Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 13
No. 8
October, 2019
 
Focus on Northern Ireland
Time Running Out for Unborn Children in Northern Ireland
The final countdown for the political parties in Northern Ireland (NI) to re-establish an Executive government and follow legislative procedure to determine any changes to the law on abortion expires in a few days. If no power-sharing Executive is functioning by Monday October 21 the abortion regime passed by MPs in the United Kingdom will be imposed on unborn children in NI allowing their death until the 7th month of pregnancy.
 
Of the two political parties engaged in the long standing disagreement, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has successfully called for the National Assembly to return to Stormont in a last-ditch attempt to stop the imposition of abortion on NI. The petition signed by 31 MLAs resulted in Speaker Robin Newton informing all 90 MLAs of the petition and that a special sitting of the Assembly will take place on Monday.
 
Return of the Northern Ireland Assembly is not enough, however, to stop the violence of abortion from ending lives in NI as the Northern Ireland Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Act specifically states that positions within the Stormont Executive must be filled on or before October 21, 2019 in order for the new laws passed by the UK Parliament not to take effect.
 
The other power-sharing political party, Sinn Féin, continues to obstruct formation of the Executive and is the source of a pro-life lobby effort led by Precious Life. The organization is urging protest calls to Sinn Féin representatives against its support for the new abortion law. Its website states: "With the DUP ready to return to Stormont to form a power-sharing Executive to halt this law, the blame for the introduction of the most extreme abortion law in Europe will lie at Sinn Féin's door. If it does not agree to reconvene Stormont by this Monday, October 21st, the most cruel and extreme abortion law in Europe will be thrusted upon Northern Ireland against the democratic will of the people here." 
 
Recent polling demonstrated that 57% of people in Northern Ireland oppose legalizing abortion, including a majority of women. Dawn McAvoy, a spokeswoman for the Both Lives Matter which commissioned the poll, explained that as October 21 approaches, "the public is realising just how bad the law imposed by Westminster is".
 
"The majority of people of Northern Ireland do not want these changes, no Northern Ireland MP voted in favour of the abortion amendment proposing these changes, and the majority of councils in Northern Ireland have now voted against these changes," she said.
 
Read more here.
Northern Ireland: High Court Rules Pro-Life a Violation of Human Rights
Northern Ireland's High Court has ruled the country's pro-life law is in "breach" of the UK's human rights commitments. The case was brought forth by citizen Sarah Ewart, who procured an abortion in England when she couldn't get one in NI following a terminal prenatal diagnosis. The judge ruled in favor with Ms Ewart but also deferred issuing a formal statement of incompatibility in light of pending legislation. UK-passed legislation is set to legalize abortion in Northern Ireland on October 21st unless the Northern Ireland parliament reconvenes in time. It has been disbanded for the last three years.
 
Pro-life group Precious Life, who had intervened in the case, protested the ruling. "It's a sad day in Northern Ireland when the Belfast High Court can completely ignore the UK's commitment to uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; strip away legal protection for the unborn child, and deny the inherent right to life to every child before their birth," said Precious Life director Bernadette Smyth. "The ruling is incompatible with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - signed by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - which states very clearly that every child "...needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, BEFORE as well as after BIRTH...EVERY CHILD has the inherent RIGHT TO LIFE.""
 
Roger Kiska from the Christian Legal Centre commented on the abortion activism by the UK courts and wrote: "The High Court's reasoning is remarkable in its inconsistencies in finding that the current Northern Irish law breaches the European Convention of Human Rights. No other court, apart from the aforementioned non-binding Supreme Court judgment, has ever suggested that the Convention confers a right to abortion."
Defending Life
President Trump Calls for Protection of All with Down Syndrome
This October, President Donald Trump commemorated Down Syndrome Awareness Month calling for the protection of all persons with Down syndrome, including the unborn. "This month is an important opportunity for Americans to reaffirm our commitment to creating a society that better appreciates and respects the dignity of life at all of its beautiful and miraculous stages.  We must devote our efforts to ensure that the United States continues to exhibit reverence for human life-both born and unborn," said President Trump in a statement.  
 
President Trump thanked individuals with Down syndrome for their "incredible contributions" to society and affirmed his Administration's commitment to helping individuals overcome challenges and pursue their dreams. He also lamented the discrimination persons with Down syndrome are subject to, including the high rate of abortion for unborn babies. "My Administration also renews its commitment to bring attention to and a deeper understanding of the challenges these remarkable Americans face, including their struggle against discrimination. Those thought to have Down syndrome also risk being subjected to the too-often terminations of their lives before birth," said Trump. 
UK: MP Seeks to Defund Abortion Industry Giant
Fiona Bruce MP has launched a parliamentary motion asking the Government to cut funding to abortion provider Marie Stopes International (MSI) which received more than £48 million (nearly $62,000,000) from the Government in 2018. She questions why the Government has increased its funding for access to abortion "at the expense of strengthening the delivery of quality maternal care programmes".
 
The motion reads that MSI has performed almost five million abortions in 2018 and has had its funding from the Government "increased by over 5,000 per cent in the last 12 years to over £48 million in 2018 making the UK taxpayer the largest donor to that organization". Bruce also challenged the salary of MSI's chief executive Simon Cooke who was reported to have received a combined salary and bonus of £434,500 ($560,000,000) in 2018 putting him in the top 10 earners in the charity sector.
 
Lord David Alton supported the motion stating, "The enormous amounts of taxpayer money being used to fund this scandal-ridden organisation to end the lives of millions of babies must stop".
 
Alton continued, "Marie Stopes has been prevented by some Governments from functioning after performing illegal abortions in their countries. It has also been investigated by the Care Quality Commission, who said it had endangered the safety of women in the UK, and that one woman bled to death after having an abortion in one of their clinics in London."
 
He called on UK voters to become informed on candidates' positions on the use of taxpayer money for abortion overseas stating, "Before an election takes place, constituents should be asking candidates where they stand on UK taxpayers funding millions of overseas abortions, rather than feeding the hungry, helping refugees, tacking illness, or developing infrastructure or the economies of developing countries."
 
"Constituents should challenge all candidates to say whether they will vote to stop using taxpayers' money to fund abortions overseas and ask current MPs to back the campaign in the House of Commons led by Fiona Bruce MP," he said.
 
Right to Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson reacted to the motion stating: "It is appalling that 'international development' now consists of funding overseas abortions at an ever-increasing rate along with funding lobby teams to introduce extreme abortion laws in developing countries."
 
"We support Fiona Bruce's parliamentary motion to cut all international development funding provided to Marie Stopes International and encourage other MPs to add their signatures to it," she added.
Australia: Thousands March for Babies in Victoria
Thousands of pro-lifers marched in Victoria for the 10th annual March for the Babies, marking ten years of liberal abortion on demand in the province. Victoria legalized abortion in October 2008, when it passed what organizers call the most extreme abortion law in the world. Pro-life leaders encouraged marchers to stand up for life despite the bullying, intimidation and backlash they may receive as several other pro-life groups already have. "I can't guarantee that it won't happen to you, but I can guarantee that it is worth it," said Rebecca Gosper with Life Choice Australia.
Slovakia: Thousands Fill Streets for March for Life
In anticipation of an upcoming parliament debate on abortion, approximately 50,000 pro-life Slovakians came out for the country's third March for Life. Slovakians urged the adoption of increased restrictions on abortion, which is currently available on demand for the first trimester and up to 24 weeks for health and life of the mother or the unborn baby's life limiting diagnosis. Marchers celebrated a decline in the country's rate of abortion, down nearly 50 percent in the last ten years. "We want freedom for unborn children to be able to be born and live free human lives," said March organizer Marek MichalĨík.
Germany: Largest March for Life Yet
Pro-life supporters assembled in Berlin for their largest march with 8,000 Germans calling for the protection of unborn children. The "Marsches für das Leben" featured speeches from Catholic bishops, former politicians, and other pro-life leaders. Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau emphasized the need to protect every life from conception to natural death and Hubert Hüppe, a former member of the German Bundestag and disability commissioner, encouraged pro-life Germans to lobby their lawmakers to support the right to life. German's Health Ministry is currently considering a proposal for state health insurance to cover prenatal genetic testing for conditions such as Down syndrome.
Mexico: Thousands Across Mexico March for Life and Family
Over 600,000 Mexicans filled the streets across Mexico in support of the right to life and for the family. Mexico's National Front for Family (FNF) organized the march that was held in Mexico City and 100 other Mexican cities and towns. The purpose of the march was to "defend life, family and fundamental freedoms," said FNF president Rodrigo Iván Cortés. Cortés explained the strong push by government officials to legalize abortion, aided by funding and efforts by powerful NGOs such as International Planned Parenthood. "Authentic democracy will only be possible when fundamental freedoms for conscience and belief are respected, as well as parents' freedom to educate their children," said Cortés. A declaration was read in the towns where marchers assembled that called on the Mexican government to protect the rights of its citizens, "starting with the most vulnerable Mexicans. If we cannot guarantee life, we certainly cannot do so for the rest of basic values." The declaration rejected all forms of violence, including abortion.
International Pressure for Abortion
UNFPA Sponsors Strategy Session with IPPF
As controversy surrounding promotion of 'sexual and reproductive health and rights', including international access to abortion, at next month's UNFPA sponsored Nairobi Summit marking the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development continues to grow, UNFPA is rallying supporters of the radical pro-abortion agenda. 
 
Earlier this month, UNFPA co- sponsored a strategy session in Athens with IPPF's Swedish affiliate, Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RSFU) titled "Inspire for the Future: A Journey Towards Success.
 
Attendees and speakers were largely from pro-abortion organizations from within and outside Europe that counter the work of pro-life organizations at the UN and in Europe including IPPF, SheDecides, Rutgers, ARROW, IWHC, Women on Waves, Women on Web, Catholics for Choice, European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, ASTRA, European Women's Lobby, Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights, and Engender Health-to name a few.
 
According to UNFPA, "Between the 30th September and the 2nd October, the Future Agenda/Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 will be one of the three key priorities at our upcoming Inspire 2019 Conference, where we will develop input from Europe on the five themes that will be covered at the Nairobi Summit. Don't miss the chance to gather with other 200 representatives from civil society, academia, funders, policy makers and international organisations working to ensure Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for all!"
 
The other two priorities for UNFPA at the Inspire conference were "Access to Medical Abortion" and "Anti-Gender Movement". Access to so-called medical abortion-the use of abortion inducing medication-received a great deal of attention at the meeting and at the workshop "Medical Abortion as a tool for women's empowerment and reproductive justice: focusing on the positive aspects and recognising the challenges". One of the speakers on access to abortion pills was Rebecca Gomperts founder of Aid Access and Women on Waves, which prescribes and mails misoprostol and mifepristone, the drugs required for RU 486 abortion, to women around the world including in the US. It was ordered by the US Food and Drug administration to cease-and-desist its operations into the US. Gomperts filed a civil action lawsuit in federal court in Idaho against the FDA.
 
Jon O'Brien from Catholics for Choice (self-titled) was a panelist on the topic "Debating Religion and SRHR - What does successful leadership look like?" organized by Faith to Action Network and the Church of Sweden. It was determined that more attention is needed "in explaining the underlying moral and ethical underpinnings of sexual and reproductive health and rights" and advised that "avoiding discussing morals and ethics in the public space gives religious manipulators an easy playground."
 
Tweets issued by attendees were most revealing of the discussions which took place:
 
--We had an exciting session sexying up medical abortion, ICPD, gender and contraception at @Inspire_SRHR with @SexualTriangle and @thepleasureproj #Inspire2019 @Gvanca and @dvsdawn in da house!
 
---"The opposition is loud, but small. We are big, but not (yet) loud enough. Only by working together, supporting each other, joining forces, connecting all sectors and not forgetting the personal aspect, can we win."  
 
---Only by working together as governments, activists, civil society and private sector will we be able to achieve #SRHR and #genderequality for all worldwide. Joined forces on the road to Nairobi #ICPD25 #NairobiSummit #SheDecides

--And the pushback on safe abortion is getting stronger worldwide! Incomprehensible

 

Legislative News
Ecuador: Parliament Fails to Pass Abortion Bill
Ecuador's National Assembly has voted against increasing access to abortion, keeping the current law permitting it in cases of the life or health of the mother. The proposed change would have allowed abortion in cases of rape or fetal handicap, however, legislators failed to get enough support to approve the bill. The proposal received 65 votes in favor, 59 against and 6 abstentions, making it short the required 70 votes needed. Ahead of the vote, archbishop of Quito, Alfredo Espinoza, called for lawmakers to oppose the bill saying: "God is the God of life, not the God of death." Pro-abortion activists reacted strongly following the vote, clashing with police.  
Australia: NSW Passes Abortion Bill
The New South Wales (NSW) parliament passed the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019, overturning a century old law banning abortion. The contentious bill will legalize abortion on abortion up to 22 weeks gestation and permit late term abortions with the approval of two doctors. Over 100 amendments were offered to the legislation which was debated in the Upper House for 40 over hours, the third longest in the history of the legislature. Amendments regarding sex-selection abortion and protecting conscience rights were ultimately adopted following inner party debate among the Liberal party, when a few conservative members threatened to leave the coalition government if amendments were included.
 
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of the Archdiocese of Sydney called the passage a "very dark day for New South Wales" and a "defeat for humanity." The law "may be the worst law passed in New South Wales in modern times, because it represents such a dramatic abdication of responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our community," said Archbishop Fisher. The bill now awaits the governor's signature to become law.  
Executive News
US: California Governor Approves Free Medical Abortions for College Students
new law signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom will require state colleges to provide free abortion pills for students. The law provides $200,000 grant to each publicly funded university health center for abortion pills and includes counseling, which the California Catholic Conference pointed out, specifically excludes pro-life counseling. "No government-funded institution, medical or counseling center, should ever provide only one set of services," said Andrew Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference. "If this bill is truly about providing choices for female students, the state should then also require and fund life-affirming services on campus."
Brazil: Minister Criticizes Publication of WHO's Controversial Abortion Guidelines
Brazil's minister for women, the family and human rights has called for an investigation into a magazine that provided instructions for illegal abortions based on guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO). Minister Damares Alves said the magazine AzMina published tutorials on how to self-administer abortion drugs and other abortion methods using guidelines promoted by the WHO. The WHO suggested guidelines included in the report featured the dangerous practice of DIY abortions without medical supervision using illegal abortion drugs. The recommendations also violate Brazil's law banning abortions except in cases of rape or life of the mother. Minister Alves stated her concern with the magazine's report and the "real possibility that publishing this information places the lives of girls at risk."
Judicial News
Italy: High Court Rules In Favor of Euthanasia
Italy's high court has ruled in favor of assisted suicide in cases where the patient experiences "intolerable suffering". The case centered on the case of a popular Italian DJ Fabiano Antoniani who suffered blindness and paralysis of his arms and legs following a car accident in 2014 and sought to end his life. Antoniani ultimately traveled to Switzerland in 2017 where he was died by euthanasia. The Italian court agreed with Antoniani, ruling that the country's law should permit assisted suicide for certain circumstances where a terminal condition is "causing physical and psychological suffering that he or she considers intolerable". The parliament is now expected to debate the issue. Just a week before, Pope Francis urged physicians to respect life. "We can and we must reject the temptation, which is also favoured by legislative changes, to use medicine to satisfy a sick person's possible wish to die," said Pope Francis.

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

In this Issue

 
Focus on Northern Ireland
Time Running Out for Unborn Children in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland: High Court Rules Pro-Life a Violation of Human Rights
 
Defending Life
President Trump Calls for Protection of All with Down Syndrome
UK: MP Seeks to Defund Abortion Industry Giant
Australia: Thousands March for Babies in Victoria
 
Slovakia: Thousands Fill Streets for March for Life
Germany: Largest March for Life Yet
Mexico: Thousands Across Mexico March for Life and Family
 
International Pressure for Abortion
UNFPA Sponsors Strategy Session with Pro-Abortion NGOs
 
Legislative News
Ecuador: Parliament Fails to Pass Abortion Bill
Australia: NSW Passes Abortion Bill
 
Executive News
US: California Governor Approves Free Medical Abortions for College Students
Brazil: Minister Criticizes Publication of WHO's Controversial Abortion Guidelines  
 
Judicial News
Italy: High Court Rules In Favor of Euthanasia

 


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