Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 12
No. 8
September, 2018
Focus on the UN
HRC Asked to Protect Abortionists
A coalition of over 200 pro-abortion NGOs asked the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva to take further action through all formal means to "condemn attacks on abortion rights defenders and to urgently address the human rights violations arising from the denial of comprehensive abortion care'. This includes through resolutions, decisions, dialogues, reviews and debates.
Citing September 28, "Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion", the NGOs claim that 'sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)' activists and abortion providers--labeled by the UN as women human rights defenders (WHRDs)--"often face harassment, discrimination, stigma, criminalization and physical violence" referencing an information paper on Women's Human Rights Defenders issued by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights which cites the Center for Reproductive Rights as the information source for the claims of targeting "by groups that oppose these rights."
The pro-abortion NGOs claim that laws against abortion "perpetuate these violations" and "institutionalize abortion stigma and create a hostile environment for abortion providers to carry out their work".
They tell the HRC that it is a government's obligation "to repeal or eliminate laws, policies and practices that criminalize, obstruct or undermine individual's or group's access to sexual and reproductive health facilities, services, goods and information, including restrictive abortion laws."
In closing they demand "that governments across the world respect, protect and fulfill the right of WHRDs working to ensure comprehensive abortion care and post-abortion care to do their work free from all forms of intimidation, harassment and violence from both State and non-State actors."


Focus on the African Union
African Union Seeks to Curb Actions against African Values
The Executive Council of the African Union issued its decision on a report on actions of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR).
In the decision, the African Union acts to curb the actions of the ACHPR that it is concerned are not advancing "African values and traditions". The ACHPR is a treaty monitoring body for the African Union but as is the case with similar treaty bodies at the United Nations and Organization of American States it has been issuing controversial recommendations on abortion and other issues, often prepared with the assistance of activists NGOs. Among the treaties under its review is the Maputo Protocol with a limited 'right to abortion'.
The ACHPR was reminded by the African Union that its independence is of a "functional nature" and it is not to act independent from the "same organs that created the body". The African Union cautioned the ACHPR on its tendency to act "as an appellate body, thereby undermining national legal systems" and reminded it that it primarily serves "as an audit mechanism". The ACHPR was instructed that its work must take into consideration "the virtues of historical tradition and the values of African civilization which should inspire and characterize their reflection on the concept of human and peoples' rights."
Respect for African values was also behind the instruction to revise the criteria for granting and withdrawing observer status for NGOs which should take into account African values and traditions and the ACHPR was told to develop "clear Guidelines with regards to its engagement with external actors".The ACHPR was asked to report on the implementation of the decision at the February 2019 Summit.
Read more here.


International Pressure for Abortion
September 28: #LetsTalkAbortion
Pro-abortion organizations again used September 28 "Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion", to agitate for access to abortion around the world. The day has been used by abortion activists to protest pro-life laws and stage events since 1990. Sample tweets:
#LetsTalkAbortion "because it is health care, a social good and a human right!"
"No more smokescreens, no more labels, no more codes!" #LetsTalkAbortion
"Let's be deliberate and use the word abortion in our advocacy as what it is: a social good and a human right. Let's not shy away" #LetsTalkAbortion
No pro-abortion action would be complete without an attack on President Trump's pro-life policies as seen in the tweet by the NARAL Pro-Choice America:
NARAL Sep 28
This International #SafeAbortion Day, abortion rights everywhere are under attack. Not only has Trump cut off safe abortion access across the globe with the #GlobalGagRule- he wants Brett Kavanaugh on SCOTUS so they can criminalize abortion here at home. #StopKavanaugh #Sept28
Ireland: President Signs New Pro-Abortion Constitution into Law
Ireland's constitutional protection for the unborn has officially ended after Irish President Michael Higgins signed a bill repealing the Eighth Amendment into law. The constitution now includes an amendment that states, "Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy." The enactment of the law will usher in legalized abortion in the country, which a majority of citizens voted for this past May. The parliament appears ready to move forward quickly with legislation expected in early October to permit abortion on demand in the first trimester. Ireland's Taoiseach and Health Minister have both said abortion services would be available in early 2019. In the interim, the current laws banning abortions will remain in place.
Latest Attack on US Pro-Life Foreign Policy
Guttmacher has published a policy analysis that is extremely critical of President Trump's Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy: 'A Time to Lead: A Roadmap for Progress on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Worldwide.'
The analysis builds on the joint Guttmacher-Lancet Commission's report issued in May 'Accelerate progress-sexual and reproductive health and rights for all: report of the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission'that seeks to advance access to abortion and the entire 'SRHR agenda' and includes a "new visionary definition" that "defines sexual and reproductive health and rights in a bold new way". The intention of the new definition is to offer "a comprehensive and universal framework to guide governments, UN agencies, civil society and oth­ers in designing policies, services and programs that address all aspects of sexual and reproductive health and rights effectively and equitably."
According to the analysis, the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission presents a package of essential sexual and reproductive health interventions that "includes often-overlooked or politicized components-such as abortion, infertility services, comprehensive sexuality education and gender-based violence interventions-that are also critical to ensuring sexual and reproductive health and well-being."
President Trump's pro-life policies are the subject of harsh criticism and the policies to protect women and children from the violence of abortion are called "harmful policies and ideologically motivated agenda of the Trump administration to obstruct health and rights advancements globally".
The analysis finds fault with the US Congress for its actions to limit "access to abortion care globally through a funding restriction known as the Helms Amendment" and for not combining funding for population control and reproductive health assistance with HIV prevention and treatment funding under PEPFAR. (The U.S. is the world's largest contributor to global HIV/AIDS relief efforts, committing more than $6.6 billion annually to bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and NIH international HIV research; funding which is subject to the 'no abortion performance or promotion policy'.)
The US State Department is criticized for stopping the Obama era inclusion of 'reproductive rights' in the annual Human Rights Reports and for what it describes as the "United States' retraction from leading efforts to elevate sexual and repro­ductive health and rights within global human rights frameworks".
The motive of the Commission's work is to promote the radical agenda that was first introduced at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) as the 25th anniversary of ICPD approaches in 2019. It bemoans that although "ICPD broke new ground, subsequent United Nations (UN) agreements-including the UN's current development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals-have fallen short".
The Commission seeks commitment for a "bold agenda to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights."
Defending Life
Finland: Pro-Life Minister Wins Vote of "No Confidence"
Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini is pro-life and not afraid to express his opinion opposing the violence of abortion. Four lawmakers decided to punish him for his pro-life views by calling for a 'no confidence vote' following Soini's participation in a pro-life vigil in Canada, comments criticizing Ireland's referendum vote for abortion, and applauding Argentina for upholding its pro-life protections. However, the ploy was foiled and the steadfast legislator won the confidence vote100 lawmakers voted to reject the no-confidence motion while 60 expressed their lack of confidence in Soini. The Finnish government has a strong position in favor of abortion, but as Soini points out, his personal beliefs do not impede his duties as foreign minister. "Sometimes you have to have the courage to be a one-man majority," said Soini.
Legislative News
UK: Labour Members Say Ban Prenatal Testing for Sex Determination
Members of the Labour party have called for a ban on early testing that identifies the unborn baby's sex amid concerns it leads to sex selection abortion of preborn girls. The Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) is used by the National Health System (NHS) for genetic testing early in a pregnancy. The test also identifies the unborn baby's sex, and a number of private clinics offer the test for sex determination. Labour MP Naz Shah, a shadow women and equalities minister, noted the son preference practices of some South Asian communities and said it puts a great strain on women. "The government needs to look into this exploitative practice and enforce appropriate restrictions," said Shah.
Labour MP Tan Dhesi called for a ban on the marketing of such services, referencing the progress some South Asian countries have made to combat sex selection abortion. "That's been primarily through legislation, banning gender determination clinics. In the UK I think we need to be doing likewise, with regards to the private sector as well," said Dhesi. The Department of Health said it is looking into the evidence.
Guatemala: Committee Shuts Down Abortion Provisions
Guatemala's Congressional Women's Commission rejected language that would have permitted abortion for rape victims under the age of 14 and for technical and religious grounds. The clause was included in a bill entitled 'Comprehensive Protection, Access to Justice, and Reparation for Children and Adolescents Victims of Sexual Violence, Exploitation, and Trafficking.' Led by Committee chair Anibal Rojas, the committee's pro-life majority would not support the bill. The move was also strongly opposed by citizens as evidenced by a march of 20,000 people from Catholic and Evangelical churches in support of "life and the family". Rojas told the Congress, "There were thousands of people who protested against abortion and this law discusses that issue. We express our total opposition. In Guatemala, we cannot afford any practice of abortion".


India: MPs Call for Two-Child Policy
Indian lawmakers are calling for President Ram Nath Kovind to institute a two-child policy due to concerns of 'overpopulation'. Nearly 125 MPs signed a petition that urges a law to prohibit Indian couples from having more than two children, with penalties for those who have more children. Last month, lawmakers in both houses called for a population control program and pointed to China's one-child policy as an example of a population control program. "India should not repeat China's mistakes," said Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. "People are the ultimate resource - the one resource you cannot do without - as China is belatedly discovering after having eliminated 400 million from their own now aging and dying population."


Executive News
UK: Secretary Rejects Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones
The UK's Home Secretary Sajid Javid has rejected calls to institute buffer zones around abortion clinics after finding that the majority of protests are "passive in nature". The Secretary issued the decision after a review of charges of harassment and evidence of the behavior of protestors. "Having considered the evidence of the review, I have therefore reached the conclusion that introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature," said Jarvis. The Home Office explained that the issue would remain under the jurisdiction of the local councils.
Ireland: Former Taoiseach Laments Abortion of Unborn Girls
The former Taoiseach of Ireland criticized legislative plans to legalize abortion in Ireland following the national referendum. Speaking at a pro-life dinner, John Bruton questioned the proposals being suggested for Ireland's new abortion law. He cautioned that the proposed law would target physicians who wish to exercise their conscience rights. Reflecting on the Health Secretary Simon Harris' recent remarks about the referendum 'consigning a misogynistic legacy to the history books', Bruton countered, "He did not seem to reflect on the fact that half the babies whose lives will be ended before birth will be girls. Those little girls will face the most extreme form of misogyny." Bruton stressed the need to "work vigilantly at legislative level" as the new proposals come before parliament.

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

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