Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 16
No. 3
April, 2022
 
Breaking News

Attempt to Use War in Ukraine to Broaden Access to Abortion


The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has brought governments and organizations together to save lives, relocate refugees and provide the necessities of life, especially food, to those who remain in Ukraine. Pro-abortion organizations, however, view the growing emergency as an opportunity to change sovereign laws restricting abortion, provide abortion-inducing drugs in humanitarian kits, establish free abortion, fund pro-abortion NGOs and block funding to groups working to help Ukrainian refugees if the organizations oppose abortion.
 
In a Call to Action, national and international pro-abortion organizations—including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Women’s Link Worldwide—address policy makers across Europe and the world. Their message has one purpose—to advance access to abortion and the entire sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) agenda.
The groups make a number of demands. They want the European Union, donor governments and the broader international community to ensure that all humanitarian responses “prioritize the SRHR of all women and girls” beginning with reproductive health kits that include “mifepristone and misoprostol for medical abortion”.
 
The groups seek to overturn laws restricting abortion in countries which have welcomed Ukrainian refugees and call for “urgent political support, guidance and technical assistance to the Governments of Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to facilitate the removal of legal and policy barriers that are impeding the provision of essential sexual and reproductive health care.”
 
They seek “cross-border access to sexual and reproductive health care where necessary to overcome national legal barriers and severe restrictions in transit and host countries”, with special emphasis on “swift and effective measures to facilitate and support urgent access to early medical abortion, through supporting cross-border and telemedical service-provision”.
 
Funding receives special attention as the groups seek financial and political support for themselves and for like-minded pro-abortion organizations while they demand that “financial assistance is not provided to anti SRHR and anti-equality organizations and actors in Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia or Ukraine.”
 
One wonders if this broad opposition to pro-life support includes denying financial support to faith-based organizations and churches which are providing much of the humanitarian aid and enjoy the trust of the Ukrainian people.
 
The organizations also address the Governments of Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia with a message that ignores national sovereignty and the right of each country to determine their own laws regarding the protection of unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion.
 
The demand is made that the Governments provide urgent financial assistance to “those gender equality, SRHR and women’s rights organizations who are providing frontline protection…and ensure this assistance includes coverage for the costs of…abortion care.” They also demand that Governments issue “policy guidance clarifying that sexual and reproductive health care, including emergency contraception, contraception and abortion care…is essential health care that should be provided free of charge and that health-care providers will be fully reimbursed… for the provision of this care to all those fleeing Ukraine.”
 
The obsession with the destruction of the lives of preborn children whose mothers have fled horrendous and dangerous conditions seeking peace and safety includes the demand that these Governments: “Ensure that medical abortion in early pregnancy is legal and accessible for all those fleeing Ukraine, including by removing barriers to abortion care and aligning national policies on abortion with WHO guidelines.” The WHO guidelines oppose restrictions on abortion, including those based on viability of the unborn child.  
Focus on the United States

Biden’s 2022 Budget Shows What He Values: Abortion


President Biden announced his $5.8 trillion 2022 budget request for the federal government by stating that his father used to say, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” The budget request released by President Biden shows that the lives of unborn children are not valued by Biden-Harris administration as the Hyde Amendment, a bipartisan agreement that prevents the use of federal funds for elective abortion, is not included.
 
While serving in the Senate, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment but presidential candidate Biden promised he would remove the longstanding ban on abortion funding despite that fact that a majority of Americans support the amendment which has saved more than 2.4 million unborn children.
 
Biden has explained the change in his position claiming that in the past, abortion— which he refers to as “it”—was not “under attack as it is now”, alluding to actions by Republican state lawmakers to restrict abortion.
 
In response to the budget request, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chair of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, stated, “Taxpayer-funded abortion represents a failure to serve women in their maternity by funding despair and death instead of hope and life.” He said, “These resources would be far better spent supporting women in crisis pregnancies and struggling new mothers so that no woman ever feels economic pressure to have an abortion.”
 
Next, Congress will debate individual appropriations bills based on Biden’s budget request. Republicans will work to once again secure adoption of the Hyde Amendment in the budget process but other funding streams in the budget will likely continue to fund abortion including through Title X family planning program.
 
Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America responded favorably to the budget stating, “Make no mistake, we are at a critical moment for access to sexual and reproductive health care. There have been more than 340 bills restricting abortion introduced in 41 states nationwide…Given the many attacks on reproductive health and rights at home and abroad, Congress should act swiftly to pass spending bill that do not include the Hyde Amendment and all other abortion restriction—including the Helms Amendment and Weldon Amendment, and permanently end the global gag rule…”
 
The Helms Amendment, enacted as an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, forbids direct funding of abortions in U.S. foreign assistance; the Weldon Amendment protects conscience rights by barring funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to federal agencies and programs or state and local governments that “discriminate” against health insurance plans, health care institutions or health care professionals that refuse to “provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.”
 
The so-called ‘global gag rule’ refers to the Mexico City Policy which was expanded under President Trump and called the Protecting Life in Global Assistance Policy which by executive action restricts U.S. funding of foreign NGOs that promote or perform abortions as a method of family planning. President Biden repealed the policy but pro-abortion activists seek a permanent repeal to disallow any future pro-life president from reenacting the policy.

President Biden Promotes Abortion on International Women’s Day


President Biden’s statement on International Women’s Day acknowledged the core belief that “Every person deserves the chance to live up to their full God-given potential, without regard for gender or other factors”. He then highlighted that his administration has “launched a whole-of-government effort to protect reproductive rights”—Biden code for abortion since he refuses to say the word abortion—which if not stopped will result in countless deaths of preborn children eliminated through abortion because of the “factor” that while they are alive in the womb they are not yet born. And for millions and millions of unborn baby girls around the world, the “factor” of their female sex leads to their deaths but even on International Women’s Day Biden failed to defend their right to be born or to be protected from fatal prenatal sex discrimination.
 
Instead, he highlighted his administration’s National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality which promises that the Biden-Harris administration will protect “safe and legal abortion established in Roe v. Wade in the United States, while promoting access to sexual and reproductive health and rights both at home and abroad.”

Pro-Life Lawmakers push back on Biden’s Pro-Abortion Task Force


Pro-life Members of Congress sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra expressing their concern about the Biden administration’s Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access. The lawmakers state that the Task Force “was established to promote abortion in response to pro-life laws passed by states in 2021 and to increase abortions in foreign countries” and that it “formalizes the pro-abortion advocacy that has already been promoted through HHS.”
 
The fifty-three congressmen and women wrote, “We adamantly disagree with your premise – abortion is not health care. Abortion robs a person of health and life itself. Since 1973, 63 million innocent lives have been lost to abortion. Women deserve better than abortion. They deserve the support they need to care for their babies and themselves.”
 
A list of questions about the Task Force was included in the letter with a request for answers by May 9. Questions included: 1. Will HHS commit to following and enforcing all federal laws in the operation of this Task Force? 2. Does the Task Force intend to use federal funds to advocate against state laws that regulate abortion? 3. What did Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Loyce Pace mean by her statement: "Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights is central to our core global health goals”?
 
Rep. Buddy Carter led the letter and tweeted “This task force is a direct assault on states' work to protect innocent children and must be stopped.”
Defending Life

New President of Costa Rica Committed to Life and Family


The new president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, won a run-off election with 53% of the vote, defeating former president Jose Maria Figueres who received 47%. Days before the election, President-elect Chaves signed a ‘statement of intent’ proposed by evangelical pastors with commitments that included not supporting any initiative that favors abortion and euthanasia; reviewing existing decrees on in- vitro fertilization and the protocol on therapeutic interruption of pregnancy; not supporting, institutionalizing or promoting gender ideology in the Costa Rican State; and allowing the Christian community to propose candidates and resumes to be considered for leadership positions in Education, Health and Foreign Affairs.
 
Currently, Costa Rica allows abortion if the life or health of the woman is at risk, so-called therapeutic abortion. Such abortions are guided by an extreme 2019 protocol for medical professionals which the new president has pledged to review. At the time of its enactment, the Catholic Bishops Conference in Costa Rica warned of the consequences of the 'Clinical Care Protocol for the medical procedure linked to article 121 of the code Penalty: Therapeutic Interruption of Pregnancy' stating: “In light of this protocol, any woman, without any medical assessment, can request an interruption of her pregnancy solely because of her desire to end it, relying on the statement that this protocol seeks to: '...Guarantee maximum enjoyment of the right to health, understood as the Right to have physical, emotional and mental well-being for women who request or require a therapeutic interruption of pregnancy within the framework of the Technical norm...'”.
 
The Bishops Conference sent President-elect Chaves a letter of congratulations and a list of seven issues they hope he will act upon, especially on life and family. The bishops stated, “There are several years of setbacks in policies that threaten life and the family. A country like ours, historically a defender of life, because it is a sacred right enshrined in the Political Constitution, has been opening its doors to abortion. It is on the way to seek measures that approve euthanasia, and there is less and less respect for the weakest being such as the unborn. We must return to the culture of life that has always characterized our nation since the death penalty was abolished in the 19th century.”
 
Support for the family was also expressed by the bishops, “At the same time, it is time to promote policies that help families, that allow people to found a family, through decent work, education, tools that allow them to grow for the benefit of society. Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: ‘The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.’ This protection has not been seen lately.
 
“A sustainable future is only possible with solid families, creating a safe future for children; theirs is the society of tomorrow. A government that turns in favor of life and the family is vital; this would make us stand out in the concert of nations.”
 
The new president will assume office next month.

The Right Not to Abort


Recourse to abortion is a sign that governments and society have failed women. Grégor Puppinck, Director of the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ) argues
that governments “have the legal obligation of preventing the recourse to abortion, on the basis, in particular, of their general obligations to protect the family, motherhood and human life.”
 
He explains, “Concerning the protection of the family, the States have made an international commitment to guarantee the ‘right to get married and to found a family’, which implies ‘the possibility to procreate’. They committed to provide a ‘protection and assistance as broad as possible’ to the family ‘as long as it has the responsibility of maintaining and educating children in its care’. The State thus has the obligation of providing support to women and couples who do not feel capable of welcoming a child.”
 
The legal expert purposes that human rights international law and social rights “can be the basis to build a more ambitious policy of prevention of abortion” for every time “a woman or a couple aborts for an economic or social reason, it is these social and fundamental rights that are violated. Even more, it is a violence. Society cannot settle for proposing abortion as a response to the difficulties of women and their families.”
 
ECLJ has begun a grassroots Call for a Policy of Prevention of Abortion, that calls on “politicians to commit themselves to implement a real abortion prevention policy, particularly with young people.” The Call states that abortion is a public health problem, that recourse to abortion is not inevitable and that “widespread use of abortion is a social problem and a matter of public health that affects the whole society and engages our future.”
International Pressure for Abortion

European Parliament Adopts Action Plan for Abortion


The European Parliament (EP) adopted the EU Gender Action Plan III (GAP III) that aims claims its goal is to advance gender equality worldwide while promoting abortion and the entire sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda both outside the EU and within EU countries. The vote was 479 in favor, 96 opposed and 116 abstentions.
 
GAP III casts abortion as health care and objects to legislative actions in EU countries that seek to protect unborn children. Section 33 depicts abortion and the entire component of SRHR as human rights which are depicted as “fundamental elements of human dignity and women’s empowerment”. It expresses opposition to conservative and religious groups describing what it calls “the backlash against gender equality and women’s rights, and the rise of misogynistic conservative rhetoric and organised religious and other groupings, which is threatening to undermine, among other things, access to SRHR both inside and outside the European Union.”
 
The Plan also states that “legislative rollbacks on abortion undermine the protection of women’s health, rights and dignity” and stresses “the importance of SRHR with regard to women’s and girls’ bodies and their autonomy, and urges that SRHR be treated as public health issues accessible to all without discrimination” calling for universal access to “safe and legal abortion”. Poland has previously been criticized by the EP for its actions to protect unborn children from abortion.
 
MEPs called for the EU to be seen as “a leading example worldwide in terms of promoting SRHR, free from coercion, violence, discrimination and abuse” and called on all Member States “to ensure universal access to SRHR in their territories.”
 
Full implementation of GAP III was endorsed by the EP with a high priority to be given to “gender equality and SRHR in the EU and Member States’ humanitarian aid response, as well as accountability and access to justice and redress for sexual and reproductive rights violations and gender-based violence, both in terms of providing training to humanitarian actors and of funding.”

UK: Funding for Abortion Industry Giants


The UK government spent over $460,000,000 to subsidize abortion industry giants. Pro-life SPUC, slammed the funding as a “gross and frankly immoral misallocation of taxpayer money.” It was revealed that abortionist organizations Marie Stopes International (MSI) and International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) were the recipients of the funding.
 
Conservative MP Scott Benton, a member of SPUC, formally raised the question in Parliament. The Government responded that it was not possible to say how much of the funding was spent on abortion since it was part of “an integrated approach” to “sexual and reproductive health and rights” provision. 
 
According to SPUC, a recent poll revealed that 65% of British people objected to public money funding abortions overseas. 
 
A SPUC spokesperson said: “Western nations and NGOs have a shameful history of abortion imperialism, pushing abortion on developing nations in recent years under the guise of so-called ‘essential’ healthcare. 
 
“At a time when the world is reeling from disease and war, such funding that serves only to destroy more innocent lives is wholly out of touch with public sentiment.” 

Pro-Abortion Parliamentary Group Seeks to Expand Operations in Africa


The European Parliamentary Forum (EPF) for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, based in Brussels, is looking to expand its influence in Africa. The organization, which is active at the European Parliament and has a network of parliamentary groups throughout Europe promoting abortion and the broad sexual and reproductive rights agenda, seeks to expand its influence in Africa.
 
EPF is seeking to fill the position of Focal Point for Africa which will provide strategic leadership to African MPs as it promotes the objectives of the Global Parliamentary Alliance (GPA) in Africa. THE GPA aims to boost “parliamentarians' efforts to deliver on the SDGs, specifically in the areas of health and human rights.” Advisory organizations and agencies include UNFPA, WHO, and IPPF. One of the goals is to advance abortion as part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Focus on the United Nations

New WHO Study Advances Radical Abortion Policy Recommendations


Three pro-abortion entities–the World Health Organization, the UN’s Human Reproduction Programme (HRP) and Guttmacher Institute—released what they describe is “the first-ever model-based estimates of unintended pregnancy and abortion rates for 150 countries— New Evidence on Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion in 150 Countries Shows the Importance of Developing Tailored Policies.
 
The study created country profiles using a statistical model with the intent “to allow decision makers and health advocates to better understand and act on sexual and reproductive health needs in their countries, particularly for family planning, including contraception and comprehensive abortion care.”
 
It is filled with extreme abortion-advancing recommendations and promotes the false idea that sexual and reproductive health and rights are “an essential part of universal health coverage and are required to end discrimination against women and girls”. One of the aims of the study is to provide information to countries “working to implement WHO’s new guidelines for quality abortion services.”
 
The WHO and pro-abortion organizations are working overtime promoting the new extreme; this study is the latest effort.
 
Policy recommendations in the report include:
  • Prioritize targeted investment in sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Integrate sexual and reproductive health interventions in universal health coverage.
  • Advocate for the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission’s comprehensive definition of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
 
PNCI urges legislators to be alert to the pro-abortion pressure coming from the UN seeks it seeks to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 3.7: By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
 
Read the details here.

WHO Issues New Radical Abortion Guidelines


The World Health Organization issued updated radical guidelines on abortion that promotes the self-use of abortion-inducing drugs stating: “Abortion, using medication or a simple outpatient surgical procedure, is a safe health-care intervention, when carried out with a method appropriate to the gestational age of pregnancy.” 
 
In the Executive SummaryWHO priorities access to abortion: “Strengthening access to comprehensive abortion care within the health system is fundamental to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to good health and well-being (SDG3) and gender equality (SDG5).” 
 
WHO calls for full decriminalization of abortion globally and describes abortion as "lifesaving care0”. The guidance urges government to remove what it calls “barriers” to abortion including laws restricting abortion based on the age of the unborn child, mandatory waiting periods, laws requiring parental knowledge or consent, and removal of laws restricting which health workers can provide abortion. 
 
Protection of conscientious objection is opposed by WHO which states: “If it proves impossible to regulate conscientious objection in a way that respects, protects and fulfils abortion seekers’ rights, conscientious objection in abortion provision may become indefensible.” 
Legislative News

Chile: Draft Constitution Includes Right to Abortion


Chile’s constituent assembly approved a draft constitution that specifically includes “a voluntary interruption of pregnancy” as a right. Current law in Chile permits abortion in cases of rape, fetal anomaly, or life of the mother. The drafted text faces an uncertain future in the Chilean Congress, which rejected a bill to expand abortion access last fall. Abortion activists are encouraged by the assembly’s move and will continue to pressure the country as part of the regional push for abortion through Latin America. "What the Constitution does in this case is make a framework of sexual and reproductive rights that have to be developed at a legal level," explained Danitza Perez, director of an association of feminist lawyers in Chile. 

Northern Ireland: Assembly Criminalizes Pro-Life Protests


The Northern Ireland Assembly has passed the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill, creating “buffer zones” outside abortion facilities. Under the new law, peaceful pro-life protests outside abortion clinics become a criminal offense. “It is under the pretence of liberty and choice that women are being stripped of the ability to access support provided by peaceful pro-life volunteers,” said Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right To Life UK. The pro-life group pointed to a public consultation on the bill showing it was supported by only 13 of 6,412 respondents. “The result of today’s vote is disappointing, not least because it is so blatantly contrary to what the Northern Ireland public wants,” said Robinson. The bill now awaits Royal Assent, which will make it law.
 

UK: House of Lords Votes to Make DIY Abortion Permanent


The House of Lords has approved an amendment to make “DIY” abortions permanently available in a late night vote. Abortions were made available at home as a temporary measure at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and was supposed to end this summer. An amendment sponsored by Baroness Sugg to make the policy permanent passed by a vote of 75 to 35. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) criticized the move, which ignores the findings of the government’s consultation. “Advocates of this dangerous policy say we must listen to women who are affected by it – they ignore the fact that in the Government consultation, 45% of the group of women who had accessed the pills by post service during the pandemic felt that there were benefits in relation to safeguarding and women's safety in requiring at least one visit to a service to be assessed by a clinician. This is more than twice the number (22%) who said that there would be disadvantages,” explained Alithea Williams, SPUC's Public Policy Manager. The bill now awaits consideration in the House of Commons.

New Zealand: Parliament Approves Buffer Zones


New Zealand’s parliament has voted to create “safe zones” around abortion clinics, prohibiting pro-life protests and sidewalk counseling. The proposed “safe zones” would be created by the Minister of Health in consultation with the Minister of Justice and encompass up to 150 meters around the facility. Violators would face fines up to $1,000. The bill passed this third reading by a vote of 108 to 12.

UK: Assisted Suicide Amendment Dies in House of Lords


The House of Lords has rejected an amendment to the Health and Care bill which would have opened the door to assisted suicide. Several MPs spoke out against the bill on both procedural and substantive grounds. Claiming the amendment would hijack the bill, MPs said it was unconstitutional. The government has “no intention of legislating on assisted [suicide]; it is not part of our programme, nor was it part of our election manifesto,” said Lord Howe, the Deputy Leader of the House of Lords. “As the late Lord Simon of Glaisdale might once have said, this amendment is constitutionally offensive and it should be rejected on those grounds”. 

MPs passionately argued that the amendment would endanger disabled and elderly people. Baroness Campbell of Surbiton said, “[o]pening the door to what is effectively assisted suicide would be a monumental change in the criminal law with potentially lethal consequences. If we get it wrong, it will result in some vulnerable people needlessly taking their own life”. The amendment failed by a vote of 179 to 145.
Executive News

President: Guatemala the “Pro-Life Capital of Latin America”


Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei has declared Guatemala the "pro-life capital of Latin America." At the Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family (CIVF), the president vowed to protect the sanctity of life in his country. President Giammattei criticized the strong pressure from the U.S. and other Western governments to increase access to abortion on Guatemala and other Latin American countries. In the past few years years, he has prohibited Planned Parenthood from operating in the country and added Guatemala to the Geneva Consensus Declaration, affirming that there is no international right to abortion. This year, the Guatemala Congress voted to shelve a recently passed bill legalizing abortion after the pro-life president threatened to veto it. 
Judicial News

Kenya: Landmark Ruling Legalizes Abortion for Rape Cases


Kenya’s High Court has ruled rape survivors have a right to abortion. The case involved a teenage rape victim who died after a botched abortion; the Court was petitioned by her mother and the Federation of Women Lawyers. Kenya’s current law permits abortion in cases when the mother’s health or life is in danger. In the landmark ruling, the court said the health ministry violated the constitution by not having “safe” abortion policies in place and ordered them to institute guidelines and train health professionals to provide abortion services. “Pregnancy resulting from rape or defilement, if in the opinion of a trained medical profession poses a danger to life or the health - that is physical, mental and social well-being of the mother - maybe terminated under ... sections of the constitution,” said Justice Aggrey Muchelule.  

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

In this issue

 
Breaking News
Attempt to Use Crisis in Ukraine to Broaden Access to Abortion
 
Focus on the U.S.
Biden’s 2022 Budget Shows What He Values: Abortion
President Biden Promotes Abortion on International Women’s Day
Pro-Life Lawmakers Push Back on Biden’s Pro-Abortion Task Force
 
Defending Life 
New President of Costa Rica Committed to Life and Family
The Right Not to Abort
 
Pressure for Abortion
European Parliament Adopts Action Plan for Abortion
UK: Funding for Abortion Industry Giants
Pro-Abortion Parliamentary Group Seeks to Expand Operations in Africa
 
Focus on the United Nations
New WHO Study Advances Radical Abortion Policy Recommendations
WHO Issues New Radical Abortion Guidelines
 
Legislative News
Chile: Draft Constitution Includes Right to Abortion
Northern Ireland: Assembly Criminalizes Pro-Life Protests Outside Abortion Clinics
UK: House of Lords Votes to Make DIY Abortion Permanent
New Zealand: Parliament Approves Buffer Zones
UK: Assisted Suicide Amendment Dies in House of Lords
 
Executive News
President: Guatemala the “Pro-Life Capital of Latin America”
 
Judicial News
Kenya: Landmark Ruling Legalizes Abortion for Rape Cases