Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 11
No. 5
May, 2017
 
Pro-Life Actions
USA: President Trump's "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance"
President Donald Trump's expansion of the Mexico City Policy, ensuring that foreign assistance funds in the area of health do not go to organizations that perform or support abortion overseas, was announced.  Entitled "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance", the policy specifies that the ban on funding for groups supporting abortion applies to "international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health."
 
The enhanced policy will help ensure that US tax dollars go to saving and protecting lives.

House Pro-Life Caucus co-chair, Rep Chris Smith, writing in Trump's Expansion of Mexico City Policy Is a Major Victory in Protecting Life explains the policy:
 
The new policy establishes pro-child safeguards-benign, humane conditions-on about $8.8 billion in annual global health assistance funding appropriated to the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of State and Defense.
 
Also of significance, the new pro-child, pro-woman safeguards do not reduce funding for global health assistance by so much as a dollar.
 
According to State Department guidance, the policy only applies to foreign NGOs as grantees or subgrantees. Other potential recipients of global health assistance grant money--including national and subnational governments--are exempt, as are refugee and migration assistance programs.
 
President Donald Trump's Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy includes three abortion exceptions--for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. Nothing in the policy prevents foreign NGOs from treating injuries or illnesses that were caused by any abortion.
 
For years, pro-abortion organizations have used U.S. taxpayer funds to weaken, undermine, or reverse pro-life laws in other nations and systematically destroy the precious lives of unborn children.
 
Scores of countries throughout the world have been besieged by aggressive and well-funded campaigns to overturn their pro-life laws and policies.
 
The Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy will significantly mitigate U.S. taxpayer complicity in global abortion.
 
U.S. foreign policy--and the foreign entities we fund with billions of dollars in grant money--should consistently affirm, care for, and tangibly assist women and children.
 
The new Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy is inclusive of all people, regardless of their age, race, sex, disability, or condition of dependency-especially the weakest and most vulnerable.
East Africa: Pro-Abortion Bill Falters
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA)- an intergovernmental organization composed of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda-concluded its final session before elections without debating the contentious Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Bill, 2017The legislation instructs Partner States to allow abortion under broad sweeping and subjective terms and would place the determination of which abortions can be considered legal to a "trained health professional" which the bill defines as "any person or institution that has been authorized to deliver health care services".
 
An NGO report states that the General Purposes Committee tasked with reporting on the bill had yet to finalize the bill due to the large number of public comments, petitions and opinions it received on the bill.  Pro-life advocates have been voicing their opposition to the radical bill and its non-African views while even members of the EALA who supported the bill expressed concern over NGO involvement. Hon Nancy Abisai stated, "Civil society needs to be strategic when it comes to bill making process. At the East Africa Legislative Assembly they need to take a back seat as bills sometimes fail once it is discovered that they were initiated by civil society organizations. In most instances, CSOs are seen as introducing foreign principles to the East Africa Community."
 
PNCI reported in March that pro-life lawmakers in Uganda had organized the Parliamentary Forum on Ethics and Integrity in response to the draft legislation.
Focus on the UN
UN: Pro-Abortion NGOs and Countries Collaborate at UPR
The Philippines' recent Universal Periodic Report (UPR) during the 27th Session of the UPR Working Group and the questions asked by Member States demonstrate the increased collaboration between abortion-promoting NGOs and pro-abortion governments to influence country reviews and criticize pro-life laws.  A briefing was held in Manila with various embassies by the Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN), led by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and Engenderights . This was followed a month later by a briefing with embassies in Geneva resulting in abortion questions being asked of the Philippines by Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden.
 
Questions submitted in advance, Addendum 1 contains the questions which include:

Is the Government of the Philippines taking steps to repeal all legislation criminalizing abortion, including healthcare providers performing such services, and take measures to allow legal and safe abortions at a minimum in cases of rape or incest, where the life or health of the women and girls is at risk, or where the fetus is not viable?  Belgium
 
What steps are being taken by the government of the Philippines to ensure the full implementation of laws guaranteeing women's and minor's access to the full range of reproductive health information and services as well as to decriminalize abortion on all grounds and legalise abortion in cases of rape, incest, threats to the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, or fetal impairment?  Netherlands
 
During the last Universal Periodic Review, the Philippines noted recommendations to amend the abortion law to allow for safe abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the health or life of the pregnant woman is at risk. In November 2016, the Philippine Commission on Human Rights made a recommendation for Congress to review the abortion ban and to consider the recommendations of CEDAW to decriminalize abortion. What steps does the Government of the Philippines intend to take in response to these recommendations?  Sweden

The rate of teenage pregnancies is on the rise in the Philippines. The Committee on the Rights of the Child in General comment No. 20 (2016) on the implementation of the rights of the child during adolescence (CRC/C/GC/20) stated: "There should be no barriers to commodities, information and counselling on sexual and reproductive health and rights, such as requirements for third-party consent or authorization". Taking this into consideration, has the Government of the Philippines any plans to propose that the RPRH law is amended to allow access of minors to modern methods of family planning without parental consent?  Sweden
 
The NGOs submitted their own report; recommendations included:
To take immediate steps to review the criminal abortion ban, decriminalize abortion on all grounds and legalize it in cases where a pregnant woman's or girl's life or physical or mental health is in danger, where the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, and in cases of fetal impairment.
 

Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden have been leading critics of President Trump's action to stop US funding of pro-abortion NGOs.

New Director General of WHO Asked to Advance Abortion
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia was elected on the third ballot at the World Health Assembly in Geneva to serve as the new Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) for a five year renewable term. Dr Tedros' election was welcomed by pro-abortion organizations that wasted no time in soliciting his support for their radical agenda.
  
In a letter signed by 122 pro abortion NGOs including IPPF, Marie Stopes International, Ipas and 'Catholics' for Choice, Tedros--known to support the sexual and reproductive health agenda-- is "warmly congratulated" as the groups urge him as incoming WHO Director General "to fully support, pursue, and defend a comprehensive approach to women's health, accounting for the full spectrum of women and girls' sexual and reproductive health issues, needs, and rights."
  
The letter reviles laws restricting abortion charging, "Women and girls worldwide continue to face barriers such as inadequate sexual and reproductive health information and services; stigma and discrimination when attempting to access such services; parental and/or marital consent requirements; and restrictive abortion laws."
  
The groups take aim at President Trump's pro-life actions stating, "...we find it imperative to draw attention to the recent alarming rollbacks regarding women and girls' health and rights, such as the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule by the Trump administration, and U.S. funding cuts to the UNFPA. These regressive steps only exacerbate the current context, undermine progress, and violate women and girls' human rights to information, health, bodily integrity, life, and autonomy in reproductive decision-making, among others."
  
Specifically, the groups charge that the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda "cannot be achieved without prioritizing the health and rights of women and girls, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights." It states that in "light of these recent backslides, it is imperative that you stand strong to achieve the following:
  
Resist any attempted rollbacks on women's health, and ensure that women and girls' health and rights remain a priority
  
Ensure that women and girls' health and rights, including their SRHR, are incorporated into strategies for achieving universal health coverage and access to healthcare
  
Reaffirm and advance evidence- and rights-based commitments to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services."
  
The Director General of International Planned Parenthood (IPPF), Tewodros Melesse, praised Tedros "for his work in furthering sexual and reproductive health care as Ethiopia's Heath Minister". Melesse stated"I wish Dr Tedros every success as he takes on the task of leading the United Nations' health agency.  It is a critical role, and IPPF will do all that it can to help the WHO's new Director in his stated priority of putting the wellbeing of women, children and adolescents at the centre of global health and development. The wellbeing of women and young people cannot be achieved without access to good quality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. I'm sure Dr Tedros will do all he can to promote and prioritise the vitally needed improvements in SRH services."
 
In addition, the International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion has already called on Tedros to officially acknowledge September 28 as 'International Safe Abortion Day'.
 
Pro-Abortion Actions
OAS: IACHR Hearing on Bill to Legalize Abortion in Chile
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a hearing on legislation in Chile to overturn the law banning all abortions.  The hearing was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the request of US-based Center for Reproductive Rights and Chilean NGOs Miles Chile and the Isabel Allende Foundation.

Despite having the lowest rate of maternal mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean, pressure has been increasing for legislators to add legal exceptions to the law. The IACHR heard testimony in favor of abandoning pro-life protections and a request that the IACHR contact the Chilean Congress in support of the legislation.

Commissions in the Chilean Senate have been considering the technical aspects of the legislation to allow abortion for cases of "life-endangerment, sexual violence, and fatal fetal impairments". Lilian Sepúlveda, vice president of the Global Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights said: "The Inter-American Commission and reproductive health allies worldwide must continue to press the Chilean Congress to pass this critical abortion bill."
 
The Isabel Allende Foundation founded by the Chilean novelist, funds pro-abortion organizations in Chile and the US including the Center for Reproductive Rights, MILES Chile, Human Rights Watch, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood. 

Legislative News
New South Wales: Defeats Bill to Legalize Abortion
The New South Wales parliament rejected legislation to legalize abortion by a vote of 25 to 14. The Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 would have removed abortion from the criminal code and created zones around clinics to prohibit pro-life protestors. The bill was sponsored by the Greens and did not have the support of any members of the government. Leading up to the vote, Archbishop Fisher had urged all Catholics in Sydney to defend life by signing a petition to the NSW members of parliament. New South Wales is the second Australian state to defeat abortion legislation; Queensland rejected a similar bill earlier this year.
Tasmania: Rejects Euthanasia
The Tasmanian parliament voted against a bill to permit assisted suicide in the state by a vote of 8 to 16. The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill of 2016 would permit euthanasia for the terminally ill, but also for anyone with "a serious, incurable and irreversible medical condition." Health Minister Michael Ferguson warned the bill would make those suffering vulnerable to exploitation. "This is in fact a dangerous bill that will in fact create a different group of cruel tragedies," said Minister Ferguson. "We've said every suicide is too many yet before us is a bill that would sanction suicide."
 
Disability groups also raised concerns of the implications. Daniel Pask with the disability group Lives Worth Living condemned the bill. "People with an alarmingly broad, poorly defined array of conditions would have been permitted assisted suicide had this bill passed," said Pask. "So it posted a real threat and sent a terrible message to people with disabilities, whose basic needs and human rights often still go unment, that our lives are not worth living." The legislation was the third attempt to legalize euthanasia in Tasmania in the past decade.
Ontario: Approves Euthanasia Bill without Conscience Protections
Lawmakers in Ontario have passed Bill 84, legislation to amend six laws to facilitate implementation of the federal law permitting assisted suicide, the Medical Assistance in Dying. The amended bills are designed to ensure that euthanasia patients receive insurance and workplace safety benefits, that their deaths will not be recorded as suicide, and protects practitioners from civil liability. The bill fails to ensure any conscience protections for doctors who object to killing patients. A coalition of doctors who do not want to refer their patients for suicide said that they will be forced out of practice by the new law. 
Judicial News
Canada: Judge Rules against Pro-Life Free Speech
A Canadian judge has banned pro-lifers from protesting outside a hospital in New Brunswick and denied their right to free speech. In the case brought forth by the Vitalite Health Network which operates the hospital, Judge Reginald Leger prohibited pro-life people from protesting anywhere on hospital grounds, claiming they were risking the safety of patients and employees. The 40 Days for Life pro-lifers were praying peacefully and available to speak with women considering abortion. The judge's ruling takes the concept of "buffer zones" a step further.
40 Days for Life President Shawn Carney called the ruling "outrageous and shameful" and stated, "In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down anti-free speech zones in Massachusetts, but Canada is fighting free speech like no one in the U.S."
 
Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi has announced plans to introduce legislation creating "buffer zones" outside any facility that performs abortions. 

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

Pro-Lifers March for Life


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