Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 11
No. 4
April, 2017
 
Pro-Life Actions
President Trump's First 100 Days
President Trump took decisive pro-life actions during his first 100 days in office affecting policies on abortion in the US and around the world. In one of his first Executive Orders, President Trump reissued and expanded the Mexico City Policy (MCP) preventing foreign non-governmental organizations from receiving funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) unless they pledge to not perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning, regardless of the funding source. The policy previously only applied to monies from the population account but was extended to apply to "all global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies".

President Trump's selection to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed and began his tenure on the Court. Judge Gorsuch is expected to have a pro-life position similar to the late Justice Anton Scalia. As a judge, Gorsuch ruled against the Obama administration's HHS mandate and has written a book opposing the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.     

Legislation passed by Congress, House Joint Resolution 43, was signed by President Trump to allow states to distribute family planning funds, known as Title X, to non-abortion providers including community health centers, county health departments, or other types of providers. Previously, Obama's Department of Health and Human Services had blocked states from choosing not to fund abortion providers.

President Trump cut-off US funds to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) due to its support for China's coercive population control program. The administration explained that it was dropping the funding because UNFPA "supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization". Funds currently allocated to UNFPA will be transferred to the "Global Health Account" where it will be used for family planning, maternal health and non-abortive reproductive health activities. The decision is based on application of existing U.S. law, the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which was enacted for the first time in 1985 and prohibits foreign aid to any organization that the administration determines is involved in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.

Pro-life groups in the US reacted with words of thanks and appreciation. Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said, "As President Trump's first term marks the completion of its first 100 days, I want to express on my own behalf and that of Priests for Life the gratitude we have to him and his Administration for the significant progress that has been made and victories that have been won for the cause of protecting children in the womb from abortion."

USA: State Legislatures Advancing Pro-Life Laws

According to a recent analysis from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, state legislatures have kicked off 2017 with a slew of pro-life legislation. Already, 431 initiatives seeking to restrict access to abortion have been introduced. Five states- Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Utah and Wyoming- have passed ten new laws that will ban abortions after 20 weeks, require ultrasounds for women seeking abortion, create requirements for abortion facilities, impose policies to save babies who survive abortion, and more. 88 measures introduced in 28 states would ban abortions totally or in certain circumstances. Guttmacher notes that additional legislative initiatives are advancing, including measures to ban sex selection abortion.

Prague March for Life and Family Doubles In Size

Thousands of people came out for Prague's 17th National March for Life and Family this month, raising their voices against the country's abortion laws and marching in support of life. The number of participants doubled from previous years for this year's March, which had the support of political, religious, and public figures and several NGOs. Cardinal Dominik Duka, the archbishop of Prague, kicked off the March with mass. He later posted on Facebook the importance of speaking up for life, "most importantly, we marched for something, not just 'against' something, as is usual for us. We want to be not only in opposition, but occupy a position and can encourage for good, not just to criticize." (Translated)

International Pressure for Abortion
Push for Self-Induced Abortion and OTC Sale of RU 486

An international pro-abortion tactic that advises women on how to self-induce abortion in illegal settings is receiving attention and extensive news coverage in the US with the launch of a new 'counseling helpline' by the organization Women Help Women (WHW) targeting women in the US.

The project- Women Help Women USA: Self-managed Abortion Safe and Supported-SASS- is described by organizers as "the first service to provide one-on-one support from trained counselors to women in the U.S. seeking to end their own pregnancies."

WHW explains that its action is due to the pro-life positions of President Trump, Congress and states legislators, "The new service comes at a time when Donald Trump has pledged to overturn Roe v. Wade, Congress is held by a majority of anti-abortion legislators, and many states are down to their last abortion provider."

The advice offered includes a focus on misoprostol-only abortion which causes uterine contractions and the expulsion of the living unborn child. Misoprostol, the second drug in the RU 486 regimen, is also used for treatment of gastro-intestinal problems making it easier to obtain in settings where abortion on demand is illegal. WHW states on its website, "Misoprostol alone, or in combination with mifepristone, is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy in the first 12 weeks. It is approved by the World Health Organization as a safe abortion method when used by women themselves to 9 weeks and has been used successfully by millions of women* around the world, without a clinician." (* Women Help Women recognizes that gender-specific terms do not encompass the rights and identities of all people that may seek to end a pregnancy. We believe everyone has the right to feel supported and respected during their abortion experience.)

The abortion drugs promoted by WHW are known to cause severe hemorrhage and have resulted in death. WHW attempts to protect itself by a disclaimer on the website, "The contents of this webpage are for informational purposes only. The contents are not a substitute for advice from a medical provider."

Read more here.

 

IPPF's Media Manipulation in Africa

The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is in the second phase of a campaign to influence reporters and news articles on controversial social issues including abortion under the umbrella of the IPPFAR SRHR Journalists Network Group with funding from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. The campaign's goal is to achieve "strengthened commitment to reproductive health issues by Governments, Legislators and other key stakeholders, including calls for policy reviews and change." The second phase of the project targets adolescents access to 'sexual and reproductive health and rights" and will be implemented in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC).

An increasing number of news articles sympathetic to the legalization of abortion have been appearing on news sites from Africa. Lucien Kouakou, IPPF Africa Regional Director, addressed the recent meeting of the network stating, "There is no doubt that journalists are key influencers in the realization of positive change in Africa, as they are instrumental in exploring new topics and fostering public debate on important sexual and reproductive health issues. Through their in-depth and quality reports, journalists have the unmatched ability to exert pressure on governments to fulfil their mandates -especially those touching on public health. IPPF Africa Region will continue to work with African journalists in fostering the continent's development, and achieving reproductive health gains in the continent."

Focus on the UN
UN "Experts" Pressure Honduras to Change Law against Abortion

Three individuals serving in capacity as "experts" in three areas for the United Nations have called upon Honduras to amend its abortion law while activists in the country push for legislative changes. The statement issued from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights- Honduras needs progressive reform of abortion law to advance women's human rights, say UN experts -demonstrates the pro-abortion bias of the United Nations and is another attempt to assign the designation of "human right" to an horrific wrong-the death of an innocent child.

The statement begins, "Honduras must allow wider scope for legal abortions in new legislation due to be put to the country's parliament, so that women and girls can enjoy their full human rights to sexual and reproductive health, UN experts* have urged."

The UN experts, known pro-abortion activists who use their positions to push the abortion agenda, are *Alda Facio, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice; Dainius  Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Dubravka Simonović, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.
 
As a parliamentary committee is finalizing its opinion on changes to the penal code, pro-abortionists have been protesting seeking changes in provisions related to abortion. The three UN rapporteurs make a false claim about "international human rights standards" in regards to the legalization of abortion stating: "We sincerely hope that the Honduran Congress will seize this key opportunity to comply with its obligations to eliminating discrimination against women in its legislation, and to advance women's and adolescents' sexual and reproductive rights, in accordance with international human rights standards."
 
There is no international right to abortion despite the claims by the three UN officials. 

Two Child Advocate Selected for UNFPA Population Award
Professor Hans Rosling, a Swedish doctor and statistician, was posthumously selected to receive the United Nations Population Award having been nominated by the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development. Rosling is most famous for his work advancing the concept of two children per family stating that 90% of parents in the world today decide on average to have two children and that "the ideal family is no longer a large family".

Writing in Don't panic! There's no population bomb Rosling stated in 2013,

"Yet paradoxically, the number of children in the world is not going to rise from now on...This is what Brits don't know: that in Bangladesh - and also in Brazil, Vietnam, India and big African cities like Addis Ababa - two-child families are the norm. This change from big families down to two-child families is one of the most important things to happen in my lifetime. It's unprecedented in human history. It also means that we'll see the end of fast population growth by the end of this century."

Focus on the OAS
IACHR to Hear Abortion Case against El Salvador
Abortion activists have been agitating for years to change El Salvador's pro-life laws which are based on constitutional protection for the unborn child and disallow all abortions. Now, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) at the Organization of American States (OAS) has announced that it will hear the case of Manuela which abortion activists hope will add to the pressure on El Salvador to legalize abortion.

The case was filed by Center for Reproductive Rights and Colectiva de Mujeres para el Desarrollo Local and Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico, Ético y Eugenésico, NGOs based in El Salvador, in the name of Manuela and her family. Manuela was in prison for the crime of 'aggravated homicide' having been found guilty in the death of her unborn child but developed health issues for which it is claimed she did not receive adequate treatment leading to her death.

Activists deny that Manuel had been guilty of abortion and according to the Center for Reproductive Rights' director for Latin America and the Caribbean Catalina Martínez Coral charge that, "El Salvador's hostility towards abortion led to Manuela's wrongful imprisonment and it ultimately cost her life. The Inter-American Commission must now put pressure on the Salvadoran government to end the criminalization of women and provide reparations to Manuela's family."

The case claims El Salvador violated Manuela's rights as declared in the American Convention on Human Rights, the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Eliminate Torture, and the Inter-American Convention for the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará).

In reaction to the IACHR decision, Martínez Coral said, "We're really excited because we have been waiting for an admission of the case since 2012. This is a huge step and this is a very good moment to have this decision." Currently, a bill to allow abortion for exceptions including a threat to the mother's health has been introduced but pro-life support remains strong.  

Human Rights Watch is also active in El Salvador in the push to for the legalization of abortion which it acknowledges "faces serious political opposition". Sarah Taylor of Human Rights Watch explained the use of the Manuela case as a tool to help change El Salvador's pro-life laws stating, "So the challenge is to create a lot of pressure in order for the congress to respond to this." She explains that this will happen if the IACHR rules in Manuela's favor, especially if it recommends that "El Salvador decriminalize abortion or strengthen measures to protect female patients' privacy".

Executive News
Ireland: Citizens' Assembly Recommends Legalization of Abortion

The Irish Citizens' Assembly has issued its awaited recommendations, voting to legalize abortion in the pro-life country. The special committee of 99 citizens was tasked with making recommendations to the legislature on the country's Eighth Amendment, which protects the right to life, after hearing testimony from individuals and advocacy groups on the issue. The Assembly voted 52-29 in favor of unrestricted access to abortion, with 25 of the 52 supporting abortion in the first trimester, 23 in favor of a 22 week limit and 4 supporting no restrictions. In the committee's report, which will be presented to parliament by the end of June, Ms Justice Laffoy, a Supreme Court judge and chair of the assembly, will recommend to parliament that the law should permit abortion on demand for the first trimester. The committee's recommendations will now go to the Dail for a vote, and then a public referendum will determine if the Eighth Amendment will be replaced. Irish ministers have responded to the vote urging swift action. The justice minister suggested a vote within a year.

Ireland: Health Minister Targets Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Ireland's health minister Simon Harris seeks to shut down a few pro-life crisis pregnancy centers following a news investigation showed counselors linking abortion to trauma, breast cancer and regret. The Times accused the crisis pregnancy centers of manipulating information and providing free ultrasounds to persuade women to choose life. The undercover operation by The Times of Ireland included pro-life counselors from Human Life International's 'Ask Majella' crisis pregnancy center counseling women on abortion. Patrick McCrystal, executive director of Human Life International Ireland, said he was not surprised. "'Ask Majella' is one of the few organizations supporting women by giving them the full truth about the humanity of the unborn child and the horrific nature of abortion," said McCrystal.

Judicial News
USA: Pro-Life Groups Applaud Addition of Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

The U.S. Senate has confirmed pro-life nominee Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court by a vote of 54-45, despite strong opposition from pro-abortion Democrats and groups including Planned Parenthood. Both sides utilized parliamentary maneuvers, with Democrats filibustering the nomination and Republicans employing the nuclear option which changed the number of votes needed to approve the nomination from 60 to a simple majority. Gorsuch has demonstrated a support for the right to life in past comments on Roe v Wade and against assisted suicide; pro-life groups celebrated his appointment. "All too often, our efforts to protect unborn children and other vulnerable humans have been overridden by judges who believe they have a right to impose their own policy preferences. Judge Gorsuch appears to believe that judges are constrained to enforce the text and original intent of constitutional provisions, and on all other matters should defer to democratically elected lawmakers - this heartens us, and alarms those who have relied on activist judges to impose their radical pro-abortion policies," said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias.

USA: Pro-Life Groups Applaud Addition of Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

The U.S. Senate has confirmed pro-life nominee Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court by a vote of 54-45, despite strong opposition from pro-abortion Democrats and groups including Planned Parenthood. Both sides utilized parliamentary maneuvers, with Democrats filibustering the nomination and Republicans employing the nuclear option which changed the number of votes needed to approve the nomination from 60 to a simple majority. Gorsuch has demonstrated a support for the right to life in past comments on Roe v Wade and against assisted suicide; pro-life groups celebrated his appointment. "All too often, our efforts to protect unborn children and other vulnerable humans have been overridden by judges who believe they have a right to impose their own policy preferences. Judge Gorsuch appears to believe that judges are constrained to enforce the text and original intent of constitutional provisions, and on all other matters should defer to democratically elected lawmakers - this heartens us, and alarms those who have relied on activist judges to impose their radical pro-abortion policies," said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias.

Sweden: Court Rules Against Midwife's Conscience Rights
The Swedish Labour Court has ruled against a pro-life midwife, setting a precedent of denying conscience rights for Christian midwives. The Court ruled that the maternity clinic where Ellinor Grimmark was seeking employment was within its rights to deny Grimmark the job based on her objection to assisting abortions and distributing abortion pills based on her Christian faith. "The Swedish Labour Court considers that a portion of the [midwife's] demands are too out-of-date and no longer applicable, and that the midwife has not been able to prove some of her claims," stated the court. Grimmark plans to appeal the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

 
 
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