Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 18
No. 2
March, 2024
Focus on the United States

The Killing of Preborn Children is “Freedom” to Biden

President Biden continued his and his administration’s relentless opposition to the protection of preborn children from the violence of abortion, a deadly act he and Vice President Harri call “reproductive freedom” or just “freedom”. Recent actions on abortion can be found in the White House FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Continues the Fight for Reproductive Freedom.


VP Harris has been on a “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour which included a visit to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Minnesota, billed as a “historic first” as it was the first time a sitting U.S. vice president has visited an abortion facility. “The vice president's visit shows the Biden administration's full-blown devotion to extreme abortion policies,” said Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “Minnesota is an outlier after enacting an abortion-up-to-birth law and abolishing a program that supported pregnant women. That’s why Vice President Harris came here. But unlimited abortion harms women and children. Most Minnesotans don’t want what Harris, Biden, and DFL lawmakers are selling.” 


Despite the abortion enabling activity, Biden was unwilling to say the word ‘abortion’ during the highly partisan and pro-abortion State of the Union (SOTU) address. Biden began his lengthy abortion remarks by saying that he believes Roe v. Wade “got it right” and thanking VP Harris for “being an incredible leader defending reproductive freedom.”


He voiced opposition to laws passed by states to protect unborn children and their mothers and strongly opposed any national bans on ‘reproductive freedom’ exclaiming, “My God, what freedom else would you take away?”


During his highly partisan, vehemently pro-abortion State Of The Union (SOTU), Biden showed the world his support for abortion but deviated from his prepared remarks to avoid actually saying the word ‘abortion’. In prepared remarks he was supposed to say: “Because Texas law banned abortion, Kate and her husband had to leave the state to get the care she needed. My God, what freedoms will you take away next?” 


Instead, Biden said, “Because Texas law banned her ability to act, Kate and her husband had to leave the state to get what she needed.” Tragic pronouncement by Biden that “what she needed” was the death of her unborn child.


Biden called on the American people to send him a Congress “that supports the right to choose” and if they do, he promised that he “will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.”


Pro-life leaders called out the many lies about abortion spouted by Biden during his address. Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, told that “Biden continues to amplify his virulent support of unlimited abortion.”


“He has engaged in fearmongering that is designed to scare pregnant mothers,” Tobias continued. “This fearmongering is rooted in lies manufactured by Big Abortion in a post-Dobbs propaganda campaign.”


In one common lie, Biden falsely claimed that pro-life states deny pregnant women legitimate health care or lifesaving medical treatment while in truth every single pro-life law in America fully allows pregnant women to get medical care including for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages.

Biden Acts to Defund Pregnancy Centers while Pope Francis Speaks of Duty to Help Women

President Biden has been working to weaken the ability of pregnancy resource centers to help women by denying them access to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding in the states which allow it. A proposed rule by the Biden administration ‘Strengthening [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)] as a Safety Net and Work Program’, (88 FR 67697), under Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, would prohibit pregnancy centers and alternative-to-abortion programs from receiving millions of dollars a year in TANF funding while directing that same funding to Planned Parenthoods and other abortion centers.


Republicans in the House passed a bill by Reps Michelle Fischbach and Chris Smith, co-chairs of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act to prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from restricting funding for pregnancy centers.


In stark contrast, Pope Francis addressed the duty of governments and civil society to help ensure that women are able to accept the gift of life saying, “Institutions, social and political, have the fundamental duty to protect and promote the dignity of every human being, offering women, the bearers of life, the necessary conditions to be able to accept the gift of life and ensure a dignified existence for their children.”

68 US “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn”

Local elected officials are moving to protect preborn children from the violence of abortion as Midlothian, Texas became the 68th city to adopt an enforceable ordinance that protects babies from abortion within its limits. To date, 51 cities in Texas, and 17 in other states – Nebraska, Ohio, Louisiana, Iowa, New Mexico, and Illinois – have become sanctuary cities for the unborn.


The Texas counties of Mitchell, Goliad, Cochran, Lubbock, and Dawson have also passed ordinances protecting the preborn from abortion.


Mark Lee Dickson, founder of the Texas-based Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative and a director with Right To Life of East Texas, told CatholicVote that a key focus for the initiative is also on closing up two significant “loopholes”: abortion trafficking— the taking of pregnant mothers across state lines for the purpose of abortion—and the treatment of the bodies of aborted babies as “waste.”

The “waste” loophole allows waste management companies to collect waste from abortion facilities outside of Texas, and bring the contents back to Texas for disposal since there is nothing in Texas law that addresses the issue. The 2017 Texas fetal burial law states that fetal remains at a medical facility in Texas must be disposed of properly through burial or cremation but does not mention out of state abortion facilities creating a “massive loophole” which his organization is seeking to close.

International Pressure for Abortion

France: Government Makes Abortion a Constitutional Right

France has become the first country to make abortion a constitutional right. In a vote of 780-72 in a joint session of parliament, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill that states that “the law determines the conditions by which is exercised the freedom of women to have recourse to an abortion, which is guaranteed.” The French National Assembly and Senate had each adopted a bill to amend Article 34 of the French Constitution, but to become law, the amendment needed to be approved by a three-fifths majority in the special joint session.


President Emmanuel Macron led the push, vowing to protect ‘abortion rights’ following the reversal of Roe v Wade in 2022 in the United States. At a ceremony officially enshrining abortion in the constitution, President Macron went on to call for the rest of the European Union to adopt a “right” to abortion in its Charter of Fundamental Rights.


“Today’s not the end of the story, it’s the beginning of a combat,” said Macron“If France has become the only country in the world whose constitution explicitly protects the right to an abortion in all circumstances, we will not rest until this promise is kept throughout the world. We will wage this battle on our continent, in our Europe, where reactionary forces first and always attack women’s rights, before going on to attack the rights of minorities, of all the oppressed, of all freedoms.”


French bishops and the Vatican strongly opposed the French vote, releasing a statement saying that “The Pontifical Academy for Life reiterates that precisely in the era of universal human rights, there cannot be a ‘right’ to take a human life.” The Pontifical Academy for Life urged “all governments and all religious traditions to do their best so that in this phase of history, the protection of life becomes an absolute priority, with concrete steps in favor of peace and social justice, with effective measures for universal access to resources, education, and health.” 

Attempt to Force the EU to Provide Free Abortion for All

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) to the European Commission is being used by a group of pro-abortion organizations and activists calling themselves My Voice, My Choice to force the European Commission to provide financial support to Member States that allow abortion so than any woman in Europe could travel there and have her abortion paid for. The group states, “We want to advance abortion rights as fundamental human rights and basic healthcare in the EU.” 


The effort if successful, would override strict pro-life laws in Poland and Malta that protect preborn children; fund abortion for women from countries including Austria and Germany where abortion is legal but not free of charge; provide access to abortion to women from countries where health care professionals object to abortion such as Italy and Croatia; and pay for abortions of women without health insurance and access to abortion.

The group is waiting to hear from the European Commission if it has accepted and registered its citizens-initiative. If it is registered, the group needs to collect 1 million signatures by June.


The pro-abortion vision of My Body My Choice would affect all of the EU:

“We are imagining a Europe that protects equality, and demands justice and respect for fundamental rights, among them reproductive rights. The right to abortion is a human right, and access to it is fundamental healthcare.


My Voice, My Choice is a European movement that demands the EU ensures access to safe abortion for all.”

European MPs Promote Abortion in Pro-Life Malawi

The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) and parliamentarians from Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, and Romania visited Malawi on a ‘SRHR Study Tour’ . The tour’s purpose was explained: “Our aim, as parliamentarians from European countries, is to continue to raise awareness of the hurdles facing Malawi and the struggles it faces to realise SRHR for women and girls.”


One of the three focus areas they raised was a bill which would expand access to abortion from its current life of the mother only exception to allow abortion for physical and mental health of the pregnant woman, severe disability of the child, or if the pregnancy is ‘a result of rape, incest or defilement’.


The group expressed its annoyance that religious leaders had urged Malawian lawmakers to vote against the bill stating, “We hope that the Malawian parliamentarians can see from stories in our respective parliaments how important it is to not bow to pressure from religious organisations so that abortion does not remain criminalised.”


The “cultural mindset” in Malawi was another focus area for the MPs who stated: “Lastly, it is pivotal to tackle the cultural mindset which perceives SRHR as a threat to the future of the Malawian people… As we have experienced in our respective parliaments and communities, it is important to advocate for progressive SRHR policies and legislation even if they face religious and/or cultural backlash.” 


The group thanked the Malawian Government and the Family Planning Association of Malawi for hosting them and hoped that future cooperation will grow between the countries on these issues.

Fear and Loathing of Christians on Display at the EP

The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) is hosting a presentation of the book “The Christian Right in Europe” at the European Parliament. The group is critical of religious engagement in government stating that over “the past two decades, a concerning trend has been sweeping across nations worldwide, from Hungary to Italy, Portugal, the USA, and Brazil: the infiltration of the Christian Right into national and international institutions.”


It voices extreme opposition to religious beliefs stating “this phenomenon has manifested in various forms, with political leaders, civil society actors, and faith leaders advocating against abortion rights, gay marriages, and transgender rights, while promoting a patriarchal 'traditional' family model alongside democratic erosion and racist conspiracy theories.”


Neil Datta, secretary general of EPF, co-wrote the chapter "Gender Ideology Battles in the European Bubble”, which examines “how Christian-Right groups influence policy and public discourse in EU institutions” and offers “valuable perspectives on the intersection of religion, politics, and human rights in contemporary Europe.” 


The group states, “Don't miss this opportunity to engage in critical conversations and contribute to shaping a more inclusive and progressive Europe. Join us as we confront the challenges posed by the Christian Right and work towards a future built on equality, tolerance, and justice.”

“By bringing together experts and stakeholders, the event seeks to catalyze meaningful dialogue and action towards safeguarding human rights and democratic principles in the face of rising conservatism.”

EP Seeks Expansion of Abortion while Supporting Ukraine

The European Parliament adopted a resolution of support for Ukraine— P9_TA(2024)0119 The need for unwavering EU support for Ukraine, after two years of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine—that included expressing regret that the guidance provided by the EU in the Temporary Protection Directive “is interpreted so narrowly that many women who have fled Russia’s war of aggression cannot access abortion care or other sexual and reproductive health treatments…”


The resolution calls on the European Commission “to review the directive in order to ensure that all Member States are obliged to offer the same care that women could otherwise receive in Ukraine” which has abortion on demand for first 12 weeks of gestation. In particular, the resolution would impact Poland’s sovereign pro-life laws.

Focus on the United Nations

Ireland Hosts ‘How to Change Abortion Laws’ Event at the UN

Ireland’s Mission hosted a breakfast side event during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) with the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) tweeting: “Sexual and reproductive health & rights are fundamental to the empowerment of women & girls. Today hosted a #CSW68 side event celebrating legal and policy reforms on #SRHR from across the world.”


The event launched the Center for Reproductive Rights’ new manual on successful strategies to change laws on abortion and other issues in the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda called Pathways to Change: Building Stronger Legal Guarantees for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. The purpose of the event and manual was to share “insights into strategies for creating effective and lasting change” that can be used in “other countries and communities”. CSW is the largest UN gathering of women with over 15,000 women in attendance from 139 countries.


CRR describes changes occurring “through legislative processes in parliaments, through administrative mechanisms and government decision making, through public referenda, through litigation and constitutional reform.” Examples given include the legalization of abortion; advancement of policies on comprehensive sexuality education; and the eradication of bans on emergency contraception. According to CRR, the examples “represent only a snapshot of those in which important reforms on SRHR have recently occurred”.


The publication documents how 23 organizations in 13 countries changed laws and policies including changing laws on abortion in Chile, Colombia, Ireland, Moldova, Nepal, North Macedonia, Peru and Rwanda.


Pro-life organizations around the world can glean useful insights from the strategies presented in order to be better prepared to defend life and family in their own countries and communities.


Read more here 

UNFPA Moving Staff to Nairobi

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has made a strategic decision to relocate twenty-five percent of its staff from New York to Nairobi, Kenya. The move is intended “to physically bring the agency closer to the communities it serves in the Global South, aiming to improve efficiency and effectiveness”, particularly achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by African countries which includes universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights by 2030.


A look at UNFPA’s 10th Country Programme for Kenya includes problematic goals that include “ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and rights” are integrated into national and county level policies and accountability mechanisms by 2026 and incorporated into universal health coverage. UNFPA seeks “to enable adolescents and youth with the capacity and opportunity” to participate and lead in policies and programs including on sexual and reproductive health.

The program will use “human rights-based and gender transformative approaches to support delivery of rights-based SRH and services”—both advance access to abortion under UNFPA’s definitions—including in primary health care and universal health coverage.


The shift to Nairobi by UNPFA follows similar moves by other major UN entities including UNEP, and UN-Habitat and the UN Office for Project Services which executes projects, buys supplies, and administers UN initiatives. According to UNOPS Africa Regional Director Ms. Dalila Gonçalves, “From our new base in Nairobi, we look forward to supporting our partners to deliver on the SDGs in the African region.”

Legislative News

Peru: Congress Passes Bill to Protect Unborn Children and Their Mother

Peru’s Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill that established the government’s obligation to guarantee “the protection of the pregnancy, the pregnant mother, the unborn child, and their family environment.” The legislation, sponsored by Congresswoman Rosangela Barbarán of the Fuerza Popular (Popular Force) party, has been sent to the country’s president, Dina Boluarte for his signature. According to ACI Prensa, Article 2 of the bill stipulates that both the state and society, especially health care professionals, are obliged to provide special protection during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. This protection extends to all entities, public and private.


Carlos Polo, of Population Research Institute in Peru, said the legislation represents “true progress in the agenda for respecting the life of the conceived child.” He pointed out that the new law promotes public policies that guarantee comprehensive health coverage for the mother and the unborn child, including prenatal check-ups, nutrition, preparation for childbirth, postpartum care, family counseling, health education and support for families.


Polo explained that based on this law, no entity will be able to “use the penal code as an excuse to say that in Peru there is the right to ‘therapeutic abortion’ and that it’s legal.” He further explained the importance of the bill in countering pro-abortion activists saying, “Nor will they be able to continue citing the disastrous ruling of the Inter-American Court in the case of Artavia Murillo v. Costa Rica, which says that the life and health of the mother is more important than the life of the conceived child.”


A celebration of the passage of the law protecting both mothers and unborn children will be held in Peru on March 25, the Day of the Unborn Child.

UK: MPs to Vote on Lowering Abortion Limit

British MPs have tabled an amendment to lower the country’s abortion time limit from 24 to 22 weeks based on science proving babies born prematurely are viable at 22 and 23 weeks. The UK’s previous abortion limit of 28 weeks was lowered to 24 weeks in 1994 when it was demonstrated that babies born prematurely at 24-28 weeks had high survival rates. Research published in November 2023 demonstrated that babies born alive at 22 and 23 weeks have a significant survival rate.


A cross-party group of MPs sponsored the amendment, led by Caroline Ansell. “The increase in survival rates for babies born at 22 and 23 weeks gestation is one of medical science’s great success stories in recent years. More and more babies born at these ages are able to survive thanks to the hard work of neonatal teams,” explained Ansell. “As in 1990, when our laws were last changed to reflect similar increases in survival rates, it is time our abortion time limit was updated. Our current time limit is an outlier compared with our European neighbours and my hope is this amendment will command widespread support across the House.”


Pro-lifers in the UK are encouraging their MPs to support the amendment, which is expected to be voted on by the parliament next month. “At the moment, a baby at 22 or 23 weeks gestation could be born prematurely and have a dedicated medical team provide expert care to try to save his or her life, while another baby at the same age could have their life deliberately ended by abortion in the same hospital at the same time,” said Right to Life UK spokesperson Catherin Robinson. “This is a contradiction in UK law. This contradiction must end, and Ansell’s amendment, which now has the support of 33 MPs, is seeking to solve this”.

Ireland: Legislative Committee Warned Against Assisted Suicide

Experts have warned Irish lawmakers against legalizing euthanasia. The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Assisted Dying, which was created to research and make recommendations on assisted suicide, has been hearing testimony on the issue of assisted suicide. Testimony from professors warned the practice can “place pressure on vulnerable people including older people, those living with dementia and those with disabilities.” Professor Merete Nordentoft, a Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Copenhagen explained that a recent parliamentary committee in Denmark rejected euthanasia due to the slippery slope the policy imposes. “Assisted dying may cause unacceptable changes to basic norms for society and healthcare. The very existence of an offer of assisted dying will decisively change our ideas about old age, the coming of death, living with disability, quality of life and what it means to take others into account,” said Nordentoft.


The Dutch National Council of Ethics weighed in, sending the committee a statement why it rejected a similar policy. “If assisted dying becomes an option, there is too great a risk that it will become an expectation aimed at special groups in society,” it said. “If we offer assisted dying, it says, directly or indirectly, that some lives are not worth living.”

Executive News

Bangladesh: New Guidelines to Prevent Sex Selection

Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has issued new regulations banning the practice of sex selection. A recent court ruling reenforced the policy, marking a coordinated effort between the executive and judiciary to make the significant policy change in the country. The core of the new regulations- “The National Guideline for Prevention of Son Preference and the Risk of Gender-Biased Sex Selection”- prohibits the disclosure of the sex of an unborn baby by any individual, medical facility, or laboratory. In doing so, the policy seeks to protect the privacy of the mother and unborn baby and shield them from any societal pressures that could affect the pregnancy.


The guidelines require the ministries to create comprehensive training programs for all medical personnel to educate them on the technical, ethical, and negative aspects of sex determination to equip doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians to better navigate prenatal care. The guidelines also emphasize transparency and accountability, requiring all hospitals and testing facilities to keep detailed records of all testing related to sex determination. It is hoped the coordinated effort of legal, ethical, and societal considerations will lead the way to improving societal norms in Bangladesh.

Japan: Prime Minister to Combat Falling Birth Rate

Japan’s Prime Minister has announced the government will take “unprecedented steps” to address the country’s failing birth rate. “The declining birthrate is in a critical situation,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi. “The next six years or so until 2030, when the number of young people will rapidly decline, will be the last chance to reverse the trend.” Recent data shows the country’s population levels taking a nose dive to its lowest level, with experts warning a 30% decline by 2070. Births in 2023 fell 5.1% from a year earlier and marriages decreased by 5.9%. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called the population decline the “gravest crisis our country faces.” 

Judicial News

Ecuador: Court Legalizes Euthanasia

Ecuador’s Constitutional Court has legalized euthanasia in a case brought by a terminally ill patient suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Seven out of nine judges voted in favor of the ruling. In its decision, the court said it “considers that the issue raised relates to the rights to a life with dignity and the free development of personality. Therefore, after carrying out an examination, it concludes that life admits exceptions to its inviolability when it seeks to protect other rights.” The court instructed legislators to prepare legislation and the Ministry of Health to prepare regulations pertaining to euthanasia. Ecuador is the second country in Latin America to legalize euthanasia.  

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

In this issue


Focus on United States

Killing Preborn Children is “Freedom” to Biden

Biden Acts to Defund Pregnancy Centers; Pope Francis Speaks of Duty to Help Women

68 U.S. “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn”


International Pressure for Abortion

France: Government Makes Abortion a Constitutional Right

Attempt to Force the EU to Provide Free Abortion for All

European MPs Promote Abortion in Pro-Life Malawi

Fear and Loathing of Christians on Display at the EP

EP Seeks Expansion of Abortion while Supporting Ukraine


Focus on the United Nations

Ireland Hosts ‘How to Change Abortion Laws’ Event at the UN

UNFPA Moving Staff to Nairobi


Legislative News

UK: MPs to Vote on Lowering Abortion Limit

Ireland: Legislative Committee Warned Against Assisted Suicide


Executive News

Bangladesh: Government Issues New Guidelines to Prevent Sex Selection

Japan: Prime Minister to Combat Falling Birth Rate


Judicial News

Ecuador: Court Legalizes Euthanasia