are dedicating to the so called safe abortion.
What is actually most disheartening is that these western countries have not even thought of asking the Africans what they want!"
According to Ms. Ekeocha, "This is the new colonialism. This is cultural imperialism. This is the dictatorship of the wealthy donor."The video includes a number of African women who “say No!” to abortion as Ekeocha addresses the governments that are funding the abortion industry declaring, "What WE are asking for is your support for safe delivery of African babies!"

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Africa: Global Abortion Industry Seeks Support
Under the leadership of Ipas Africa Alliance,the Africa Leaders’ Summit on Safe, Legal Abortion was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Despite the prestigious-sounding title of “Africa Leaders’ Summit” the meeting was largely a pro-abortion NGO event designed to advance support for abortion. The concluding statement-the Africa Leaders’ Declaration on Safe, Legal Abortion as a Human Right-reads like something straight from the elitist pro-abortion playbook and not organic to Africa.
 
The Declaration commits to engaging key stakeholders to “promote and protect women’s and girls’ right to safe, legal abortion” and calls for an increase in “budget allocation for national SRHR programs, while rejecting policies and funding that undermine efforts to combat unsafe abortion.” It seeks protection for NGOs that promote or provide abortion calling for governments to provide “full protection for human rights defenders and advocates who work to advocate for the right to abortion and provide access to safe abortion services” and calls on countries to “decriminalize abortion in Africa”.
 
It even urges governments to “enable self-management of abortion using medical abortion, through wide access and policy change” in its efforts to seek increased access to the violence of abortion but fails to mention anything about the dangers of abortion, legal or illegal, to women and to their unborn children.
 
The Revised Maputo Plan of Action 2016-2030 is referenced but the Declaration is in conflict with the Plan of Action’s recognition of national sovereignty in its definition of unsafe abortion- unsafe abortion in accordance with national laws and regulations”.

Of the 59 signers of the Declaration, seven were representatives of governments or inter-governmental institutions and three were from academia. The rest were affiliated with NGOs, thirteen with Ipas. Other NGOs included Equality Now, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Marie Stopes as well as a number of pro-abortion medical and health NGOs.
USA: Global Abortion Industry Seeks Support
Pro-abortion NGOs in the US plan a protest against President Trump and the MCP on March 8, International Women’s Day, on the Ellipse in front of the White House. The protest is being called:Protest: Resist Trump. Kill the Gag.
 
The announcement by the lead NGO, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) states, We know that this egregious attack on the health and lives of women and other people who depend on U.S.-funded health programs for their care is just the first of many attempts the Trump Administration will make to strip away our sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.” 
 
“Fight back and say NO to the global gag rule, NO to abortion bans. Not now, not ever!” Supporting organizations include Amnesty International USA, Feminist Majority Foundation, Catholics for Choice, International Planned Parenthood Federation, International Planned Parenthood Federation - Western Hemisphere Region, International Women’s Health Coalition, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Abortion Federation, National Organization for Women, Population Institute, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and UltraViolet.
Pro-Life Actions
Guatemala: Abortion Ship Sent Sailing
The abortion ship of the NGO Women on Waves attempted to land in Guatemala but was sent sailing by the government three days after its arrival and before Guatemalan women could board the ship and sail to international waters to take the first pills in the RU 486 abortion regimen. Abortion is only legal in Guatemala when the mother’s life is in danger.
 
Guatemalan immigration authorities expelled the ship after the learned the true intent of the ten activists on the ship, from Brazil, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, who lied in entry declaration papers claiming to be tourists. Guatemalans protested in the streets against the abortion ship and its attempt to violate Guatemala’s pro-life laws protecting unborn children from the violence of abortion.
 
Media in Guatemala covered the abortion activists’ stunt which included pro-abortion NGOs posed in photos holding the number of an abortion hotline that had been established to coincide with the ship’s arrival; an action that is part of the pro-abortion strategy to expand access to abortion in a country. Women on Waves claimed that 60 women called the abortion hotline in the first two days of the controversy and that “the abortion ship was headline news in Guatemala for 3 days and covered by all the international press.”
 
The Dutch NGO announced that it intends to pursue a legal battle at the Inter American Court of Human Rights over the expulsion of the crew and “to call attention to the violation of women's human rights caused by the restrictive abortion laws”.
UK: House of Lords Pursues Bill for Disability Non-discrimination in Abortion
A private member’s bill to end abortion on the grounds of disability in the UK by Lord Shinkwin-Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill [HL] 2016-17-continues through the legislative process as the first day of the report stage-line by line examination of the Bill- was completed.
 
The bill seeks to remove the section from the 1967 Abortion Act which allows abortion on the grounds of disability up to the moment of birth while the Abortion Act prohibits abortion for “healthy” babies beyond 24 weeks.
 
Lord Shinkwin who has brittle bone disease-a severe disability-stated during debate that he had “been consistently clear that the purpose of my Bill-a disability rights Bill-is to bring the law as it applies to disability discrimination before birth into line with the laws that your Lordships’ House has already passed to counter disability discrimination after birth.”

He challenged the idea that the 230 unborn babies who were aborted after 24 weeks in 2015 had severe or fatal fetal abnormalities stating that this is not known because such data is not compiled by the Department of Health. He explained that there is data that shows 659 babies aborted after 24 weeks of pregnancy did not have severe abnormalities but were diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, “Of the 659 babies aborted for the crime of having Down’s syndrome, for example, two were aborted at 25 weeks, one at 26 weeks, one at 28, one at 30, another at 31, three at 32 weeks, two at 33, two at 34-and one at 39 weeks.”
 
Addressing the House of Lords with unquestionable authority Lord Shinkus declared,
“I understand why those who oppose my Bill are desperate to misrepresent it and to say that it is all about abortion, which it barely touches, and to ignore disability equality and disability rights before birth. Their message is stark and bleak. It is: “Let’s ignore the fact that these disabled babies are human beings, with an equal right to exist. Let’s reclassify them and call them foetal anomalies. Let’s go one better and call them serious foetal anomalies. What does it matter that the Department of Health collects no data centrally on so-called fatal foetal anomalies, as long as we can use the term to dehumanise?”
 
“Well this foetal anomaly, this proud Member of your Lordships’ House, is having none of it. I utterly reject this medical mindset that clings to the idea that a disabled baby is a medical failure to be eradicated through abortion. I begged no one for my equality. I know I have as much right as anyone to be alive.”
 
Lord David Alton spoke in support of the bill challenging the Lords to be consistent in protecting and assisting the disabled stating, “This Bill is about equality legislation and discrimination, and whether a child with a disability should be treated differently from an able-bodied child.
 
“All Members of your Lordships’ House have properly campaigned over the years on the rights of disabled people, and have a huge reputation in this country for asserting those rights. Is there not an inconsistency if we campaign for ramps to be attached to public buildings in this country but say that it would be better that someone with a disability had not been born in the first place? What sort of message does that send?”
 
The bill has not yet been scheduled for its next round of examination.
Legislative News
France: Lawmakers Vote to Ban Pro-Life Websites
The French Parliament approved a new law to sanction pro-life websites that seek to persuade women to keep their babies. The new law extends France's current law prohibiting "obstruction to abortion" to online websites that make "misleading claims" on abortion. The Socialist government pushed the bill forward despite opposition from the center-right and from the Catholic Church. The Les Républicains party plans to challenge the law in the Constitutional Council, claiming it threatens freedom of expression. MP Christian Kert said the law is essentially "government censorship".
Spain: Parliament to Consider Euthanasia

The Spanish Congress of Deputies is debating legislation to legalize euthanasia. A bill sponsored by Unidos Podemos (UP), a coalition of the ruling party Podemos and the Community Party, would permit terminally ill adult patients over age 18 and adults suffering from "unbearable" psychological or physiological pain to seek assisted suicide and protect those doctors who euthanize. Another bill from Catalonia's regional parliament also seeks to decriminalize euthanasia. Spain's ruling Popular Party has traditionally opposed euthanasia but is now facing increased pressure to modify the country's laws.
 
USA: Assisted Suicide Legalized in Washington D.C.
A law passed by the DC Council legalizing euthanasia has gone into effect in Washington, D.C. after the U.S. Congress was unable to overturn it. The Death with Dignity Act, which passed the DC Council in December 2016, would have been blocked if the Congress had passed and the President signed a disapproval resolution within 30 legislative days. The Act was opposed by African Americans, people with disabilities, medical professionals, pro-life and religious groups. "The Act is a recipe for elder abuse, it applies to persons who have years or decades to live and purported oversight is a sham," said Margaret Dore, president of the anti-euthanasia group Choice is an Illusion.
Northern Ireland: Pro-Life Campaign Ahead of Critical Election
Northern Ireland's national election on March 2nd comes at a critical time for pro-life laws. The collapse of the Stormont Assembly in January halted all unfinished business, including a bill by MP David Ford to legalize abortion for babies with life limiting disabilities up to birth, which he vowed to reintroduce if re-elected. Pro-life group Precious Life has been running a "Vote Pro-Life" campaign promoting pro-life candidates and urging the public to be informed of where their candidates stand on the issue. They have placed informational advertisements and held meetings in towns and cities across the country. Precious Life notes that the full attendance at the pro-life meetings it has held as evidence of the public's support for pro-life candidates. "The pro-life majority want to know which candidates in their constituency are 'Pro-Woman, Pro-Baby, Pro-Life' and they won't vote for anyone who cannot promise to defend the right to life of all unborn children. The message is clear: without the right to life, all other rights are meaningless," said Precious Life director Bernadette Smyth.
EU: Parliament Resolution Calls for Funds for International Abortions
The European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling on the EU to take over the funding for abortions that has been stopped by the US with the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy. The resolution condemns the pro-life policy, saying it is a "direct attack on and a setback for gains made for women's and girls' rights". It calls on the EU and Member States to "as a matter of urgency" to increase reproductive health funding and to launch "an international fund to finance access to birth control and safe and legal abortion, using both national as well as EU development funding". Despite the strongly worded resolution, the EU does not have any legal competence on the abortion issue.
Judicial News
Florida: Court Blocks 24 Hour Waiting Period
Florida’s Supreme Court ruled against a law requiring a 24 hour waiting period before abortion. The 4-2 ruling prevents the law from going into effect. In the majority opinion, Justice Barbara Pariente cited the right to privacy as the basis for the ruling. In the dissent, Justice Charles Canady countered, “This Court has no evidence before it that a twenty-four hour waiting period is a significant restriction on the right to abortion.” Florida Right to Life expressed its disappointment with the ruling. “The 24 hour waiting period before undergoing an abortion is a very wise and thoughtful law that allows a 24 hour period of reflection before having a very serious life altering procedure,” said President Lynda Bell.  

 
 
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Advancing global respect and dignity for life through law and policy.

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