Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 11
No. 9
October, 2017
 
Defending Life
Impact of President Trump's Global Pro-Life Policy
Pro-abortion NGOs gathered in Brussels to commiserate over the impact of the decision by President Trump to implement the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy that stops U.S. funding to international organizations that perform or promote abortion and to strategize on what they acknowledge is growing resistance to the radical "sexual and reproductive health and rights" agenda. The conference was organized by Euro NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development with the title
 
Pro-abortion angst consumed the conference as it was recognized that the cut-off of U.S. funding to global pro-abortion NGOs and to the foreign affiliates of U.S.-based NGOs is having its intended pro-life impact as the worldwide industry that views the death of unborn children as an acceptable component of development or health aid is facing reductions in operating capacity. Attendees are also worried about reduced U.S. funding to the United Nations as the meeting's concept note also states: 

"The consequences of the new USA government have become evident, with the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule and other detrimental decisions affecting USA funding for international development, the United Nations, and SRHR specifically... In this time of unprecedented change, the 2017 conference will provide a high-level platform to highlight and explore how we can promote and protect SRHR in future years, both within and beyond UN processes."
 
A news article on the conference-'Don't let the US set the agenda': Takeaways from EuroNGOs on reproductive right-details how pro-abortion NGOs are upset that the U.S. pro-life policy is imposing "restrictions on the services they can provide"- in other words their ability to end the lives of preborn children through abortion has been diminished. The article states that delegates "were clear that U.S. funding cuts will create a very deep hole" as the U.S. has historically been the biggest bilateral donor to family planning and reproductive health services and could affect up to $8 billion in funds.
 
Globally, Kwabena Osei-Danquah from UNFPA explained that SRHR movements around the world "are complex and differ between countries", including how the influence of religion plays out in different parts of the world. He explained "conservative governments in Latin America tend to take a hard line on abortion but are more tolerant toward sexual rights, including gay marriage, he said. In some parts of Africa, the opposite is true."
 
He encouraged the development of "strategies and definitions of SRHR" that take these differences into account were encouraged "in order to create an effective counter-movement."
 
Belgium's minister of development cooperation, Alexander De Croo,
"suggested that tailoring the asks to the audience will be crucial to secure support for the SRHR agenda going forward. He argued that, in some contexts, health-based arguments for reproductive rights, including abortion, will be more effective than rights-based campaigns."
 
Read more about it from PNCI here.
U.S.: House Passes Ban on Late-Term Abortions
The U.S. House of Representative has again passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, banning abortions on babies from the beginning of the sixth month of pregnancy based on their ability to feel pain. Abortions done at 20 weeks and later often involve the violent and brutal dismemberment and decapitation of the unborn baby; a procedure made even more horrific now that science has proven that the baby can experience pain. Rep Karen Handel told the House floor that at 20 weeks, babies "can hear music," and "they can even respond to human voices... This bill reflects today's medical understanding about a baby's ability to feel pain."
 
The 237-189 vote was along party lines with three Democrats voting in support of the ban--Dan Lipinski-IL, Collin Peterson-MN, and Henry Cuellar-TX --and two Republicans--Charlie Dent-PA and Rodney Frelinghuysen-NJ--opposing. Seven Members did not vote.
 
Speaker of the House, Rep Paul Ryan joined over 35 Members speaking in support of the bill as did Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chair Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
 
The legislation now awaits action by the Senate but past Pain Capable bills have languished in the Senate with no vote. President Donald Trump has already expressed his support of the ban and his willingness to sign the bill into law. "The House's approval of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a turning point. It clarifies which of our federal representatives are or are not willing to allow the infliction of excruciating pain on little children," said Father Frank Pavone with Priests for Life.
 
Bill sponsor, Rep Trent Franks, expressed his thanks for the passage of the legislation but expressed his frustration with the fact that the Senate again might not vote on the bill, "House leadership should be applauded for bringing this bill to the floor. But, the House has passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act before only to see it disgracefully languish in the Senate without even a debate or fair up or down vote".

Franks wrote in an opinion piece:
  
"Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stunningly allowed Democrats to use arcane Senate rules to gridlock this incredibly reasonable pro-life bill just as they were determined to gridlock a pro-life justice like Neil Gorsuch. Mr. McConnell's correct actions to force an up or down vote on Neil Gorsuch have demonstrated that the principled debate on this asinine 60-vote rule (that Democrats will change when they regain control) is now over. In the name of humanity and all that America stands for, Mr. McConnell must now also ensure a prompt fair up or down majority vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. To do less is to allow this insidious and unthinkable carnage to continue, and to betray the very most essential hope the Party of Lincoln represents to America - and the very most helpless among us."
U.S.: States Rejecting Assisted Suicide
So far this year, twenty-three U.S. states have rejected bills to legalize assisted suicide. In states from New York to Utah, bills have been defeated in the legislature, stuck in committee or withdrawn. Further, the U.S. Congress voted September 14th to repeal the "Death with Dignity Act", a new law legalizing euthanasia in Washington, D.C. The movement away from assisted suicide legislation is largely attributed to the cooperative efforts of legislators, disability rights groups, health care professionals and associations, faith-based organizations, life and family advocacy groups, and patient advocates, among others. More and more cases of patients being denied coverage for care but instead given coverage for euthanasia have been evidenced in states that have legalized assisted suicide. Continued efforts to educate legislators and the public will bring more attention to the dangers of the assisted suicide.
Focus on the United Nations
Will New UN and EU Initiative to End Violence Include Abortion?
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have launched a new project--Spotlight Initiative - eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls--which states that it "will respond to all forms of VAWG, with a particular focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, femicide, traffcking in human beings and sexual and economic (labour) exploitation."
 
According to the UN news,"The Initiative is so named as it brings focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women's empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."
 
Problematically, last month, the European Parliament approved a report on endorsement of the European Union's accession to the Istanbul Convention,-- the Council of Europe's Convention to prevent and combat violence against women and girls--which states that "the denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including safe and legal abortion, is a form of violence against women and girls" and calls on all EU Member States to guarantee ready access to women for "the full range of reproductive and sexual health services, including...safe and legal abortion".
 
The question must be asked: Will this new initiative also depict laws against abortion as a "form of violence against women and girls" and distort a noble goal with promotion of the violence of abortion? If it does, the U.S and other Member States may have to to withhold participation and support. So far the EU has contributed 500 million euro to the initiative.
 
U.N. 'Experts' Call for an Official UN Day for Abortion
Four pro-abortion activists who hold human rights positions at the United Nations have used their official capacities to call for September 28 to become an official UN day for "safe abortion worldwide". The four call for the overturning of laws in the statement-Safe abortions for all women who need them - not just the rich, say UN experts.
 
The four align themselves with pro-abortion NGOs and "request that 28 September be made a UN official international day on safe abortion" repeating pro-abortion arguments that are rejected by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States. The statement includes:
 
"Restrictions on access to safe abortion are the result of societal attitudes that stigmatize women and subject their bodies to other people's political, cultural, religious and economic purposes. Criminalization of abortion further perpetuates stigma and discrimination, and infringes women's dignity and bodily integrity.
Denying women access to necessary health care is inherently discriminatory and a violation of their human rights...At the moment, many factors contribute to women being denied essential health services for the termination of pregnancies and post-abortion care. These include criminalization, reduced availability of services, stigmatization, deterrence and derogatory attitudes of health-care professionals."
 
The four-- Kamala Chandrakirana, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice; Dubravka Simonovic, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Dainius Pûras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions--are UN Rapporteurs and part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
International Pressure for Abortion
IPPF Ends the Live of Over 1 Million Preborn Children in 2016
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), based in London and operating in 170 countries, released its first report on implementation of its Strategic Framework 2016- 2022. The organization's report shows that that globally it ended the lives of 1,094,679 preborn children in 2016 through 612,966 surgical abortions and 481,713 by use of abortion-inducing drugs.
 
This abortion industry giant whose U.S. affiliate is Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) also boasts of contributing to "175 policy and legal changes in support or defense of sexual and reproductive health and rights at national, regional and global levels"; 13 of the changes increase access to abortion. IPPF reports on its work opposing efforts against abortion stating: "In 2016, ten of the national-level wins involved blocking proposed changes that would have limited access to safe abortion, comprehensive sexuality education and contraception.

There is a special bragging reserved for its work at the UN which includes a special working relationship with UNFPA: "In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. IPPF is working to ensure governments set and remain committed to their targets on gender equality and women's empowerment, sexual and reproductive health, and reproductive rights. We will report on the proportion of countries that are on track in 2019."
 
IPPF also intends by 2022, to deliver two billion integrated sexual and reproductive health services including abortion. IPPF, along with Maries Stopes International, are the two largest organizations that refuse to comply with the pro-life provisions of President Trump's Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy. IPPF reports that it will work with governments and donors to "bridge the funding gap".
 
The Next Steps section of the report includes its fears about U.S. foreign policy and growing opposition, "With the implementation of the Global Gag Rule and rising populism, IPPF and its partners are facing more opposition than ever before. IPPF will continue to increase political support for sexual and reproductive health and rights at local, national, regional and global levels. We will hold governments to account and track their commitments to Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5."
Pro-Abortion NGOs Call on Human Rights Council for Support
In a group statement, the abortion lobby has called on the Human Rights Council to address abortion on September 28, what they call the "Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion". The organizations "urge the Human Rights Council to address the human rights violations arising from criminalization of abortion and the denial of access to safe and legal abortion services through its resolutions, decisions, dialogues, debates, and the UPR. We demand in a collective voice that governments across the world respect, protect and fulfill the right to access safe and legal abortion services and post-abortion care."
 
The NGOs, including the Sexual Rights Initiative, Center for Reproductive Rights, Action Canada for Population and Development, Federation for Women and Family Planning, and Ipas, argue that countries with laws banning abortion violate the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The Vienna Declaration addresses the rights of women and calls for the end of gender-based discrimination and violence, however it does not even mention abortion. The groups admittedly only selected the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action to submit their statement because they deemed it "the most suitable Council agenda item for the statement" for the HRC session which is currently underway.
 
In actuality, it would be more relevant and appropriate to raise the issue of sex selection abortion, the first act of discrimination which targets girls for death.
Legislative News
Canada: MP Opposed as Chair on Status of Women Because She Opposes Abortion
Pro-abortion liberal Members of Parliament walked out on a Status of Women Committee meeting in protest over the chair, pro-life MP Rachel Harder, who was appointed by conservative leader Andrew Scheer for the post. It was reported that New Democrat Sheila Malcolmson began the protest by raising concerns that "while she doesn't think having pro-life views is 'problematic' for Harder as a parliamentarian, but a committee focused on women's issues should ensure its chair and spokesperson is someone who supports reproductive rights."
 
Such a biased discriminatory view is not only shocking but is demeaning to women who as Feminists for Life believe "deserve better than abortion". Conservative MP Michelle Rempel accused Liberals of hypocrisy: "Presupposing the thoughts and ability of a democratically elected MP to be impartial simply based on political dogma, and then seeking to suppress her, is hilarious coming from supposed 'free thinking' 'feminists'."
U.S.: Ohio Considers Bills to Ban Abortion for Down Syndrome
The Ohio state legislature is considering legislation to ban abortions on babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. House Bill 214, the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act, and its companion legislation Senate Bill 164, would prohibit a person from performing or attempting to induce an abortion on a woman whose unborn child may have Down syndrome. "It's very concerning to think that some lives would be judged as less valuable than others," said Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, sponsor of the Senate version. As it is, the recommended prenatal testing is not even reliable. Babies identified with markers in utero are often born without any chromosomal abnormalities. If approved, Ohio would become the third state to ban abortion for babies with Down syndrome.
UK: Conservative MP Criticized for Voicing Pro-Life Views
A British Member of Parliament has been strongly criticized for voicing his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading member of the conservative Tory party, said in an interview, "I'm completely opposed to abortion. Life begins at the point of conception." Rees-Mogg pointed to his faith as the basis for his beliefs. "I take the teaching of the Catholic Church seriously," he said. Media and opposition were quick to label him "extreme" and his views "out of touch", however former MP Ann Widdecombe, also a practicing Catholic, told BBC Radio that his views are "nothing like as rare as you may think".
India: State Passes Two-Child Per Couple Policy
The Indian State of Assam has become the 12th state to enact a two-child population control policy. The new disturbing initiative, which was introduced by the Assam Health and Family Welfare Department, will prohibit parents with more than two children from being considered for any government job and from running for any local, municipal, or state election. Members of the Legislative Assembly could be removed from office upon the birth of a third child. Other states in India already have two-child policy limits for government employees, including Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, and Bihar. Where implemented, these policies have resulted in an increase in abortions, especially of sex-selection abortions, as women seek to remain eligible for employment.
Executive News
Canada: Provinces Begin Funding Abortion
This November, Nova Scotia will make abortion drugs available for freeThe province's government announced women will be able to receive the abortion drugs from a pharmacy with a prescription free of charge with their health card. The medication, Mifegymiso, includes Mifepristone (RU-486) and Misoprostol for abortion. Nova Scotia is anticipating spending $200,000 a year on the initiative, which includes a phone line designated to facilitating access to abortion drugs. Nova Scotia joins several other Canadian provinces including New Brunswick, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario who have also announced they will fund abortions.
 
Judicial News
UK: Court Okays Death by Starvation for Brain Damaged Patients without Prior Approval
A UK judge has ruled that food and fluids can be denied a patient in a "permanent vegetative state" without any prior approval. The ruling removes the previous requirement that the Court of Protection had to approve such requests. The case centered around a woman suffering from Huntington's disease who was bed-ridden, fed by tube and seemingly unaware. Judge Justice Jackson agreed with the family that it was in her best interest to remove sustenance and ruled that the case should not have even come before the court. Patients' rights groups fear the dangerous precedent this case sets. Dr. Peter Saunders of the Care Not Killing Alliance said, "Taking these decisions away from the court of protection removes an important layer of legislative scrutiny and accountability and effectively weakens the law." Dr. Saunders warned it will lead to the starvation and dehydration of more brain damaged patients in "their supposed best interests".
U.S.: Judge Rules Christian Churches Cover Abortions
A California judge has ruled against three Christian churches that they must provide insurance coverage for abortion for their employees. U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller was enforcing a 2014 state requirement that all employers in the state must cover abortions. The policy, enacted by the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), classified abortion as "a basic health care service", equating it with maternity care. The Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) assisted the churches with their case, arguing the policy violates their conscience rights. "California has no right to dictate what pastor or churches believe on moral and cultural issues," said Jeremiah Galus with ADF adding, "Churches should be free to serve their communities according to their religious beliefs without unjust government edicts that force them to violate those beliefs."

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

In this issue:

 
Defending Life
NGOs Fear Impact of President Trump's Global Pro-Life Policy
U.S. House Passes Ban on Abortion after 20 Weeks
U.S.: States Rejecting Assisted Suicide
 
Focus on the United Nations
Will New UN and EU Initiative to End Violence Include Abortion?
U.N. 'Experts' Call for an Official UN Day for Abortion
Pro-Abortion NGOs Call on Human Rights Council for Support

International Pressure for Abortion
IPPF Ends the Live of over 1 Million Preborn Children in 2016

Legislative News
U.S.: Ohio Considers Bills to Ban Abortion for Down Syndrome
UK: Conservative MP Criticized for Voicing Pro-Life Views
Canada: MP Opposed as Chair on Status of Women Because She Opposes Abortion
India: State Passes Two-Child Per Couple Policy
 
Executive News
Canada: Provinces Begin Funding Abortion
 
Judicial News
UK: Court Okays Death by Starvation for Brain Damaged Patients Without Prior Approval
U.S.: Judge Rules Christian Churches Cover Abortions