Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 5
No. 5
May, 2011
International Pressure for Abortion
Pro-abortion organization expands into Latin America and Africa
The radical pro-abortion organization, Center for Reproductive Rights, is expanding its legal work in key regions of Latin America and Africa. The Center has established new offices in Bogota, Colombia and Nairobi, Kenya. Pro-abortion activists have experienced success in both countries via different tactics with strategic assistance from the Center for Reproductive Rights. In Latin American, the organization seeks to exert influence on its priority countries of Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru with the establishment of the new office in Colombia. The Center states that the mission of the office will include " targeting abortion bans and legal barriers to access abortion services" by engaging with policymakers and other activist organizations to "ultimately to build a more powerful and transnational reproductive rights movement," according to Mónica Arango, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Center's International Legal Program and the head of the Bogotá office. 


Arango is from Colombia where she previously was a legal adviser to the Constitutional Court of Colombia before she joined with Monica Roa at Women's Link Worldwide. Roa challenged Colombia's pro-life laws which resulted in the 2006 decision of the Constitutional Court to allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, the life of the mother, or if the child has a disability. The legislature had voted against legalization of abortion six times before the Court decision.


The Center's regional office in Nairobi, Kenya, will concentrate on advancing a reinterpretation of human rights to include abortion and access to abortion under the broad term of reproductive health or health care. The focus of the Center will include "the high incidence of maternal deaths, including those from unsafe abortion, human rights abuses perpetrated against women seeking reproductive healthcare, and adolescent girls' reproductive health."  Targeted countries are Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda as the Center seeks to "transform the landscape of reproductive health and rights worldwide."


The Center was very active in the campaign for the new constitution in Kenya which legalized abortion for a broad health exception and the Nairobi office will be run by Elisa Slattery who previously worked at the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya, an organization which helped write and promote the Kenyan constitution. In a post passage paper-Gains of the New Constitution- the Center states: "Under the new Kenyan Constitution, women have the right to access safe and legal abortion where the pregnancy presents a danger to their mental or physical health."  It continues, "Although not defined in the Kenyan Constitution, health is defined by the World Health Organization as 'a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity'." The U.S. Supreme Court also relied on such a broad definition of health in its abortion decision to allow abortion on demand for all nine months under the guise of a "health" exception.

IPPF New Director General to Promote “Sexual and Reproductive Health”

International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) has appointed a new Director General, Mr. Tewodros Melesse, to lead the world's largest pro-abortion NGO. According to a release, Mr. Melesse seeks to make sure governments recognize the importance of sexual and reproductive health in the context of development and human rights. The release also indicates that as the Regional Director of IPPF's Africa Region since 2002, Mr. Melesse was instrumental in the "development and adoption of the Continental Sexual and Reproductive Health policy framework and the Maputo Plan of Action".   The Maputo Plan of Action included policy and advocacy indicators for the legalization of abortion, for the building of capacity for abortion and for the provision of abortion by increasing the number of health care workers trained in abortion and the number of abortion clinics.

Irish Groups Misrepresented as Supporting Abortion in Report to UN

A deepening controversy surrounding a pro-abortion report for Ireland's Universal Periodic Review resulted in a dozen organizations appearing to endorse abortion while in reality they are pro-life. Several organizations listed as supporters of a report 'Your Rights, Right Now' were unaware the report included a section calling for legalized abortion. Organizations who have since attempted to remove their names from the report have been told by the Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL) that their names will remain because it "is a matter of recorded historical fact which cannot be altered now." The report, which addresses a range of human rights issues, was prepared by pro-abortion organizations and submitted to the UN Human Rights Council for Ireland's country review in October.


Pro-abortion organizations routinely file such "shadow reports" as they are called to UN treaty monitoring bodies to criticize governments whose laws protect children and their mothers from the violence of abortion and to give support to radical voices at the United Nations that advance abortion under re-interpretations of treaties. This recent development demonstrates the need for national pro-life NGO's and Members of Parliaments to prepare and submit statements that uphold respect for the innate value of life to international bodies when their country is under review at the United Nations.

Pro-Life News
US: House Republican Leadership Seeks to Cut UNFPA Funding
Responding to a public vote in favor of defunding the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), House Republicans have introduced legislation to cut its funding. The vote took place on the website YouCut, a forum through which the public gives its input on government funding priorities. On the website, created by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, voters select between three programs to cut and the winning idea is then introduced as a bill in Congress.   Representative Renee Ellmers is introducing the legislation to defund UNFPA. "This is going to save American taxpayers $400 million dollars over a 10 year period and it's just another part of what we're doing here in Washington to cut wasteful spending that we see happening," she said.


Funding to UNFPA was reinstated by President Obama after being withheld under President George W. Bush because of the UNFPA's complicity in China's one-child policy enforced through coerced and forced abortion and sterilization. Organizations which work to protect Chinese women and their children from the abuses of Chinese coercive practices supported the call to defund UNFPA. Women's Rights without Frontiers stated that China's one child policy has led to other human rights violations including gendercide, sexual slavery and female suicide. All Girls Allowed celebrated the vote calling it a "step towards ending the One-Child Policy that has prevented more than 400 million births since 1980." Many of these pregnancies ended in forced abortion.  

World Health Assembly Presentation: Abortion Does Not Save Women's Lives
Participants at the World Health Assembly (WHA) Geneva, Switzerland were presented with compelling research and analysis demonstrating that legalized abortion does not improve maternal mortality. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO) presented "Why Legalized Abortion Is Not Good for Women's Health," an analysis of data from the World Health Organization, United Nations, The Lancet and other sources, that shows an historic record of improved rates of maternal mortality correlated with advancements in maternal health care, obstetrics, antibiotics and overall access to health care. Included in the analysis was the example of Chile, which after prohibiting abortion in 1989, now has the lowest rate of maternal deaths in Latin America. "Our analysis presents clear, factual evidence to repudiate the claim that legalized abortion reduces maternal mortality," said MCCL GO Executive Director Scott Fischbach. NRLC and MCCL GO called upon the WHA to focus its efforts and resources on improving women's health care.
Legislative News
Russia: Legislation Seeks to Dramatically Reduce Abortion
Russian Members of Parliament have teamed up with the Russian Orthodox Church to introduce legislation to dramatically reduce abortions. Russia, which according to a 2004 UN survey has one of the world's highest abortion rates at 53.7 per 100 women, also has one of the lowest birth rates. The proposed bill would ban free abortions at government clinics, make the morning-after pill only available with a prescription, and require spousal consent for married women and parental consent for adolescents seeking abortions. Yelena Mizulina, sponsor and chair of the State Duma Committee for Women's Affairs, Family and Children, added that the legislation would also institute a week-long waiting period for abortion and create "safe haven" centers for women to leave babies under six months. While the Russian Health Ministry's data, reaching 1.3 million abortions in 2009, does show a decline in the numbers of abortions, Mizulina points out that the Ministry does not include abortions at private clinics and from the morning-after pill and suggests the number is closer to 6 million abortions.   
Sweden: Parliament Votes against Conscience Rights

Sweden's parliament has approved a resolution opposing doctors' conscience protections. The legislation orders Swedish lawmakers at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to condemn a PACE document supporting the rights of doctors to refuse to perform abortions. "Sweden should support efforts which makes abortions free, safe and legal for all women. Sweden is one of few countries who are central in the international work focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights," stated the resolution. The current PACE resolution supporting conscience protections was hailed as pro-life victory last fall when it was enacted following the defeat of an effort by pro-abortion MEPs to remove conscience rights. 

Czech Republic: No Mandate to Provide Interstate Access to Abortion

The Parliament of the Czech Republic has been informed that it is misinterpreting European law as it considers legislation to offer abortions to citizens from other European Union (EU) nations. The proposed law would include abortion in the interstate service provisions under which EU citizens are given less expensive rates, even though abortion is specifically not under the jurisdiction of the EU. 


The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) submitted a legal opinion to the Czech Republic Ministry of Health clarifying EU law: "No one should accept the falsehood that governments must offer abortions just because pro-abortion advocates want that to happen. Neither European nor international law requires the Czech Republic to offer abortions," stated ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska.   


Despite the intense pressure and lobbying efforts of abortion advocates, a "right to abortion" does not exist in the EU, and EU Member States retain national sovereignty over abortion. ADF's legal intervention serves to remind the Czech Republic and other EU countries that they alone have authority over laws governing abortion. 


In 2006, the Council of Europe explained, "The European Union treaties have not bestowed on the Community or the Union the competence whereby the Union could regulate on abortions. The Member States thus have the competence to regulate on this and ensure compliance in their territory with the laws that they pass. The EU cannot interfere in unsatisfactory states of affairs due to differences in the legislation of Member States when it comes to areas that are not within its competence."

Netherlands: Anniversary of Abortion Law Marked with Petition to Queen and Government

On the 30th anniversary of legalized abortion in the Netherlands, the pro-life organization Cry for Life issued a petition to the Dutch Queen, members of parliament and to the government, calling for a reversal of the Pregnancy Termination law. SGP Party leader Van der Staaij commended Cry for Life's efforts to put the spotlight on the abortion issue intended to remind governmental leaders of the 1 million babies who have died victims of the country's abortion law. 

Executive News
Colombia: Inspector General Criticizes Court's Pro-Abortion Decision

Colombia's Inspector General has criticized the constitutional court's 2006 ruling legalizing abortion and urged the judges to consider the numbers of children's lives lost as a result of the decision. At a discussion at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez said the court was wrong in its ruling and questioned the court's understanding of when life begins. Former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria rebuked Ordoñez and called for him to respect the court's decisions, however, Vice President Angelino Garzon defended Ordoñez for standing up for his beliefs against criticism that was "as if it were a crime to be Catholic or defend Christian principles". Ordoñez is also known for his strong pro-life position and his recent opposition to the inclusion of the abortion drug misoprostol in Colombia's health plan.  


Judicial News
EU Court: Woman Denied Pre-Natal Genetic Testing Suffered "Inhuman and Degrading Treatment"

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that women are entitled to prenatal genetic testing, calling a lack of access to testing "inhuman treatment". The case, R.R. v Poland, was brought forth by a mother-of-two who was pregnant with a baby thought to have a severe genetic abnormality and who sought genetic testing to determine if she should seek an abortion. Her screening tests were delayed causing her to miss the window in which abortions for fetal disability are permitted under Polish law, and later gave birth to a daughter with Turner Syndrome. She brought suit against Poland arguing she was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and that her rights to private and family life were violated. The Court agreed and ordered Poland to pay her 45,000 euros in damages and 15,000 euros in costs and expenses. The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, which assisted in the case, celebrated the Court's decision as historic. "Today's decision is a groundbreaking victory for women across Europe. Governments cannot let doctors impose their anti-abortion ideology on pregnant women who are seeking genetic testing," said CRR President Nancy Northup.

Reports Demonstrate the Dangers of the Abortion Drug RU 486

A South Australian study is reporting that medical abortions are "less safe" than surgical abortions. The study, published in the physician's publication Australian Family Physician, found that of 7,000 abortions procured in 2009, women having complications and needing emergency care after taking RU 486 in the first trimester were higher than those getting surgical abortions. The complications were also more serious with the abortion pill in the first trimester. RU 486, a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol, was introduced in South Australia five years ago and is already used in one fifth of all abortions. The study's findings come at a time as usage of abortion drugs is increasing as abortion proponents tout its ease of use, affordability and "safety".


This same month, news reports revealed this month that RU 486 has claimed another victim with the death of a teenager in Portugal. Following administration of the abortion drug, a 16 year-old girl died from Clostridium sordellii septic shock, a deadly infection that has killed several women in the U.S.. Monty Patterson, the father of Holly Patterson- an American victim of RU 486- pointed to the news as evidence of a global problem. He emphasized the underreporting and failure to classify deaths as caused by medical abortions and called for measures to regulate the abortion drug.

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