Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 14
No. 1
February, 2020
 
US: Pro-Life Strong
US: Pro-Life Strong 47 Years After Legalization of Abortion on Demand
Forty-seven years after legal access to abortion throughout pregnancy was imposed on the United States by the Supreme Court, and after the loss of over 60 million preborn children, unprecedented pro-life wins are taking place on the federal, state and international levels to protect women and preborn children from the violence of abortion. There is agreement from both pro-life and pro-abortion advocates that efforts to protect life beginning at its most vulnerable stage-in the womb-are advancing at all levels of government.
 
President Trump and the Trump administration have made changes in policy to advance respect for the dignity of life beginning at conception both in the US and internationally raising the fears of pro-abortion activists, especially concerned at the loss of foreign assistance funds to organizations that promote or perform abortion as a method of family planning and work in population control and health fields.
 
March for Life
Thousands of pro-lifers marched in Washington, D.C. for the 47th annual March for Life this January under the theme "Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman". For the first time, they were joined by the sitting president of the United States. "Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House," said President Donald Trump, who told the crowd he was proud to stand with them. "Young people are the heart of the March for Life, and it's your generation that is making America the pro-family, pro-life nation. The pro-life movement is led by strong women, amazing faith leaders, and brave students that carry on the legacy of the pioneers before us," said President Trump.
 
The president's words reached Archbishop Emeritus Héctor Aguer of La Plata, Argentina, who praised President Trump for his appearance at the 2020 March for Life and for his "magnificent speech, a commitment, an extraordinary defense of life" in a video to Argentines in which he encouraged them to fight efforts to decriminalize abortion in Argentina and to march in defense of life.
 
President Trump in his State of the Union address reminded everyone that "every child is a miracle of life" after introducing 2 year-old Ellie who was born at just 21 weeks, 6 days and weighing less than a pound. He applauded new medical breakthroughs that are enabling babies born prematurely to survive and stated that the goal should be to ensure that "every baby has the best chance to thrive and grow just like Ellie" and requested Congress to "provide an additional $50 million to fund neo-natal research for America's youngest patients."
 
He also called upon Members of Congress "to pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies" and said, "Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God!"
 
In his Proclamation on National Sanctity of Human Life Day, January 22, the anniversary of the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision, President Trump stated, "Every person - the born and unborn, the poor, the downcast, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly - has inherent value." His commitment to the protection of life and his gratefulness to all those who defend the precious gift of life were highlighted in the Proclamation:
 
"As a Nation, we must remain steadfastly dedicated to the profound truth that all life is a gift from God, who endows every person with immeasurable worth and potential. Countless Americans are tireless defenders of life and champions for the vulnerable among us. We are grateful for those who support women experiencing unexpected pregnancies, those who provide healing to women who have had abortions, and those who welcome children into their homes through foster care and adoption. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we celebrate the wonderful gift of life and renew our resolve to build a culture where life is always revered."
 
In the closing words of the Proclamation, President Trump called upon Congress to join him in "protecting and defending the dignity of every human life, including those not yet born". 
 
The Trump Administration has been actively advancing life-affirming policies and initiatives including conscience protection laws and restricting domestic family planning funding to organizations that "perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning."
 
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recently reiterated that there is an "international right to life" but "no international right to abortion" in a private meeting with representatives of 35 like-minded countries. He acknowledged the relentless international abortion lobbying that operates in the halls of the United Nations and the WHO (World Health Organization) which seeks to normalize the terms 'sexual and reproductive health' and 'reproductive rights'.
 
He asked the diplomats in attendance, "What reproductive rights are they talking about? In this context, it is increasingly becoming clear that some U.N. agencies and countries want this to mean unfettered access to abortion, and we cannot let this threat go unanswered."
 
Secretary Azar stated that President Donald Trump "has been clear, at the U.N. and on the world stage: Health care exists to improve health and preserve human life - the universal goal we all share."
 
The president of the International Women's Health Coalition, one of the loudest pro-abortion activist groups which consistently criticizes pro-life actions by the administration, addressed the tremendous impact that the Trump administration is having. She said, "For better or worse, the US has an outsize impact on how the rest of the world addresses issues ranging from climate action and foreign aid to diplomacy and human rights." The organization promotes abortion as a so-called "human right".
 
US Congress
No changes to laws and policies on abortion have taken place in Congress, including efforts by a number of Democrats in the House to overturn the Hyde Amendment restricting Medicaid funding for abortion. A promise to veto any bill that reaches his desk that removes or weakens pro-life policy was issued by President Trump and has acted as a deterrent. The result is the continuation of pro-life policies maintained as "pro-life riders" to funding bills.
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a recent hearing entitled "The Infant Patient: Ensuring Appropriate Medical Care for Children Born Alive" chaired by U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, who re-introduced the bipartisan Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.  
In his opening remarks, Sen. Sasse stated: "This hearing is about making sure that every newborn baby has a fighting chance - whether she's born in a labor and delivery ward or she's born in an abortion clinic...That's all it does. It makes sure that a baby that is born alive during a botched abortion would be given the same level of medical care that would be provided to any other baby at that same gestational stage. I think we need to underscore this because we're probably going to hear lots of things surrounding the hearing that are about other topics."
Witness testimonies are available on this site. Videos of senators and witnesses can be viewed here
PNCI notes that medical advances have now made it possible for some babies born at 22 weeks to survive providing they receive the right medical treatment and care. The British Association of Perinatal Medicine updated its guidance based on evidence of babies who survived premature birth at 22 weeks according to the BBC's "Babies born at 22 weeks 'can now survive'". 
House Pro-Life Caucus co-chair, Rep Chris Smith, addressed the March for Life with a message to "Be Encouraged". His remarks included, "Several pro-abortion legislative assaults on life were stopped in Congress last month by the skill, determination and commitment of pro-life lawmakers backed by the ironclad promise of a presidential veto".  
 
"We're making progress. Be encouraged I say again, be encouraged." Rep Smith also addressed the pro-life movement in an opinion editorial, "Violence and inhumanity of abortion requires that we speak outin which he explained the failure of the Democrat controlled House to allow votes on bills related to late-term abortion:
 
"Federal legislation cosponsored by more than 190 Members of Congress to rescue children born alive during later-term abortions has been denied even a vote in the House of Representatives." Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
 
"Federal legislation cosponsored by more than 170 members of Congress to protect unborn children from the pain and agony of dismemberment at 20 weeks gestation remains bottled up in the Judiciary Committee." Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
 
Smith wrote, "The pro-life struggle is not only on the side of human rights, responsible medicine, compassion, justice and inclusion, but is on the right side of history as well." 
 
"Someday, future generations will look back on the United States and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with education, advanced science, information, wealth and opportunity could have systematically enabled the death of millions of children."  
 
The March for Life - and the selfless pro-lifers who daily struggle for justice - will be remembered as an amazing outpouring of love and compassion for the "least of these" - a group of children who by reason of their age, sex, condition of dependency and disability cannot defend themselves." 
 
States a Battleground for Abortion Laws
2019 was an encouraging legislative year for pro-life policies. 59 pro-life protections were passed by states, including state bans on abortion, heartbeat laws, conscience protections, and late-term abortion bans, among others. Abortion clinics across the country have closed, sparking outrage from abortion activists, who have labeled 27 major U.S. cities as "abortion deserts", (lacking a clinic within 100 miles), and lament that 6 states have 1 remaining abortion clinic.
 
While a step in the right direction, several pro-life laws have been blocked by the courts and await judicial review. Further, abortion supporters remain strong and proponents are actively focusing on the state legislatures. Last year, several states passed legislation to further increase access to abortion, including laws permitting abortion up to the moment of birth.
 
One pro-abortion news report declared"There's no denying it-2019 was a bleak year for reproductive rights. Nine states passed bills restricting abortion access. Alabama voted to ban abortions almost entirely, with states like Georgia, Kentucky, and Ohio prohibiting abortions from taking place after the first six weeks. The federal government, meanwhile, gave millions in Title X family planning funding to anti-abortion clinics, spurred on by the president's use of strong anti-abortion rhetoric."
 
US Supreme Court
The Supreme Court will have its first hearing of an abortion case since President Trump appointed two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. In March, the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the June Medical Services v. Gee - a case that focuses on a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges for emergency cases. The Louisiana law was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
 
Over 200 Members of Congress signed an amicus brief for the case. The 39 Senators and 168 House representatives requested the court to reconsider the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision in light that "it remains a radically unsettled precedent". The pro-life lawmakers write that the "right to abortion" is not workable and "the need for the Court to take up the issue of whether Roe and [Planned Parenthood v. Casey] should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled."
 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that an amicus brief was filed by pro-abortion members of Congress in which they urged the Supreme Court to uphold the current legal status of abortion and strike down state laws that seek to protect women and children from the violence of abortion. The brief stated, "The Supreme Court's long-standing precedents recognizing women's reproductive rights under the Constitution cannot be defied by states creating obstacles under false pretenses to push those rights out of reach."
 
"Anti-choice activists are doing everything they can to eliminate American women's ability to make their own healthcare decisions.  If the Supreme Court upholds Louisiana's Act 620, it will legitimize efforts to pass laws that create significant burdens for women seeking abortions even when those laws provide no medical benefit," said Senator Schumer.  
 
Planned Parenthood's Acting President Alexis McGill Johnson reacted to the upcoming case: "We're already living in a world where there are abortion deserts, where it's difficult to access. When you layer on this case, which, if it doesn't overturn Roe will have the impact of ... effectively gutting Roe, the work that we have to do is really push back," she said.
Johnson advised to expect "more of the same" in 2020: "We expect to see more of the targeted restrictions against abortion providers, limiting their ability to provide access to services or we will see more intense scrutiny and burdens put, placed ... on the person seeking the abortion."
Defending Life
Ireland: Pro-Life Lawmakers Re-elected
All 15 legislators in Ireland who voted against legalizing abortion were re-elected to the Dáil Éireann despite media predictions that many would be defeated. In addition, according to Pro-Life Campaign,"It is important to mention that other candidates were also elected who are solidly pro-life. Together, they have shown the leadership of the main political parties that the electorate appreciate people who stick to their principles and don't waver under pressure."

The targeted attacks on the pro-life lawmakers were explained by Niamh Uí Bhriain who stated, "Almost all of them faced continued, targeted abuse on social media from abortion campaigners who, despite having won the referendum, wanted to punish anyone who stood up for their principles or refused to compromise their beliefs.
 
"It is clear that this vindictive mindset was not shared by the electorate. For many voters, abortion is not really an issue to the forefront of their mind at election time when concerns such as health and housing are paramount, but its also clear that opposing abortion as a matter of conscience doesn't seem to lose candidates votes.
 
"When the abortion bill was going through the Dáíl many of these TDs continued to speak courageously and with great dignity against the abortion bill and for pro-life amendments that might have helped to support women or bring preborn babies pain relief or some measure of dignity.
 
"Their principled stance, putting real compassion before political expediency won them the admiration of pro-life voters everywhere."
 
These words can easily apply to other countries, especially to the US where pro-life Members of Congress are continually vilified on social media for seeking to protect unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion.
 
PNCI congratulates and applauds the fifteen Irish pro-life legislators for their re-election and consistent stand for life: Mary Butler, Seán Canney, Michael Collins, Michael Fitzmaurice, Peter Fitzpatrick, Noel Grealish, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Michael Lowry, Marc Mac Sharry, Mattie McGrath, John McGuinness, Carol Nolan, Eamon O'Cuiv, and Peadar Tóibín.
Focus on the United Nations
UN Women: Advancing Abortion in the Name of Equality
UN Women has been organizing events and initiatives to mark the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where despite intense pressure from the US delegation, led by then First Lady Hillary Clinton, abortion was not recognized as a so-called international human right in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995. UN Women is now working to go beyond Beijing in promotion of unfettered access to abortion.
 
It has established a Generation Equality Forum, along with Mexico and France as co-sponsors, and announced the designation of six action areas it believes are needed to achieve equality including access to abortion under "Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)".
 
This action area appears to be a direct attempt to advance the pro-abortion extremism that has continually been rejected during negotiated UN meetings. A look at the decision making body for the Generation Equality Forum, known as the Core Group, and its advisory board, removes any doubt about the abortion nature of the Forum. One of the five members of the Core Group is the Director of Advocacy and Policy for International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC), an organization that works "to expand the availability and quality of safe abortion services as part of comprehensive reproductive health policies and programs".
 
Members of the Civil Society Advisory Group which assist the Core Group to ensure "that civil society's priorities are reflected in the Forum's outcomes" contains representatives of leading pro-abortion organizations such as Ipas, ARROW, AWID, and FEMNET. The description for the Senior Policy Advisor from Ipas who is a member of the Advisory Group states that she "focuses her advocacy and energy into advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, including and especially the right for every women and girl to access safe abortion care, regardless of her circumstance."
 
news article in All Africa not only confirmed that the expression "bodily autonomy" refers to abortion but it revealed the strategy to use the Equality Forum to advance the SRHR agenda. In the report, Purnima Mane, a former UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), lamented what she called "inadequate progress and sometimes downright rollback of women's right to exercise bodily autonomy through the right to abortion".
 
She acknowledged that the UN has been limited in its work on abortion because abortion is not included in human rights treaties which she said was as a result of significant opposition from many quarters, including the work of the United States. She stated what pro-life advocates know to be true, "Besides, these treaties are not legally binding and some countries specifically see these issues as covered by domestic law." However, she explained that the UN often provides platforms to integrate women's rights more broadly, including the "right to bodily autonomy" which can be seen in this latest effort by UN Women leading up to CSW64.
 
The Equality Forum is scheduled to meet in Mexico City, May 7-8, 2020, and to culminate in Paris, July 7-10, 2020. NGOS, including IPPF, Marie Stopes International, EngenderHealth, Center for Reproductive Rights, PAI, European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YouAct), and Women Deliver have written a letter to French President Macron asking him to have France take a leadership role in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights at the Generation Equality Forum and at the United Nations.
 
Read more here.
International Pressure for Abortion
Ipas: Promoting Access to Abortion in Kenya and Nigeria
The president of US-based pro-abortion NGO  Ipas, Anu Kumar, recently explained that the organization's global goals for 2020 include seeking to change abortion laws; increasing access to chemical abortion- including do-it-yourself abortion with pills or in Ipas' words "self-managed abortion"-; working for gender equity; and reducing abortion stigma. In Kenya, Ipas is working to enable self-induced abortion as explained by Ipas Africa Alliance Program Director Ernest Nyamato who said,"We are in the process of redefining what is a provider in the context of medical abortion self-care." According to Ipas, in addition to traditional health-care providers, the definition of abortion provider that it is seeking would also include "informed individuals-like intermediaries-or the girl or woman herself."
 
During a recent visit to Kenya, Ipas' president Kumar met with religious leaders from Pentecostal, Baptist, Anglican and Church of God churches to discuss how to end "abortion stigma". She said that she left Kenya "feeling hopeful about the progress being made in communities where real social change occurs" while abortion continues "to be embroiled in controversy at the political level".
 
In Nigeria, Ipas held a three day workshop during which the interim country director of Ipas, Lucky Palmer, questioned why Nigeria signs international and regional treaties that he claims it will not keep citing the Maputo Protocol and stated, "There is a need for review of the restrictive abortion laws due to the human rights implications of unsafe abortion."

 

Doctors Without Borders Provides Online Abortion Instructions
On the anniversary of the enactment of President Trump's Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, Doctors Without Borders- an international medical organization working in humanitarian settings- launched a new online "course" for chemical abortion via abortion-inducing pills. According to a news report, the course "takes under an hour to complete. It consists of five lessons, available in five languages, that cover abortion with pills - which can be used for pregnancies of up to 22 weeks - and the standards of practice through each stage of abortion care provision."
 
Doctors Without Borders' representative states"Having an abortion doesn't necessarily mean going through a surgery or a medical procedure anymore. An abortion can be provided safely with pills... a combination of pills is taken that causes the uterus to contract and push out the pregnancy in a process that is similar to miscarriage...An abortion with pills is relatively simple to provide - even in the most remote and low-resource settings."
 
At the same time, the organization is running Facebook ads requesting donations so it can "purchase medication to prevent and treat fatal bleeding" following childbirth. The leading medication for treatment and prevention of post partum hemorrhage is misoprostol which is also the leading medication to contract the uterus and expel the preborn child from the womb. In another Facebook ad it requests financial support to "provide the medical care new mothers need to stay healthy and safe as they bring a new life into the world"- life-affirming work that contrasts starkly with providing on-line instruction on how to end the life of an unborn child up to 22 weeks of pregnancy not to mention the consequences to the life and health of the mother. 22 weeks of pregnancy has become the point of viability at which premature babies can survive with the right treatment and care according to the British Association of Perinatal Medicine
FIGO Advancing Abortion in Ten African Countries, Panama and Peru
The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) is supporting Member Societies in Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, Uganda and Zambia in efforts to increase access to abortion.
 
FIGO reports that new research in these countries reveals the 'challenges and opportunities' and report laments pro-life advocacy in the countries and the Trump administration' s global pro-life health policy. It states, "In some countries opposing actors were powerful, with the capacity to mobilize public opposition, while pro safe abortion actors were not always outspoken or unified. Respondents in Benin, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Panama, and Peru mentioned that international political developments also influenced local politics. The reinstatement of the global gag rule for example had not only enforced the fear of losing United States funding, but also strengthened the opposing actors."
 
The research focused on widely-held beliefs that abortion is morally wrong which FIGO labeled "stigma around abortion" acknowledging that it "is a global phenomenon and was mentioned to be present in all countries at the individual, community, organizational, and political level, including among healthcare providers..."
 
FIGO continued, "Stigma was sometimes described as a stronger barrier to safe abortion care than the legal and political context. The social construction of stigma varied across countries, though it was generally based on social and gender perceptions, underscored by cultural and religious norms."
 
"Abortion stigma remains a common and crosscutting issue and is present at all levels from individual to community and national level. The various views and barriers to constructively discuss abortion among their members affects the potential role of ObGyn societies in safe abortion advocacy, as they often struggle to raise an institutional voice on abortion."
 
FIGO recommends that all its 132 national member organizations work to counter "the stigma of abortion" and first hold an internal discussion on how to work to advance access to abortion and how to interact with civil society, other medical bodies and the political environment.
 
In the ten targeted countries, FIGO believes that ob-gyn member associations in these countries who have strong research skills and "experience engaging as technical advisors on safe abortion" who could help develop national abortion guidelines. FIGO will support the 10 National Member Societies until 2022.
European Funding for Abortion, Fears over US Pro-Life Administration
New analysis by a consortium of European pro-abortion organizations known as Countdown 2030 Europe, which includes abortion giant IPPF- the "European Donor Support to Sexual & Reproductive Health & Family Planning: Trends Analysis 2018-19"-shows increased or maintained funding for sexual and reproductive health and family planning (SRH/FP) by 10 donor countries in Europe, out of the 12 reviewed.
 
Combined together, all 12 countries gave an estimated 845 million Euros 
[$933,260,292.37] to SRH/FP for 2018. It reveals that the UK, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden were the largest donors and the greatest percentage increase in funding was by Ireland with an increase of 50%, followed by Spain with 42% increase.
 
Countdown 2030 expresses its concern that President Trump will be re-elected ensuring continuation of his Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy (PLGHA): "...should the current administration win another term, the Global Gag Rule will continue to impact SRH/FP funding worldwide." Likewise, concern over the impact of Brexit on EU policy and funding is expressed as well as over "the expansion of right-wing populist movements in Europe" which it describes as leading to increased opposition to SRHR in Europe.
 
The analysis states: "We stand at a critical moment in European history with a new populist rhetoric of fear, national self-interest and conservatism. Opponents to SRHR use inflammatory language and umbrella terms such 'gender ideology' to lump women's empowerment, feminism, secularism and SRHR issues together."
Countdown 2030 Europe plans to use upcoming UN events, including CSW, to "ensure Europe remains a strong supporter for these issues worldwide".
 
It notes that contributions from countries to SheDecides, the abortion fund set up by the Netherlands in response to President Trump's PLGHA policy, stating, "By 2018, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden had allocated over 84 million Euros [$92,773,804.21] to SheDecides and in that same year, France and Germany joined the movement."
SheDecides Recognizes MPs Promoting Abortion
SheDecides has announced what it describes as "nine new Champions"- some representing countries and organizations - who it believes "propel us toward a #NewNormal where every girl and every woman can live in a world where SheDecides. Without question." These individuals are expected to: "Stand Up, Speak Out, Change the Rules and Unlock Resources"- to enable access to abortion. (PNCI notes that SheDecides may want its 'champions' to speak out in support of abortion but it rarely mentions the word "abortion" instead relying on use of the term "right of women to decide".)
 
Two of its "champions" are parliamentarians. Goedele Liekens is a Member of Parliament in Belgium who is described as "a clinical psychologist and sexologist, author and a well-know television personality in both Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom". She serves on the Commission of Foreign Affairs, the Advisory Committee on Societal Emancipation, and is a member of the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights Executive Committee and is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group - Parliamentarians for the Agenda 2030-which focuses on health and gender issues in the 2030 Agenda.
 
The other is Ruth Labode, a Member of Parliament of Zimbabwe, Committee Chairwoman on Health and Child Care, who has called for the relaxation of Zimbabwe's Termination of Pregnancy Act "to ensure women get access to abortion services legally and conveniently". The Act currently allows for abortion in limited exceptions. 
Legislative News
Mexico: Abortion Bill Defeated in State of Hidalgo
Legislators in the state of Hidalgo voted down a bill to legalize abortion up to 24 weeks gestation. Specifically, the legislation said that "the embryo cannot be considered a person or a human being until the first trimester of pregnancy is completed." Abortion is currently legal in the state for cases of rape, health of the mother and fetal anomaly. Pro-life groups celebrated the victory that came in the face of strong pressure for legalization. Marcial Padilla, director of the pro-life organization ConParticipación, said the vote showed that "despite various efforts by sectors in the government and political parties to impose abortion on the country, they failed to get the legislators and society to buy an anti-life narrative." The bill was defeated by a vote of 10 for the bill and 15 against, with 5 abstentions.
EU: Workshop for EP Staff on Strategies to Promote Reproductive Rights
The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) held a workshop for parliamentary assistants and policy advisors in the European Parliament. The workshop, held in cooperation with the 'MEPs for Sexual and Reproductive Rights', was hosted by EPF, DSW, and IPPF EN and "featured ways that the Parliament can protect and promote sexual and reproductive health issues in the European Union and international policies."
Europe: Nordic MEPs Send Trump Letter Protesting Mexico City Policy
A coalition of Nordic MEPs sent a letter to President Trump urging him to reverse the US Mexico City Policy, now called the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy. Members of the all-party group 'MEPs for Sexual and Reproductive Rights' (MEPS for SRR) represent the countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland and claimed the pro-life policy "jeopardizes the many gains we have made in the sexual and reproductive rights and justice movements, as well as all of the many investments and long term commitments that Nordic donors have made in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all over many years." 
India: Proposed Bill Will Expand Access to Abortion
India's Union Cabinet will consider legislation to amend the existing abortion law to increase access to abortion. The current law, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971, permits abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The drafted bill would extend that limit up to 24 weeks gestation. The proposed bill also expands the extension to include victims of rape and minor girls, and reduces the requirement of needing two physicians' approval to one. Sources said the changes came after consultation with government stakeholders, academic institutions, professional associations, and NGOs.
Isle of Man: Parliament Rejects Assisted Suicide Measure
The Isle of Man's parliament, the Tynwald, voted against legalizing assisted suicide on the island. Members of parliament debated the issue, then unanimously voted against preparing legislation on it. Ahead of the vote the Isle of Man Medical Society noted that 85 percent of Manx doctors would not support it. "They were concerned that it would not in reality be a voluntary or free choice" said the society, "vulnerable people would feel an obligation to opt for it to decrease the burden on relatives or that others may believe it was best for them and seek to influence their choice".
Judicial News
Colombia: Challenge to Legal Abortion
The Constitutional Court of Colombia is reviewing two lawsuits that challenge the 2006 legalization of abortion for limited exceptions and the 2018 ruling which affirmed the 2006 decision and declared abortion to be a "human right". The 2018 ruling also instructed the government to issue regulations defining the legal circumstances for abortions to be performed. The challenges seek to "achieve equal rights for the unborn" according to Natalia Bernal Cano, a doctor of constitutional law and researcher on the risks posed by abortion to the life and health of women and children, who filed the cases.
 
Bernal seeks to recognize the unborn as having human rights and to completely ban abortion on the grounds that it "does serious harm to the babies and the pregnant mothers". Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is currently working on developing the Court-ordered abortion regulations.

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

In This Double Issue

 
US: Pro-Life Strong 47 Years after Legalization of Abortion on Demand
March for Life
President Trump and the Trump Administration
US Congress
States: A Battleground for Abortion Laws
US Supreme Court
 
Defending Life
Ireland: Pro-Life Lawmakers Re-elected
 
Focus on the United Nations
UN Women: Advancing Abortion in the Name of Equality 
 
International Pressure for Abortion
Ipas: Promoting Access to Abortion in Kenya and Nigeria
Doctors Without Borders Provides Online Abortion Instructions 
FIGO Advancing Abortion in Ten African Countries, Panama and Peru
European Funding for Abortion, Fears Over US Pro-Life Administration
SheDecides Recognizes MPs Promoting Abortion
 
Legislative News
Mexico: Abortion bill defeated in State of Hidalgo
EU: Workshop for European Parliament Staff Focuses on Strategies to Promote Reproductive Rights
EU: Nordic MEPs Send Trump Letter Protesting Mexico City Policy
India: Proposed Bill Will Expand Access to Abortion
Isle of Man: Parliament Kills Assisted Suicide Measure
 
Judicial News
Colombia: Challenge to Legal Abortion