Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 11
No. 1
January, 2017
 
Focus on the United States
A Pro-Life Turning Point Is Underway in the United States
The United States is experiencing unprecedented support for the pro-life position from the government and the American public as self-identifying pro-life President Donald Trump begins his administration and both the House and Senate begin the 115th Congress under control of the pro-life Republican Party. Both branches of government are quickly moving to take pro-life actions. This special moment in history also enjoys public support and opposition to the elitist position supporting US law that allows abortion on demand for all nine months of pregnancy with many states enacting regulations and restrictions on abortion.
 
A new Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus finds that 59 percent of Americans believe abortion is morally wrong. A majority are against taxpayer funding of abortion and support banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 61 percent of Americans oppose the use of tax dollars to fund abortion within the United States and an overwhelming 83 percent oppose funding abortions around the world. 78 percent of respondents believe that laws ought to protect the health and well-being of both women and the unborn and laws should not choose to protect one and not the other.
 
Highlights of pro-life actions by President Trump, Congress and states follow. 
Executive News
President Trump Nominates Pro-Life Judge to the Supreme Court
President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court describing him as someone in the tradition of Justice Scalia. Justice Scalia was known for his opposition to abortion, supported overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing states to provide legal protection for the unborn. He opposed the social activism of the Court and believed that the Constitution should be interpreted as the Founding Fathers intended and is not open to modern interpretations.
 
Judge Gorsuch is believed to be in agreement with the late Justice Scalia and is considered to be pro-life fulfilling another promise of President Trump that he would appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court.
 
Americans United for Life reports that in his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Gorsuch eloquently argues that it "is incompatible with the promise of equal justice under law that any of us should feel at liberty to sit in judgement to decide who is and who is not entitled to the benefits of" being treated as "fully human," and that "human life qualifies as a basic good [and] it follows that we can and should refrain from actions intended to do it harm. Such actions, after all, by their very definition evince a denial of life's innate worth."
 
The Senate must approve Judge Gorsuch through what is expected to be a very contentious hearing process with strong opposition from Senate Democrats.
President Donald Trump Expresses His Support for March for Life
As thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. to mark the extreme 1973 Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion on demand in the United States throughout pregnancy, President Donald Trump tweeted his support: "The #MarchForLife is so important. To all of you marching --- you have my full support!"
 
Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to President Donald Trump, addressed the March relaying President Trump's support and stating that he will act to further the pro-life cause. Conway encouraged the March by saying, "Allow me to make it very clear, we hear you, we see you, we respect you, and we look forward to working with you. It is no coincidence that the first right cited in the Declaration of Independence is the right to Life. We are here to protect and promote the most precious gift in the world - the gift of life."
Vice President Mike Pence Addresses March
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the March in person. Despite heightened security measures, anticipation was high as the former congressman and governor once again addressed the March but this time in his role as vice president. Mike Pence did not disappoint as the  vice president's remarks excited and encouraged the crowd especially as he proclaimed "life is winning in America."
 
His speech included:
 
And I am deeply humbled to be the first Vice President of the United States to ever have the privilege to attend this historic gathering.
 
More than two-hundred and forty years ago, our Founders wrote words that have echoed through the ages.
 
They declared 'these truths to be self-evident.' That we are, all of us, 'endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights,' and 'that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.'
 
Forty-four years ago, our Supreme Court turned away from the first of these timeless ideals.
 
But today, three generations hence, because of all of you, and the many more who stand with us in marches just like this across this nation, life is winning in America again.

That is evident in the election of pro-life majorities in the Congress of the United States.

But it is no more evident than in the historic election of a president who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America, and a president who I proudly say stands for the right to life - President Donald Trump.
 
President Trump actually asked me to be here today to thank all of you for your support and for your stand for life and for your compassion for the women and children of this nation.

The oversized crowd enthusiastically responded when Vice President Pence declared, "Life is winning in America. And today is a celebration of the progress that we have made in the cause."
 
The vice president cited the many reasons why he believes "life is winning in America" and why this is an "historic moment in the cause of life" calling on all to "meet this moment with respect and compassion for every American".
 
He acknowledged the work of the pro-life movement, especially the "compassion of caregivers and volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers and faith-based organizations who minister to women, in cities and towns across this country."
 
In closing, Vice President Pence exhorted the pro-life movement to remain focused on its work, "To heal our land and restore a culture of life we must continue to be a movement that embraces all and cares for all out of respect for the dignity and worth of every person."
 
He continued,
 
Enshrined on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial are the words of our third president, who admonished us to remember that 'God who gave us life gave us liberty.'
 
On behalf of the President of the United States, and my little family, we thank you for your stand for life, for your compassion, for your love for the women and children of this nation.
 
Be assured, we will not grow weary. We will not rest until we restore a culture of life for ourselves and our posterity. 
 
God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.
President Trump Seeks to Protect Unborn Children Globally
President Donald Trump, in one of his first Executive Orders, reissued and expanded the Mexico City Policy (MCP) which prevents foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion from receiving funds from the population account of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) unless they pledge to stop performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning, regardless of the funding source, in order to be eligible for U.S. funding.
 
The Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy issued by President Trump not only revokes President Obama's Memorandum of January 23, 2009 repealing the policy and reinstates President George W. Bush's Memorandum of January 22, 2001 restoring the Mexico City Policy but is modernized to reflect current challenges to the protection of women and children from the violence of abortion.
 
President Trump has directed the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to, in the fullest extent allowed by law, "implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies."
 
The action by President Trump was lauded by Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo, Nigeria, Director of Communications for the African Bishops who viewed the action as a step toward "making America great again" and urged that the policy will be strictly enforced. The the bishop stated, "I think President Donald Trump, by banning government funding of pro-abortion organizations and policies in foreign countries, has restored some humanity to U.S. foreign policy and granted the U.S. a little more legitimacy as a leading democratic civilization."
 
"No democracy nor civilization can be authentic if human life, even the least, is sacrificed for the convenience and pleasure of a few, no matter how rich or influential they may be."

Read more about the Executive Order here.
Trump's Pro-Life Ambassador to the United Nations
Pro-Life Governor Nikki Haley from South Carolina has been confirmed to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations. During Senate confirmation hearings Governor Haley told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she will oppose abortion on an international level and stated that she is "strongly pro-life".
 
Haley, the daughter of immigrants from India, stated during her election for governor, "I believe every life has a value and is blessed by God--my husband was adopted and my pro-life convictions stem from the fact I feel the blessings of that value every day knowing someone chose life for him. I see it every day in my two children as I watch them grow. My hope is that we continue to encourage and work towards educating that value of life to everyone."

The appointment of pro-life Ambassador Nikki Haley to the United Nations brings hope to all who seek to protect women and children from the violence of abortion globally and who struggle against UN elitists who feverishly promote abortion.

Draft Executive Order Targets UN Funding
A draft Executive Order--Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations-- targets the United Nations for a reduction of at least 40 percent of U.S. voluntary contributions but release of the order has been delayed.

The U.S. is the largest single donor to the U.N. contributing 22 percent to the U.N.'s total operating budget- the U.N.'s approved budget for 2016-2017 is $5.4 billion- in addition to providing more than 28 percent 
of the funds necessary for peacekeeping work.

The five-page draft order directs that an evaluating committee be formed "comprised of the secretary of State, attorney general and director of national intelligence, among others, and gives the panel one year to make recommendations on how to increase U.S. leverage at the United Nations."
 
The order includes a specific prohibition on U.S. funding for entities that support abortion as a method of family planning and according to reports includes a "special review of funding" for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA). The U.S is the third largest donor to UNFPA after the UK and Sweden.
 
According to news reports, the work of the committee will proceed without the executive order being issued and includes evaluations of other international organizations receiving US funding.
Legislative News
House Votes to Make Abortion Funding Ban Permanent
The US House of Representatives passed H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, banning federal funding for abortion. H.R. 7 will make the Hyde amendment, which bars taxpayer funding for abortions through Medicaid, permanent and expand it to all federal agencies. A report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute indicates that the Hyde amendment has saved over two million lives since it was first introduced in 1976.
 
"The Hyde Amendment is responsible for saving the lives of at least two million babies, making this policy permanent will save countless more. We have a responsibility to stand up and fight for the most vulnerable among us, and I am proud to help lead that effort," said Rep Liz Cheney. H.R. 7 also requires transparency and disclosure for insurance companies and Obamacare plans regarding which of the plans cover abortion.
 
Bill sponsor Rep Chris Smith, Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, highlighted the recent Marist poll showing 61 percent of Americans do not support federal funding for abortion. "Pro-life Americans struggle for the day when abortion violence will be replaced by compassion and empathy for women and respect for the weak and most vulnerable among us, the child in the womb," said Rep Smith. "They believe, as do my pro-life colleagues, that we ought to love them both, mother and child, and not fund the destruction of children through abortion."
 
The House passed the bill by a vote of 238-183 and next moves to the Senate. President Trump expressed his support for the bill in his first  Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) which declares, "The Administration strongly supports H.R. 7. ...If the President were presented with H.R. 7 in its present form, he would sign it."
Members of Congress Address March for Life
Hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers gathered in Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life to voice their support for the right to life for all. Several Members of Congress addressed the crowd, affirming their solidarity in the fight for life. Through tears, Rep Mia Love thanked her own parents for choosing life for her when they faced an unexpected pregnancy. "I am certain that this couple never could have conceived that that child would be elected to the United States House of Representatives as the very first black Republican woman ever elected to Congress. But more than that, they would have never dreamed that that child would grow up to fight for all children, especially for those yet to be born," said Rep Love.
 
 Rep Chris Smith, speaking as Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus and on behalf of the many Members crowded on the stage, encouraged the enthusiastic crowd of pro-lifers to keep up the fight as he declared "This is the turning point for the right-to-life movement". He encouraged the crowd saying that "history and the survivors will note that you stood your ground," and that, "You pushed backed, and you endured any and every sacrifice, any and every smear, so that the least of these might live."

House Speaker Paul Ryan addressed pro-lifers via video saying, "This is truly a new dawn for the unborn and for those women and men who defend them." He continued, "Today you march to defend the rights of those who cannot defend themselves...Thank you for your passion and courage. Know that we march with you and that we will not stop fighting until every life is protected under the law."

Members of Congress sent President Trump a letter organized by Rep Robert Pittenger thanking him for his pro-life leadership since taking office. The letter, signed by 147 Members, thanked President Trump for reinstating the Mexico City Policy and for his support for pro-life legislation to extend the Hyde amendment and end federal funding of abortion,  support for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and for a ban on late term abortion. "The alignment of pro-life majorities in Congress and your election to the White House presents a critical opportunity to protect our most vulnerable from the brutal act of abortion and affirm that women deserve better than abortion," stated the letter.

In recognition of the anniversary of the Supreme Court's imposition of abortion on demand on the US, Members of the House of Representatives also held a Special Order on the House floor bringing attention to the travesty of abortion on American women and their children.
Committee Releases Final Report on Investigation of Planned Parenthood
The US House special committee investigating Planned Parenthood released its final report after spending the past year investigating the sale of unborn baby body parts and tissue by abortion businesses. The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives was created after an undercover video investigation found compelling evidence that Planned Parenthood was selling the body parts of aborted babies to fetal tissue procurement companies. The investigation revealed concerning details of the practice in abortion facilities throughout the US, often in violation of both national and state laws and regulations.
 
"Over the last year, the Select Panel's relentless fact-finding investigation has laid bare the grisly reality of an abortion industry that is driven by profit, unconcerned by matters of basic ethics and, too often, noncompliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children. I have never shied away from my own pro-life views, but the findings of this panel should incense all people of conscience," said Congresswoman Diane Black. The committee's report included 15 criminal and regulatory referrals to the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, and several state attorney generals.
 
The report also issued recommendations for ways to properly and ethically advance science and innovative therapies. "It is my hope that our recommendations will result in some necessary changes within both the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries. Our hope is that these changes will both protect women and their unborn children, as well as the integrity of scientific research," said Committee Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn.
Virginia: House Passes Resolution Marking Jan 22 a 'Day of Tears'
The Virginia House of Delegates approved a resolution calling the January 22nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's rulings legalizing abortion a "Day of Tears". The resolution stated "that the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia are encouraged to lower their flags to half-staff to mourn the innocents who have lost their lives to abortion". The measure passed by a vote of 57-36. "By making a visual step in support of life, hopefully we can help save lives," said the bill's sponsor Delegate Ben Cline.
Kansas: Leading the Country in Most Pro-Life Laws
At a pro-life rally this month, Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas declared with pride, "Kansas is the leading pro-life state in America, and we will stay that way." The state was ranked the second most pro-life state in the country by Americans United for Life due to its many laws protecting the right to life. "It has been my great honor as governor, working with this legislative leadership and others, to sign 17 pro-life bills for the state of Kansas," said Governor Brownback. The rally was held at the state's Supreme Court, which is currently considering a challenge to a recently passed law protecting babies from dismemberment abortion.
Arkansas: Governor Signs Bill Banning Dismemberment Abortion
A bill to ban dismemberment abortions was signed into law by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The Arkansas Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act prohibits the use of dilation and evaluation (D&E) abortions, a gruesome abortion method often used in the second trimester. Governor Hutchinson said he believes the bill is constitutional and would be upheld by any court challenges. The new law, which passed both the Arkansas House and Senate with a large majority, would go into effect this summer.
Netherlands: Establishes Abortion Fund to Counter Loss of US Funding
The Dutch government has established a fund for abortion in response to President Trump's reissuing of the Mexico City Policy. Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, launched the She Decides - Global Fundraising Initiative to give financial contributions to organizations affected by the Mexico City Policy and counter what it projects will be a loss of $600 million.

Ploumen committed 10 million Euro from the Netherlands for 
She Decides and said, "As well as contacting a number of European countries that we work with on these issues, we're also in touch with countries in South America and Africa, as well as the foundations. It's important to have the broadest possible support for the fund." She seeks to raise $600 million "within the next couple of weeks".
 
Luxembourg's Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Romain Schneider, announced that Luxembourg will strengthen its support for reproductive health and rights programs and gives its political support to the Dutch initiative She Decides. He also announced that Luxembourg will "revise upwards its existing contributions, in particular to the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund)". The size of the contributions has not been determined.

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo launched a crowd funding site for She Decides and announced that he
will host an international conference this spring in Brussels "bringing together like-minded countries, organizations and private companies that support the Global Fundraising Initiative She Decides. During the conference countries can express their political and financial support, aid organizations can map their needs in detail and private companies can show their commitment. I invite countries, organizations and private companies to massively join and support the Global Fundraising Initiative She Decides. This initiative is open to all who care about the rights of women and girls. Girls and women should be able to decide when and how many children they want. This is a human right."

The meeting in Brussels "will launch a common strategy to limit the impact of this American decision for millions of women and girls."

Dutch Minister Ploumen also sought support from Canada's International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau who stated that Canada had already decided to increase funding "to support advocacy work for women's reproductive rights and for the provision of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion (in jurisdictions where it is legal) and post-abortion care" before the Mexico City Policy was reissued.

In regards to funding She Decides, Bibeau said that it has not been decided if Canada will contribute to the fund.

Denmark is reported to also be considering supporting She Decides and its Development Minister Ulla Tornaes stated, "Denmark will continue to be a strong international voice for girls' and women's rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights."

Pro-abortion NGO, Rutgers Foundation, based in the Netherlands, will manage the fund.
Chile: Senate Instructs Commissions to Consider How to Legalize Abortion
The Senate in Chile voted to advance a bill that would open the door to abortion in this South American country that has banned all abortion since 1989 and has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America. The measure would allow access to abortion for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy in case of danger to the mother's life, in the case of pregnancy resulting from sexual violence and for life threatening disability of the child. The 12-week limit would extend to 18 weeks when the mother is 14 years of age or younger. It has been referred to Senate commissions which will work on the details of the next steps for legalization.

President Michelle Bachelet introduced the legislation two years ago and in March of 2016 the Chamber of Deputies voted to advance the bill. The vote in the Senate follows votes in Senate commissions on health and the constitution.
Armenia: Danger of Sex-Discriminatory Abortion
Armenia was warned that sex-discriminatory abortions are creating a grave gender imbalance that threaten the very future of the country and could result in a society of single men. The strong male preference in the country results in pregnant women being pressured to have an abortion if it is known that she is pregnant with an unborn baby girl. The birth ratio in 2012 was 114 boys born to 100 girls while the natural ratio for the country would be 102-106 male to 100 female births.
 
The warning comes from Garik Hayrapetyan, UNFPA's assistant representative for Armenia, who said,"In 10 to 20 years, we will face a shortage of women and-combined with a dramatic decline in fertility rates-that will lead to a serious demographic crisis. By 2060, some 100,000 potential mothers will not have been born in Armenia. We will become a society of single men."

 
 
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