Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 13
No. 2
February, 2019
 
Focus on the U.S.A.
U.S. Congress Debates Late Term Abortion
Senate
The US Senate voted to block consideration of a bill that would provide care for babies born alive after surviving an abortion. The Born Alive Survivors Protection Act would require that medical personnel "exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child" as they would to "any other child born alive at the same gestational age." Senator Mike Rounds said on the Senate floor, "At a bare minimum, every one of us should be able to agree that infanticide, or the killing of a baby after it has been born alive, is unacceptable. This is a separate issue from abortion, which is abhorrent in itself." In the procedural vote requiring 60 affirmative votes, all except 3 Democrats voted to block the motion from coming to a vote with a final vote of 53-44.
 
"Thanks to the governors of New York and Virginia, and 44 pro-abortion Democrat Senators, the extreme pro-abortion agenda has been laid bare for all to see," said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. "They believe it should be legal to kill unborn babies, for absolutely any reason, at any time up to and including the moment of their birth, and even in the moments after they are born."
 
House
Similar legislation in the House, H.R.962 - Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act-sponsored by Rep Anne Wagner, would require that babies who are born alive after an abortion receive life-saving care and penalizes doctors who allow such infants to die or who kill a child who survives a failed abortion. Current law identifies babies born alive as "people" but does not specify the level of care they are entitled to receive. The House, under Democratic control led by Speaker Pelosi, has so far refused 10 requests by Republicans to allow consideration of the bill.
 
Rep. Roger Marshall, MD, posted the video of a #End Infanticide press conference by pro-life Members of the House on his Facebook page stating,"Killing a baby born alive is infanticide. We should all be able to agree that, once born, every baby deserves protection. Today House Republicans are standing up to Democrats that blocked the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act that would provide medical care to infants that survive a botched abortion."
 
Rep. Wagner and Republican Whip Steve Scalise plan to file a motionto discharge the resolution from the Rules Committee if Democrats continue to block the bill from consideration after 30 legislative days.
HHS Finalizes "Protect Life" Rule
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the finalized rule regarding family planning funding under what is known as Title X. The new "Protect Life" rule states that grantees receiving Title X family planning funds would not be eligible for tax dollars if they are also in the abortion business unless they completely separate the abortion business from the family planning work, including separate buildings and staff. The rule states: None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.
 
The Protect Life rule also states that those programs receiving Title X funding cannot refer patients for abortions as a method of family planning. The regulation "eliminates the requirement that Title X providers offer abortion counseling and referral" and would require a "clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning." The rule expands the current policy which prohibits the use of Title X funding to perform abortions.
 
Currently, 41 percent of Title X patients are seen at facilities run by Planned Parenthood, which receives up to $60 million a year for family planning services. In order to continue to receive Title X funding, facilities will have to comply with the new regulations.  
 
The rule was requested in a letter from 153 pro-life Members of Congress to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and in a letter from 41 Senators.
 
Life-affirming pregnancy care centers were encouraged by the news which was welcomed by pro-life leaders. Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, stated,
"President Trump continues to fulfill his promises to the pro-life movement, doing everything in his power as President to take money away from the abortion industry. The Trump administration's Protect Life Rule preserves our Title X tax dollars from funding abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood. President Trump understands that Title X money should focus on health care, not on the killing of children. Not a dime of money will be diverted from health care - only from abortion. The majority of Americans don't want their hard-earned dollars to fund abortion, even indirectly.

 

U.S. States Advancing Laws to Protect Life
State legislatures have been busy passing bills dealing with abortion, some advancing bills to protect and some to allow the death the unborn children at later stages of gestation. The passage of brutal laws in New York and Vermont, and proposed in Virginia, permitting the abortion of a child during and even after birth put late term abortion in the spotlight and motivated a number of state legislatures to take action.
 
Several states have passed or are considering bills to limit abortions and even ban it, if and when the Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Court decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Dolton that made abortion on demand the law in the US. Recent state legislative actions include:
 
Arkansas
Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law the Human Life Protection Act, Senate Bill 149, which would prohibit all abortions in the state once Roe v. Wade is overturned. The new law would ban all abortions except in cases to save a mother's life. "It's time for the United States to redress and correct what many believe is a grave injustice and a crime against humanity which is being perpetuated by the decisions of Roe v. Wade," said bill sponsor state Sen. Jason Rapert.
 
Mississippi
The House and Senate both passed bills to ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, about six weeks gestation. "I see in this country that we protect sea turtle eggs and we protect other endangered species of animals with a greater degree of scrutiny and zealousness than we protect a child in the womb,"
Republican Sen. Angela Hill, a sponsor of the Mississippi bill, said as she fought back tears during a debate.
 
Missouri
The House approved a bill providing the most comprehensive protections for the unborn baby by a vote of 117-39. House Bill 126 would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected (6 weeks), when an unborn baby can feel pain (20 weeks), ban abortions done on the basis of the child's race, gender or Down syndrome diagnosis, require parental notification for minors, and would prohibit all abortions in the state if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The bill also declares that "God is the author of life". "We watched what happened to New York and Virginia, and it was somewhat of a call to action," said House Speaker Elijah Haahr. "The goal of this underlying bill is to protect the unborn in this state."
 
Kentucky
Kentucky's House passed House Bill 148 to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The legislation would make abortion a felony except in cases of the life of the mother. "HB 148 (will) provide full legal protection to every unborn child in Kentucky from the moment of fertilization to childbirth only if the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade or the Constitution is amended to restore authority to any state to prohibit abortion,"
said state Rep Joe Fischer. 
 
The Kentucky House also approved House Bill 5 to ban abortions performed based on a baby's race, sex, color, ethnicity or disability by a vote of 67-25. Additionally, Kentucky's Senate passed Senate Bill 9 to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected (6 weeks) by a vote of 31-6.
 
Idaho
Idaho's Senate passed a bill to ban partial-birth abortions. While federal law does prohibit partial-birth abortions, bill proponents say the legislation sends a strong message that Idaho supports life.
 
Tennessee
A House committee approved State House Bill 77 to ban nearly all abortions once a heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for medical emergencies. "We owe it to our taxpayers to use every available resource to save babies' lives,"
said bill sponsor Rep. Micah Van Huss.
 
Utah
The House passed House Bill 136 to ban abortion after 18 weeks pregnancy by a vote of 57-15. "We now know much more than we did know about abortion in 1973 and its risks to women's health," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Cheryl Acton.
New Poll: More Americans Identify as Pro-Life
new Marist poll shows in an increase in Americans identifying as pro-life vs. "pro-choice", with a significant percentage of increase from young Democrats. A poll in January showed 28 percent of Democrats under age 45 called themselves pro-life, compared to 47 in the recent poll. Among all Democrats, there was an increase from 20 to 34 percent identifying as pro-life. It is believed that the significant shift can be attributed to the radical state abortion policies passed in recent weeks as New York legalized abortion up to childbirth and Virginia's Governor Northram expressed his support for letting babies die post-birth.
 
The poll saw in increase in Americans wanting to limit abortion to the first trimester, up to 80 percent from 75, and 80 percent of Americans oppose abortions in the last 3 months of pregnancy. Barbara Carvalho, who directed the Marist poll said this is "first time since 2009 that as many or more Americans have identified as pro-life as have identified as pro-choice."
Focus on the United Nations
Abortion Included as Part of "Humanitarian" Health Care
Access to abortion is included as part of the Minimal Initial Service Package (MISP) for women in the revised manual for reproductive health in humanitarian settings by the Inter Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises. The group's mission is "To expand and strengthen access to quality sexual and reproductive health services for people affected by conflict and natural disaster" which it seeks to do through the '2018 Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings'. Access to abortion is included part of the Minimal Initial Service Package (MISP) that is offered to women fleeing violence and natural disaster.
 
The Steering Committee for the working group includes WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, Women's Refugee Commission and radical pro abortion NGOs including IPPF, Ipas, Center for Reproductive Rights, and Population Council. Associate Members include Human Rights Watch, Gynuity Health Projects, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Women Deliver, all leading promoters of abortion.
 
The word 'abortion' appears 476 times in the 270 page manual. Chapter 3 on MISP and Chapter 8 on "Comprehensive Abortion Care" include abortion as part of MISP: "Comprehensive abortion care constitutes a life-saving intervention and is therefore incorporated into the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP), a set of priorities activities to be undertaken at the onset of a crisis.
 
Past versions of the manual have been considered a credible source on how to provide for women's reproductive health needs. Implementation of the recommendations of this revised version is problematic for faith-based health providers working in humanitarian settings who do not perform or promote the violence of abortion. The manual states: All service delivery activities of the MISP need to be implemented simultaneously through coordinated actions with all relevant partners. The MISP for SRH is a health standard within the Sphere Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.
International Pressure for Abortion
"Brussels Declaration" Advances Abortion as a Right
Attempts are underway in Europe and soon at the United Nations during the March Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to gather support for the Brussels Declaration-"The voluntary termination of pregnancy: a fundamental right of women".
 
The Declaration was created last summer at an NGO meeting hosted by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the French speaking federal community of Belgium, whose Minister for Women's Rights stated, "On the brink of the European elections, in some EU countries we are experiencing an upsurge in conservative movements, severely threatening the right to abortion. We cannot lose our focus or decrease our efforts in this respect. The right to abortion is a priority for every one of us."
 
The radical Declaration is intended to solicit pro-abortion support from individuals and from candidates running in the May election to the European Parliament. It includes the demand "that, in all countries of the world, voluntary termination of pregnancy is a matter for health"; requests "that this medical act be considered as a right to health covered by social security or, where appropriate, medical aid systems for women without social security"; requests "the abolition, in legislation, of the conscience clause specific to voluntary termination of pregnancy, which is already granted on an individual basis for any medical act;" and states "Refuse any attempt to give a legal personality to a fetus".
 
Sexuality education programs are required as is the removal of "any impediment to access and information regarding the termination of pregnancy."Leading abortion activists from the European Parliament and throughout Europe, including IPPF, are part of the initiative.
 
It was announced that Rudy Demotte, Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation will bring the abortion Declaration to CSW in an attempt to gain support. He declared his abortion support saying, "Sign the Declaration! Let's speak as one voice in conveying a clear message both to the heart of and within the wings of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The more numerous we are, the greater weight our voice will carry."
Legislative News
UK: Committee Questions Abortion Law in N. Ireland
The Women and Equalities Committee of the UK Parliament held its final sessionexamining Northern Ireland's abortion law. Committee Members explained that the inquiry was triggered in part by a report by the United Nations treaty monitoring body for the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which concluded in 2016 "that the rights of women in Northern Ireland were being violated by restrictions on access to abortion, and argued that devolution of power over criminal law to the Northern Ireland Assembly did not remove the responsibility of the UK Government for this matter."
 
The Committee was told by UK appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, that the UK government cannot make changes to Northern Ireland's abortion law and that she does not have the executive power required to enforce legislative changes to Northern Ireland's institutions and implement any changes in abortion law. Maura McCallion from Office of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland stated that it was the Attorney General's view that no action was required.
 
Pro-life witness, attorney Roger Kiska of Christian Concern, dismantled the Committee's grounds for the hearing stating, "The reality is, the entire premise that Westminster has legal competency to intervene into Northern Ireland's affairs regarding abortion is built on a house of cards which requires us to accept 3 things: (1) the unborn child has no value or rights; (2) there is a human right to abortion; (3) the CEDAW committee's periodic report on the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland has binding effect.
 
The day before the hearing, pro-life and pro-abortion protests took place outside Westminster. Both Lives Matter, a new collaborative movement of individuals and organizations seeking to reframe the abortion debate in Northern Ireland, used data analysis to highlight that "100,000 people are alive today because Northern Ireland did not bring in the 1967 Abortion Act".
 
Amnesty International led the protest against the right to life of unborn children declaring "Access to abortion is a women's health and human rights issue, and as such should be regulated like any other medical care and not by criminal law. We will be continue fighting until women and girls have access to free, safe and legal abortions in Northern Ireland.
 
Read more here.
Germany: Parliament Approves Abortion Advertisements
Germany's Bundestag voted to allow doctors and hospitals to state they provide abortion services on their websites. The current law included an "advertising ban" in Paragraph 219a which prohibited medical facilities from mentioning abortion. Actual advertising for abortion services is still banned under the law. Germans MPs approved the change by a vote of 371 to 277. 
Executive News
UK: Department of Health Recognizes Unborn Child's Pain

Fiona Bruce, MP, submitted an inquiry to the Department of Health and Social Care related to pain relief for unborn babies with spina bifida who will for the first time receive surgery as part of treatment from National Health Service. She asked two questions: "whether painkiller will be administered to unborn babies with spina bifida who undergo spinal surgery" and "at what age those unborn babies will undergo that surgery." Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Health and Social Care Jackie Doyle-Price responded that "pain relief for the unborn baby will be delivered intra-operatively and administered before the surgery" and that the surgery "takes place between 20 and 26 weeks of gestation". The recognition that an unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks is a major recognition by the UK Department of Health.

Germany: Health Ministry to Study Consequences of Abortion
German federal health minister has secured funding to conduct a scientific studyon the "emotional consequences" of abortion. The five million euro study will look at the "long-term psychological effects" of abortion on women who've undergone the procedure. The announcement follows a Cabinet decision to remove the ban and permit advertising for abortions. Pro-abortion lawmakers and officials loudly protested the announcement, with the Greens calling it "pure populism of the so-called pro-life movement". Limited studies have thoroughly investigated the link, though a 2006 New Zealand study showed that women who had abortions in their youth were at higher risk of anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol abuse later in life.

 
 
Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues
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www.PNCIUS.org has been updated with expanded information on Human Dignity and critical issues including: Abortion, Bioethics, Child Mortality, End of life issues, Infanticide, Maternal mortality and Sex-selective abortion.
 
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