Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 11
No. 8
August, 2017
 
Pressure for Abortion
OAS "Welcomes" Legalization of Abortion in Chile
The human rights body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), 'welcomed' the decision of the Constitutional Court of Chile to legalize abortion under three circumstances stating that the decision is "an essential step to respect and protect the human rights of women, girls, and female adolescents in Chile."
 
The extreme pro-abortion view of the IACHR was expressed by Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, First Vice-President of the IACHR and Rapporteur on the Rights of Women, who commented, "The approval of this law... ensures that a pregnancy can be voluntarily interrupted in a way that is legal, available, and safe...This decision also contributes to the development of public health policies for Chilean women, in compliance with the country's international commitments, and culminates a protracted democratic debate on the rights of women.
 
"The right to sexual and reproductive health implies that women have the right to have access, without discrimination, to health services designed to address potential risks before, during, and after pregnancy. In the case of involuntary pregnancies that result from rape or incest, as well as pregnancies that pose a risk to a woman's physical integrity, the State must protect the woman's right to interrupt her pregnancy safely, legally, and voluntarily, as a guarantee of risk-free maternity and to protect the right of all women to health,"  Macaulay said.
 
The Commission urged Chile to promptly adopt and implement measures to enact the legislation.  In addition, it sent an anti-life message to other pro-life countries in the region "to adopt legislation designed to safeguard the effective exercise of women's sexual and reproductive rights, cognizant that the denial of the right to voluntarily interrupt a pregnancy in certain circumstances can constitute a violation of the fundamental rights of women, girls, and adolescents."
 
No international or regional treaty for the Americas includes access to abortion as a human right despite the claims of IACHR commissioners and other pro-abortion activists. However, the American Convention on Human Rights does recognize unborn children as having a right to life in Article 4:Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
 
PNCI notes that the IACHR states that it "derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights" yet it flagrantly ignores Article 4 of the Convention in its pro-abortion fanaticism and in so doing fails to uphold its mandate to promote and protect human rights for all.
 
Conscience Protections Targeted
Pro-abortion organizations are uniting in efforts to "tackle" what they perceive is the "problem" of medical personnel refusing to perform or participate in abortions. The "first international convening on conscientious objection to abortion" took place in Montevideo with participants from the Americas, Africa and Europe who believe that "objecting to the provision of voluntary abortion services on religious or moral grounds, is a chief barrier to safe abortion and endangers the lives of women."
 
They claim that conscientious objection in relation to health services "is not supported by international human rights frameworks" and when it is allowed by national law it "stigmatizes a fundamental health service". Agreement was reached to pursue legal, ethical, health and policy objectives to "mitigate the damaging effects of conscientious objection".
 
NGOs in Europe plan to rally at the European Parliament on September 28--a day used to promote access to abortion globally-- and present legislators with a petition that includes a demand that "the conscience clause for health professionals" be eliminated throughout Europe and that training in abortion "be an integral part of the basic training of health professionals".
 
The petition calls into question the diverse laws on access to abortion within Europe and includes:
 
"Today, the right to abortion within Europe is within the sphere of competence of each national government. Illegal in Malta, extremely limited in Ireland, in Hungary and Poland. the right to abortion, even when it is legal, can be put into question by the conscience clause for doctors (Italy), the absence of the necessary hospital facilities (Greece, Bavaria), the cuts in staff and the closing of centres practicing abortion during hospital reorganizations (France), and, in all countries, the election of reaction, conservative and backward governments."
Chile: Court Approves Law Legalizing Abortion
Chile's constitutional court has approved a new law legalizing abortion, ruling that it is not unconstitutional by a vote of 6-4. The law, which was recently passed following a two-year debate in Congress, allows abortion in cases of the life of the mother, rape, and for life-limiting anomalies in the unborn child. A coalition of pro-life groups challenged the law in court, claiming it violated Article 19 of the constitution which protects the right to life of the unborn child. The court's ruling has met with strong criticism from Catholic bishops, who said the decision "offends the conscience and the common good of the citizens." In a statement, the bishops said that Chilean society as a whole loses with the legalization of abortion. "We are confronted with a new situation in which some unborn human beings are left unprotected by the State in this basic and fundamental right." The approved law also fails to protect rights of conscience for nurses and other medical personnel, including Catholic hospitals. Legislation to enact and implement the new law has to be passed before abortion is available for the three legal grounds.
Defending Life
Ireland: Former Taoiseach: 'Primary Human Right is the Right to Life'
Former Taoiseach John Bruton has called for the protection of the right to life as a human right as Ireland prepares for a referendum on abortion. In a recent speech, Bruton emphasized that division arises with the issue of abortion, but that division is often necessary to protect the dignity of the unborn. "My view is that we should look at this through the prism of human rights and for me the primary human right is the right to life and where does that right begin? That's the question and I think the right to life is superior to most other rights," said Bruton. "These are not trivial questions or questions of convenience or questions of individual rights - they are questions about the obligations we have to other people that have not yet been born but who are already alive." 
Nicaragua: Maternal Deaths Decrease Following Abortion Ban
Since banning all abortions in 2006, Nicaragua has lowered its maternal deaths. The Ministry of Health reported that in 2016, 38 women died per 100,000 childbirths, down from 93 women per 100,000 childbirths. In 2011, Nicaragua was awarded the World Health Organization's "America Prize" for reducing its maternal mortality. The pro-life nation also achieved its Millennium Development Goals. Nevertheless, international abortion advocates continue to pressure for abortion. A new bill entitled the "Special law for interrupting pregnancy for health reasons" has been introduced in Congress and is being advanced by a committee supported by US based pro-abortion NGO Ipas.
US: Rep. Trent Franks- Life is a gift, Iceland, no matter what
Rep. Franks, a co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, added a personal account of to the outrage surrounding the news that Iceland has reportedly "eliminated" Down syndrome while it has in reality been eliminating babies with Down syndrome.
 
Responding to the news in a heartfelt reflection--Life is a gift, Iceland, no matter what--Rep Franks reflects on the life of his precious brother Bruce who carried the extra chromosome and whose common sense, theological depth, delight for life, and unfeigned love for God, his family, and absolutely everyone "constantly astonished us all."
 
In regards to Iceland, Rep Franks states that "the 'disappearing incidence' of children with Down is due to an almost 100 percent abortion rate for women who received a positive test for Down syndrome during their pregnancy."
 
"What Iceland is really doing is perpetuating the abhorrent eugenics philosophy of eliminating "unfit" or "impaired" persons from their society through systematic murder.
 
"Of course, the Icelandic government is not mandating these babies be killed. But through mandatory prenatal notification, the government makes it clear that the official and societal norm is for women to murder their child if he or she has Down syndrome.
 
"However, this "policy" is really just a reflection of the culture of death that is spreading across the world. And speaking out against it in any way is becoming very politically incorrect.
 
"Just last year, the French court system banned an ad featuring people with Down syndrome for fear of offending women who aborted their children diagnosed with Down syndrome.
 
"The cultural Left has discovered a sterile, sure-fire method to deal with the physical and mental disabilities, poverty, over-population, and unwantedness in general: simply murder its victims behind closed doors, then safely rely upon their sympathizers in the media to extol their great "accomplishments" for humanity.
 
The complete column can be read here

Focus on the United Nations
UN Women Seeks to Overturn Pro-Life Laws
UN Women, which works with governments to design laws, policies, programs and services related to women's equality, has released its Strategic Plan 2018-2021  which seeks to advance access to abortion in the name of non-discrimination and equality.

In discussing the plan, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women stated,

"This management and planning tool-the Strategic Plan-aims to directly tackle the structural causes of gender-based discrimination and inequality through the repeal of discriminatory laws; the transformation of discriminatory social norms and stereotypes, and the strengthening and support of institutions so that they can deliver equally for women and men." 

A number of UN entities, especially treaty monitoring bodies such as CEDAW, consider laws against abortion to be discriminatory and impediments to women's equality. The Strategic Plan's introduction declares that women and girls continue to face structural barriers that "undermine their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights". In the section UN-Women's collaborative and comparative advantage, there is a call for UN Women to contribute to efforts to "repeal discriminatory legislation and norms that impede women's access to sexual and reproductive health-care services".
 
The Plan also states that UN-Women will work with faith-based organizations to "leverage their capacity to transform discriminatory social norms" and will build on "its existing work with religious leaders on issues such as gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights and maternal and child health in partnership with UN agencies". While careful to avoid use of the word "abortion", it is widely accepted that abortion is promoted as a reproductive health-care service, a reproductive right and a core component of sexual and reproductive health.
  
Working Group Critical of Pro-Life Laws
The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice issued a report on its visit to HungaryThe group took aim at Hungary's pro-life laws and constitutional recognition of the right to life of the unborn child which it considers to be 'barriers" and stated: "Against the background of the constitutional protection of life from the moment of conception and the Act on the Protection of Foetal Life, we have been informed by interlocutors that women who require an abortion are in many cases subjected to hostile counselling during a mandatory waiting period of 3 days, contrary to the recommendations of the WHO and of the Working Group in its 2016 Report on Health and Safety.

"Furthermore, refusal of service providers on grounds of conscience to perform a termination of pregnancy is not regulated by law in accordance with the jurisprudence of international human rights treaty bodies, statements on sexual and reproductive health and rights by international and regional experts and the Working Group's 2016 Thematic Report on Health and Safety. The Working Group urges the Government to make sure that legal abortion in Hungary is not obstructed by unnecessary waiting periods, hostile counselling or conscientious objection."

In 2015 the group visited the US and similarly criticized pro-life laws:
"Women's access to reproductive health services has been truncated in some states by imposition of severe barriers.  These take the form of unjustified medical procedures, such as compelling women to undergo ultrasounds or to endure groundless waiting periods, withholding of early pregnancy abortion medications, imposing burdensome conditions for the licensing of clinics, which have resulted in the closing of clinics across the country leaving women without geographical access to sexual and reproductive health services."

The group was established by the Human Rights Council in 2010 and is another example of pro-abortion activists serving in official UN capacities who use their positions to pressure countries whose sovereign laws and policies restrict abortion and seek to protect unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion.
Legislative News
South Africa: Pro-Life MP Introduces Bill to Limit Abortions
South African Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley has introduced a bill to limit abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Current law permits abortion on demand in the first trimester, and in the second trimester, if there is a risk to the mother or if the pregnancy would "significantly affect" her "social or economic circumstances". In effect, abortion is readily available up to 20 weeks. MP Dudley's bill would limit abortion to cases of the mother's health or if the baby has a disability. It would also require counseling and an ultrasound before an abortion. The bill has yet to be tabled by parliament.
Isle of Man: Bill to Increase Access to Abortion Introduced
Legislation has been introduced to broaden the grounds for abortion. The Abortion Reform Bill would allow abortion on demand up to 14 weeks of pregnancy and allow abortion up to 24 weeks if the mother's life or health was considered to be at risk or for a life-limiting abnormality in the child. After 24 weeks, abortion would be permitted for threats to a mother's life or health, life-limiting abnormality or if the unborn child would be born with a serious handicap.
 
The legislation promotes so-called "non-biased counseling" and "informed consent" which is defined as "consent by a woman of her own free will after receiving information on the risks and benefits of termination of pregnancy." The bill would allow use of abortion-inducing drugs, described as "medicinal products", to be distributed by a registered nurse, midwife or registered pharmacist to a woman in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Executive News
Canada: PM Trudeau Calls Abortions Up to Birth a Human Right
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on Ireland to treat abortion as a "human rights" issue. Meeting in Canada with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the leaders discussed the issue of abortion, specifically the taoiseach's plans to hold a national referendum next year to repeal the country's Eighth Amendment, which protects the right to life. Prime Minister Trudeau said of his advice, "I shared our perspective that reproductive rights for women are integral to women's rights in general and women's rights are human rights and I encouraged him to look at it as a question of fundamental rights for women and we had a good discussion on that."
 
Trudeau's remarks are a stark contrast with those of Former Taoiseach John Bruton who spoke of the need to protect the rights of unborn children.
Wales: Plans to "Eliminate" Down Syndrome by Aborting Babies
The Welsh Government Public Health Office has announced it will begin using non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) to screen for Down syndrome in pregnancy. The screening is already available in England, which has already seen an increase in the abortion of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero; up 46% from 689 in 2015 to 706 in 2016. Recent news that Iceland has aborted nearly 100% of babies with Down syndrome raises many concerns that this type of testing has led to and will continue to lead to eugenic abortions.
 
Sri Lanka: Bill to Legalize Abortion, Bishops Protest
The cabinet in Sri Lanka has approved a bill to legalize abortion; the parliament will soon consider the legislation. Currently abortion is allowed for a life of the mother exception only but the new bill would expand abortion to permit the act in the case of rape or if the unborn child has a life-limiting abnormality. News reports indicate the government intends to tightly regulate the new exceptions if the bill is passed and will require that the decision be made by two "consultants", would only be permitted in government hospitals, and would only be permitted if the woman gives her consent.
 
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) issued a statement reminding government officials that "no person on Earth has the right to terminate a foetus once it has conceived" and they have "no alternative but to unreservedly condemn moves made to legalize abortion in the country." Bishop Valence Mendis of Chilaw, CBCSL secretary general, stated that a person could not safeguard their own rights at the expense of violating somebody else's rights.

 
 
Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues
Advancing global respect and dignity for life through law and policy.

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