Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 13
No. 4
April, 2019
 
Focus on the United Nations
U.S. Maligned at UN over Concern for Unborn in Conflict Zones
During debate on a U.N. Security Council resolution on sexual violence in conflict- S/RES/2467 -sponsored by Germany, the U.S. held to its Protecting Life in Global Assistance Policy and insisted that the term "sexual and reproductive health" be eliminated from the text owing to its interpretation by many in the U.N. system to include access to abortion.  The final text with elimination of- "need for U.N. bodies and donors to give timely 'sexual and reproductive health' assistance to survivors of sexual violence in conflict"- was approved by the Security Council with 13 affirmative votes, including the U.S., with Russia and China abstaining.
 
The U.S. was maligned and heavily criticized by left-leaning news outlets. According to official UN news coverage, a number of pro-abortion countries expressed disappointment with the U.S. insistence on elimination of the controversial term. The Minister for State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations of the United Kingdom, Tariq Ahmad, expressed "regret" that the "draft resolution does not include proposed language on providing victims with health services - including sexual and reproductive health care and the safe termination of pregnancy..."  Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, and South Africa also expressed opposition to removal of the term.
 
According to the news article "Team Trump didn't try to stop UN from cracking down on wartime rapists," an accurate depiction of what transpired begins with the fact that Germany as the current rotating chair of the Security Council introduced the long draft resolution without first consulting the U.S. The article explains, "The draft raised several red flags for the Americans. For starters, it contained provisions to which the US and several other member states objected, such as calling on the UN to provide 'comprehensive health services, including sexual and reproductive health'. Such language has often been used to promote abortion worldwide - something American law prohibits the US government from doing."
 
The reporter described his investigation, "Then, too, as one senior diplomat from a different country told me, 'extreme cases' - here, war crimes - 'always make for bad law.' France, Germany and other European Union countries, he said, are using wartime rape to 'normalize abortion rights as the standard of care' in all circumstances."
 
"The European Union countries consistently push 'the same agenda on everyone else', this diplomat said, namely contraception, abortion and comprehensive sexual education."
 
The article further explains that "Resolutions at the Security Council gain the force of law" and "permitting the Germans to pass their original draft resolution at the council would have codified into ­international law opinions about abortion, gender and sexuality that run contrary to the sense of right and wrong shared by people across ­Africa, Asia and Latin America. Not to mention many Americans."
 
Resolution 2467 follows resolution 2106, passed in 2013, on the same topic which included 'reproductive health' and which now is being claimed by abortion activists takes precedence over the newly passed resolution because it included the controversial abortion promoting language.  
 
U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Géraldine Boezio stated"Resolution 2467 ... re-enforces and works in tandem with the previous resolutions of the Security Council, including resolution 2106 (2013) that calls for comprehensive health care, including the essential reproductive health services that are the right of the thousands of victims who are brutally raped by armed forces and groups in conflicts all around the world."
 
Read more here.
International Pressure for Abortion
South Korea: Court, with UN Prodding, Seeks Legalized Abortion
The Constitution Court in South Korea ruled that the 1953 ban on abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or risk to health, must be changed by the National Assembly by December 2020 to partially allow access to abortion in the first trimester in a challenge brought by female doctor prosecuted for performing 70 illegal abortions over a four-year time period.
 
According to a news report,the ruling by the nine justice panel "will mean the end of longstanding but little enforced criminal laws under which abortion was punishable by up to a year in prison for women who undergo the procedure, and up to two years for medical providers. Seven of nine justices found the law inconsistent with the constitution, saying it 'violates a pregnant woman's right to self determination."
 
The panel ruled that if the National Assembly fails to act the current law would be repealed. There is no judicial appeal process and current restrictions and regulations on abortion will remain in effect until they are replaced or repealed.
 
"The abortion ban limits women's rights to pursue their own destinies, and violates their rights to health by limiting their access to safe and timely procedures," the court said in a statement.
 
"Embryos completely depend on the mother's body for their survival and development, so it cannot be concluded that they are separate, independent living beings entitled to the right to life."
 
Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul responded to the decision through his Easter message stating, "A nation has a responsibility to protect its people's lives and safety under any circumstances. Every life, from the moment of conception, should be protected as a human being and secured with its dignity."
 
Members of the United Nations Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice (WGDAW)--"an independent expert mechanism, known as Special Procedures of the  United Nations Human Rights Council"--interjected itself in the case by filing an amicus briefReview of the constitutionality of the country's criminal law on abortion (case 2017Hun-Ba127). The WGDAW submission urged the legalization of abortion on the grounds of non-discrimination and equality for women.  
 
The submission to the Court was laden with pro-abortion arguments, propaganda, and hyperbole including this falsehood on the legalization of abortion in "economically more developed countries": "This liberalization reflects the understanding that personhood is not established until birth. Under international human rights law, human rights are accorded to those who have been born."
 
The group referenced observations issued to South Korea from two treaty monitoring bodies, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) stating, "Specifically, the Republic of Korea has been requested by treaty monitoring bodies to decriminalize abortion, remove punitive measures for women who undergo abortion and provide women with access to high-quality post-abortion care." The CESCR also called on South Korea to "ensure that sexual and reproductive health services are made available and accessible to all."
 
The WGDAW concluded, "....women's access to safe legal termination of pregnancy is a matter of women's human rights, including the rights to equality, to dignity, autonomy, bodily integrity and respect for private life and the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health, without discrimination. Under international human rights law, the State has a legal obligation to take appropriate measures to ensure the respect, protection and fulfilment of these rights."
 
"Criminalization of behaviour that is attributed only to women is discriminatory per se and generates and perpetuates stigma. The State has an immediate obligation to repeal laws and reverse policies which discriminate against women. This includes laws that restrict, prohibit or criminalize termination of pregnancy and procedural barriers that restrict access to safe health services. The elimination of discrimination against women in the area of reproductive and sexual health and rights is essential for their enjoyment of rights in other fields. The primacy of women's right to equality should apply in all areas of life and prevail over other considerations."
 
Not surprisingly, pro-abortion entities Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International Asia were actively engaged in South Korea.  Human Rights Watch's women's rights director stating, "Decisions about abortion belong to a pregnant woman, without penalty or interference by the government or anyone else."

 

Defending Life
Kenya: Appeals to Government over Pro-Life Billboards
Headlines from Kenya label pro-abortion NGOs including global abortion promoters Center for Reproductive Rights, Ipas- Health Access Rights, and Women's Link Worldwide as members of "health lobbies" in Kenya who are opposed to pro-life billboards- Health lobbies condemn anti-abortion billboards.
 
The NGOs object to the billboards, which they want the governor to ban, claiming they "portray abortion as murder and argue such blanket condemnation may lead to violation of women's reproductive health rights." The group's statement about the billboards erected in parts of Nairobi includes, "We ...condemn the billboards in question and the message contained in them for seeking to shame women without providing the necessary context and public health reality of what these services provide; and for seeking to shame women without acknowledging that even in a restrictive legal framework abortion is a health service."
 
The groups are using the opportunity to demand that the government ensures that there is "an environment that allows women to access abortion services by enacting and implementing laws and guidelines that will provide clarity to health providers and women and girls on when to offer abortion services." In addition, they are seeking for the government to "proactively disseminate accurate information on abortion and access to abortion services to the public and address abortion stigma by engaging communities, including through faith-based organisations."
 
The billboards sponsor--Sozo Church of God-- was notified that the governor of ordered the billboards to be taken down; it plans to seek a court injunction.
 
According to CitizenGo, "A handful of pro-abortion activists have demanded that pro-life billboards running in the streets of Nairobi County be pulled down.  Sponsored by the Nairobi-based Sozo Church of God, 13 billboards and posters near traffic lights and on electricity poles along Nairobi's main roads state "Abortion is Murder!" or "Shut down abortion clinics!" under a picture of a pre-born baby. Another has a beautiful message that reads:-"Your mother gave you a chance, it wasn't easy then too. Give your baby a chance!"
 
"The billboards which encourage women to keep their babies as opposed to killing them through abortions are now at the risk of being pulled down. Speaking to CitizenGO Africa representative, Reverend Catherine Oganga who is in charge of the billboards project expressed her fears as now the advertising company wants to pull out from running the billboards."
 
CitizenGo's petition to the Governor of Nairobi and to the advertising company can be found here.
Legislative News
K: British Parliamentary Committee Recommends Bypassing Northern Ireland's Pro-Life Protections
The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has called for the British Parliament to overrule Northern Ireland's sovereign law and legalize abortion. Currently, abortion is prohibited in Northern Ireland except in cases of the life and health of the mother. The committee's report urges the UK to provide a "clear framework and timeline" for Northern Ireland to "address human rights concerns raised by a UN committee". Pro-life groups protested the report's recommendation. "The issue of abortion law in Northern Ireland should be decided by the people of Northern Ireland through their elected representatives and not by MPs sitting on a Westminster Committee," said Nola Leach, chief executive of Christian Action Research and Education (CARE).
Executive News
US: HHS Issues Conscience Rule to Protect Healthcare Personnel
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) finalized a rule protecting the conscience rights of employees in HHS funded programs. The rule ensures that healthcare providers and personnel are not forced to participate in, provide, pay for or refer for services such as abortion, sterilization or euthanasia. It applies to 25 statutory civil rights protections effecting those involved in HHS programs that receive federal funding. "Finally, laws prohibiting government funded discrimination against conscience and religious freedom will be enforced like every other civil rights law." said OCR Director Roger Severino. "This rule ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won't be bullied out of the health care field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life. Protecting conscience and religious freedom not only fosters greater diversity in healthcare, it's the law," said Severino.
Ohio: Governor Signs Heartbeat Bill Into Law
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act, Senate Bill 23, into law. The Heartbeat Bill, which was passed by the State's House and Senate the same week, will ban abortions after the point when a heartbeat is detected, about six weeks' gestation. "The signing of this bill today is consistent with that respect for life and the imperative to protect those who cannot protect themselves," said Governor DeWine. Abortion supporters plan to challenge the new law in court.  
Netherlands: New Law Permits Mothers to Register Aborted Babies
new Dutch law is allowing women to register their aborted babies as persons. The new policy, the result of a petition signed by 82,000 people, was instituted to recognize the existence and value of stillborn children and to assist parents in the grieving process. A young woman named Yara who regretted her abortion also thought it would help her and she registered her aborted child under the new law, an unforeseen application of the policy. Yara received condolences for her loss and a birth certificate for her child from city officials. Don Ceder, a Dutch lawyer who assisted Yara, spoke of the significance of the new law for women who utilize it. "This is all about recognition and value, for their grief and for the child they've carried with them. For me personally it also raised the question: But what does this mean for the way we look at unborn life, including those who were aborted?"said Ceder. 
 
Yara's action has triggered a new conversation about the value of life. Kees van Helden of the pro-life group Cry for Life agreed with the law is an important step for women healing from abortion. "The fact that a woman can now register her aborted child as a person, with a name and a date of birth, should force our government, and perhaps other governments as well, to re-examine the abortion laws. Because according to what is now their own logic, our societies are killing human beings," said van Helden.
Issues
Study Finds Sex-Selective Abortion Responsible for 23 Million Missing Girls
A large international study has found that sex-selective abortion is responsible for 23 million missing girls. The study, led by Fengqing Chao with the National University of Singapore, analyzed the birth data of 202 countries from 1970 to 2017. Based on the normal rate of births of 103-107 male births to 100 female births, they discovered elevated levels of male births in the countries of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Montenegro, Taiwan, Tunisia and Vietnam. The trend in more recent years appears to be leveling off except in Vietnam and India, which itself accounts for 46 percent of the missing girls itself. According to Sabu George of the Centre for Women's Development Studies in New Delhi, curbing the rate of sex selective abortion in India is critical to reducing the rate worldwide.

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

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