Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 12
No. 4
May, 2018
 
Focus on the UK
Culture of Death vs Parental Rights-Need a Law!
Another tragic case of parents attempting to save their child from the dictates of health and legal authorities occurred in England as the life of young Alfie Evans ended despite heroic actions by his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, to obtain medical treatment for him outside the UK. The case was tragically similar to that of Charlie Gard and the unsuccessful struggle of his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, to secure access to new and potentially life-saving treatment for Charlie in the USA.

Two year old Alfie never received a definitive diagnosis but authorities at the Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool where Alfie was a patient believed that he was in a vegetative state and were seeking to shut off his life support. His parents disagreed and sought to take their son for diagnosis, treatment and care at hospitals in either Rome or Poland which were willing to accept Alfie as a patient. Italian authorities went as far as granting Italian citizenship to Alfie to help Alfie's parents win their request upon appeal.

Tragically, the parents' request was repeatedly denied by legal authorities in England and at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) despite support offered by Pope Francis, President Andrzej Duda of Poland, Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, and Angelino Alfano Italian minister of Foreign Affairs.

In all legal hearings, the hospital convinced judges that "it was not in Alfie's best interests to be removed from the hospital". The hospital continued its refusal to allow Alfie to be transferred even after he was able to breathe unassisted after removal from a ventilator and continued to do so far beyond hospital predictions.

Alfie's amazing fight to live touched the hearts of many around the world and in Liverpool. MEP Steven Woolfe, representative for Liverpool, defended Alfie's right to life and the right of Alfie's parents to seek treatment outside the Alder Hey joining meetings with hospitals authorities and during final legal hearings. MEP Woolfe called for legislation he titled "Alfie's Law" and raised the case of other children whose parents requested medical treatment not approved by health authorities explaining,

"To decide specifically that a child is not allowed to be treated by another qualified and willing provider is to subject that child to non voluntary euthansia with withdrawal of treatment. It is shocking to see how far parents and family rights have been marginalised in the U.K. and criticised by the rest of the world. It is chilling to see how far the states powers to control our children have come and the power they will use to retain it. No one has a monopoly of truth nor the capacity for miracles. Doctors and judges must not confuse themselves with the one above and must not play God."

Draft legislation has been underway in the UK led by the parents of Charlie Gard to ensure parents are legally empowered to fully protect their children's lives and health, and allow them to seek treatment elsewhere. The Draft is expected to be released soon. Charlie's parents have set up a foundation which explains the effort,

"Charlie's parents have been working with NHS medical professionals, world-leading ethicists, and politicians towards a law that would help prevent prolonged and painful conflicts between hospitals and families with sick children. The product of this long process of consultations is Charlie's Law - a Private Member's Bill - that proposes to clarify the law around 'best interests' and ensure families going through these difficult times are properly supported."

Lord David Alton agrees with the need for a new law stating,

"The law currently allows the State, on the advice of its courts and medics, to have  the last word on what are the "best interests" of a child caught in the tragic circumstances of Alfie Evans or Charlie Gard. Legislators need to recast these provisions so that loving parents, who can demonstrate that alternative care pathways exist, have the final say in the care of their child - whom they brought into the world. I hope that Members of Parliament will pioneer such a Bill. It deserves to receive widespread support, including that of the Government."

The two cases reveal the limitations on the rights of parents in the UK to seek treatment for their own children and the heavy hand of authorities in informing parents of what steps they will be allowed to take to help their children survive life-threatening or life-limiting conditions. The need for a law is clear.
Defending Life
Ireland: Lawmakers Seek Continued Protection for Both
A majority of lawmakers in the Fianna Fail political party expressed their support for continued constitutional protection for the lives of both children in the womb and their mothers and called on voters to reject repeal of the 8th amendment by voting "No" in the May 25th referendum.
 
The 31 Dáil deputies posed for a photo and voiced their support for saving the 8th amendment despite the opposing view held by party leader Micheál Martin.

According to TD Eamon O'Cuiv the group's position is in line with the wishes and beliefs of most party members, "The vast majority of the party at Ard Fheis [annual party conference] and also of the membership of the parliamentary party believe the correct vote is 'No' ... in order to protect two lives, the mother and, of course, the unborn."

In response, Cora Sherlock of the LoveBoth Campaign said that despite pressure from their leaders, more politicians are coming forward to advocate for a 'NO' vote.

"This is happening as it becomes increasingly clear that Simon Harris' [Ireland's Health Minister] abortion proposals are extreme, including unrestricted abortion up to three months and up to six months on vague mental health grounds. This goes far beyond the law in the Britain where there are over 190,000 abortions per year."

"The only way to stop this extreme abortion proposal is to vote 'NO' on May 25 and keep the most important right, the right to life, in our Constitution."

Read PNCI's past news on this critical vote.
El Salvador: Pro-Life Victory
A pro-life victory occurred in El Salvador yesterday, one of the strongest pro-life countries in the world, as anticipated votes on two bills to change the criminal code to allow exceptions to abortion failed to materialize before Congress adjourned and a new Congress began under control of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).
 
Pro-life advocates lobbied against an international  effort to add exceptions to El Salvador's ban on abortion. According to the New York Times, "What appeared to be momentum a few weeks ago in favor of relaxing the law was defeated by an alliance of social conservatives and religious organizations who succeeded in convincing legislators in the final days that their vote could have a political cost."

The so-called 'momentum' resulted in large part from media outreach and hype created by leading international pro-abortion activist organizations including the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR)Human Rights Watch, and Ipas which hoped the Salvadoran Congress would follow recent Chile's lead and change its constitutional protection for unborn children to allow exceptions for abortion; it did not.

Pro-life leader Julia Regina de Cardenal, the president the Yes to Life Foundation voiced strong opposition to international interference and called on the Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights, Raquel Caballero, to investigate the financing of organizations in El Salvador that were leading the effort to change the law to determine the level of outside influence.

Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador called on lawmakers to reject any proposed changes saying, "There is no right to take the life of another person".

Earlier this month, United Nations High Commission for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein expressed pro-abortion support in a letter to legislators. According to the New York Times article he asked them to relax the abortion ban "according to international standards" and that this "would be a crucial step that would improve the protection of human rights for women and children in El Salvador and avoid future unjust suffering."

In response to the loss, the Center for Reproductive Rights' statement confirmed pro-life charges of international interference; it included"The Center for Reproductive Rights has been working for decades to expose the consequences that El Salvador's blanket abortion ban has on the lives of Salvadorian women, and will continue to work with Salvadoran advocates and the international community to achieve abortion reform."

In its campaign to overturn El Salvador's pro-life protections, the CRR tweeted the message #EyesonElSalvador.

Yes, the world was watching and the eyes of the world saw pro-life people in a pro-life country rally on behalf of the vulnerable unborn child and again reject the violence of abortion despite the work of international pro-abortion organizations and the United Nations. El Salvador showed that it will continue to 'love them both'. 

Read more here.
USA: Abortion-Free Human Rights Country Reports
The U.S. State Department, in compliance with U.S. law, issued the 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices known as "The Human Rights Reports" minus any mention of abortion as a 'reproductive right'. The reports "document the status of human rights and worker rights in nearly 200 countries and territories" and are relied upon by the U.S. Congress and Executive and Judicial branches as a resource.
 
During the press event announcing the 2017 reports, a question was addressed to Michael G. Kozak, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor about the removal of the section on "Reproductive Rights", which in the previous administration included abortion, and about the U.S. position on access to abortion as a human right.

Ambassador Kozak replied that abortion is not a human right which is why the U.S. does not include it in the reports: "That - correct under the previous administration and this one and the one before that. We have never taken the position that abortion was a right under - a human right under international law. This is supposed to be internationally recognized human rights, and it's an issue on which - some countries prohibit abortion, some countries, like our own, pretty much no restriction on it, and we don't say one of those is right and one of those is wrong. We don't report on it because it's not a human right. It's an issue of great policy debate, you can have a good discussion, but there's no internationally recognized standard as to what's the right treatment.

The ambassador further explained that the reports include coerced abortion. While the section "reproductive rights" is no longer in the reports, a section titled "Coercion in Population Control" now appears and includes information on coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods.

A check of the report for China reveals the U.S. is monitoring family planning provisions "that require 'remedial measures,' an official euphemism for abortion, to deal with pregnancies that violate the policy" and sex-selective abortion which is reported to continue "despite being prohibited".

Pro-abortion protests to the change in the reports were swift and included acknowledgement by the Center for Reproductive Rights of its past role in helping to write the reports which included access to abortion as a so-called 'reproductive right':

"The Center for Reproductive Rights calls on the State Department to issue new reports that restore the monitoring of the full range of women's human rights.

"The Center for Reproductive Rights has been instrumental in ensuring that previous reports recognized reproductive rights issues, as well as in providing research on the impact of laws restricting access to reproductive health care around the world."
PNCI Warns U.S. Delegation to WHA: Global Strategy Promotes Abortion
PNCI's Director, Marie Smith, along with Bob Lalonde, International Director of Priests for Life (PFL), attended the Listening Session for the US delegation to the World Health Assembly (WHA) held by the Office of Global Affairs at Health and Human Services (HHS). In prepared remarks, PNCI expressed its and PFL's disappointment that the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health (2016-2030) advances an abortion agenda that opposes President Trump's Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy.
 
The Global Strategy is an agenda item for the WHA that has received much attention and has been manipulated to promote the pro-abortion agenda following UN Member States' opposition to including abortion directly in the SDGs or in the indicators monitoring progress for Agenda 2030.
 
PNCI reminded the delegation that abortion is not a universally recognized human right, does not have universal support, and ought not to be advanced as part of Universal Health Coverage, included in the Minimal Initial Service Package (MISP), or included as part of the Global Strategy. Instead, attention and resources need to be directed at reducing the current 2.7 million newborn deaths and 2.6 million stillbirths that occur each year while the UN report, Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017, warns that if current trends continue, "30 million newborns will die within first 28 days of life between 2017 and 2030".
 
Mrs. Smith also called attention to the fact that data on causes of maternal deaths in the Global Strategy 2018 monitoring report fails to mention that the "abortion" category as a cause for maternal death includes women who died from three causes: induced abortion, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy.
 
In closing, support was expressed for the Trump administration's commitment to saving the lives of both women and their children regardless of stage of development and the delegation was urged to be guided by the US commitment to protecting life.
International Pressure for Abortion
'Report' Launched to Pressure Countries on Abortion
Pro-abortion activists colluded in 2015 following failure to inject access to abortion into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the indicators for progress to convene their own commission to issue recommendations for countries in the broad controversial area of "sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)", including abortion. The result is the joint Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights whose report- Accelerate progress-sexual and reproductive health and rights for all: report of the Guttmacher-Lancet Commissionwas recently released during a launch in South Africa, one of the few African nations to allow abortion on demand.
 
This backdoor effort, operating outside of UN consensus, is explained by Commission co-chair Ann Starrs, CEO of Guttmacher, in an article published in Lancet, A Lancet Commission on sexual and reproductive health and rights: going beyond the Sustainable Development Goals. She writes that the Commission was created to circumvent what she calls "a narrow view of sexual and reproductive health and rights, one of the most crucial, but also most controversial, parts of the SDG agenda" and "will provide a roadmap for truly addressing essential sexual and reproductive health and rights issues that are fundamental to achieving overall developmental goals."
 
23 Advisory Groups contributing input to the report include the United National Population Fund (UNFPA), Arrow, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Ipas, The Paternship for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), and PAI, and Population Council. 

The report weaves the scenario that language around SRHR has evolved over the past 20-25 years and presents what it calls an "integrated definition of sexual and reproductive health and rights" proclaiming that "each component of SRHR is linked to other components, and that fulfilment of SRHR is essential to attain sexual and reproductive health."

It proposes that "coercion in reproductive decision making-whatever form it takes-is a violation of human rights" and that "forcing a woman to terminate a pregnancy she wants, or to continue a pregnancy that she does not want, violates the right to decide freely whether and when to bear a child-and the right to have that decision respected and guaranteed by government."

The Commission does not recommend "a new SRHR-specific monitoring framework or set of goals and targets" but recommends that all "sexual and reproductive health services" be part of universal health coverage. It strongly urges government health ministries to ensure that "commitments are honoured with the use of frameworks developed under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health, Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality, Every Newborn Action Plan, Countdown to 2030, Family Planning 2020, and the WHO monitoring of progress toward universal health coverage."

The Commission recommends that those seeking to advance the agenda "embrace the recommended package of essential SRHR interventions and ensure its inclusion in national and international plans and frameworks that work toward universal health coverage."

PNCI warns policy makers to be vigilant when considering these frameworks for attempts to impose a radical abortion ideology that seeks to eliminate laws that protect the health and well-being of mothers and children in the womb from the violence of abortion.
WHO Global Abortion Policies Database
The posting of a revised WHO website-the Global Abortion Policies Database-is designed to expedite efforts to overturn restrictions on abortion in countries around the world. The interactive site builds on the database of UNDP listing a country's laws and policies on abortion by a number of 'filters' including Legal Ground and Gestational Limit and Conscientious Objection, each with its own subset of categories.
 
It includes information on a country's reporting to UN treaty monitoring bodies and even the recommendations on abortion issued by activists serving on the treaty bodies. The explanation on the website states that it "will facilitate analyses of countries' abortion laws and policies when they are placed in the context of WHO guidelines and human rights norms and standards. It is intended to help states identify and eliminate the barriers that women encounter in accessing safe abortion services. It is also intended to increase both the transparency of abortion laws and policies and to ensure accountability for the protection of women's health and their human rights."

The article, Access to knowledge and the Global Abortion Policies Database, states, "Knowledge of abortion law and policy is therefore crucial to ensuring access to safe abortion, and to protecting sexual and reproductive health and human rights. This insight grounds the extraordinary efforts behind the Global Abortion Policies Database an open-access repository of abortion laws and policies for 197 UN Member States.

"Access to and the provision of sexual and reproductive health information has long been acknowledged as a key determinant of safe abortion and a core component of human rights."

Abortion is not a human right but activists continue to promote and pursue the falsehood that it is.
Focus on the United Nations
CEDAW Pushes Chile beyond Three Exceptions for Abortion
Emblematic of the ongoing promotion of abortion on demand by UN treaty monitoring bodies is the review by CEDAW of Chile's report which last summer legalized abortion for three exceptions- "risk to the mother's life," "fetal malformation incompatible with life," and rape. The CEDAW Committee was not satisfied with Chile's limits on access to abortion and called on Chile to "Extend the scope of Law No. 21.030 in order to decriminalize abortion in all cases." The Committee also expressed its objection to conscientious objection recommending that Chile: "Apply strict justification requirements to prevent the blanket use of conscientious objection by doctors refusing to perform abortions, in particular in cases of adolescent pregnancy, and ensure that such measures also apply to medical personnel in private clinics".
Legislative News
Finland: Parliament Rejects Euthanasia
The Finnish parliament (Riksdag) rejected a bill to legalize euthanasia by a vote of 128 to 60. The legislation was the result of a citizens' initiative to make euthanasia available for people who have an 'incurable fatal disease" where death is "likely to occur in the near future". The initiative had the support of 60,000 citizens. While the majority of members agreed against legalizing assisted suicide, the parliament did agree that the complex issue needed an investigation and established a working group to study policies regarding the end of life, palliative care and euthanasia.
UK: Council Votes to Ban Protests Outside Abortion Clinics
A West London Council voted to ban protests outside an abortion clinic in west London. The unanimous vote comes in response to a petition from area women insisting the pro-life protests were "intimidation, harassment and distress" for women patronizing the Marie Stopes clinic. Pro-abortion group SisterSupporter celebrated the vote and clinic manager John Hansen-Brevetti said the hoped this was the start. "We're also so hopeful that this is just the beginning, that other councils are watching and taking note, that Parliament itself, the Home Affairs Select Committee, will continue to look at this issue and find a solution that works not just for Ealing but for the whole of the UK," said Hansen-Brevetti.
US: Members Urge HHS to Disqualify Abortion Providers from Title X Funding
US Members of Congress have called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to deny funding for abortion providers. In a letter led by Representatives Ron Estes, Vicky Hartzler, and Chris Smith, the members ask HHS to make sure funds for the Title X Family Planning Program are not given to groups that also perform abortions. "To ensure that the federally funded family planning services offered by Title X recipients are unquestionably separate and distinct from abortion, Title X service sites should be physically, as well as financially, separate from facilities that provide abortion," the letter states. The requested changes would make Planned Parenthood ineligible for Title X funding.
Argentina: Congress Holds Debate on Bill to Legalize Abortion
Argentina's Congress is holding its third hearing on legislation to legalize abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy. The lawmakers are hearing from 44 speakers, 22 in favor of and 22 against abortion. This is the first time this legislation has been debated in the House of Representatives, though it's the seventh time since 2007 that the bill has been presented to Congress by the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortions. The relentless pressure by abortion proponents is pushing heavily on Argentinian lawmakers, who are hearing from abortion advocacy groups, international NGOs and the UN. A survey by a local news agency reported 104 representatives are against legalizing abortion, 95 are in favor and 56 are undecided. The first vote on the legislation is expected this June.
South Africa: Pro-Life Bill Fails to Pass
A bill to amend South Africa's abortion law failed to pass the parliament's health committee. The private member's bill, sponsored by MP Cheryllyn Dudley, would have required women seeking abortion see an ultrasound and receive counseling on their options before and after an abortion. Dudley emphasized the importance of informing women seeking abortions. "The reason women have three or five repeat abortions is that they aren't given the right information. One mum told us of her traumatic ordeal when the baby came out; she started screaming to the doctor to try to save it. It's a traumatic time for women and they deserve to have more information at their disposal," she explained. The health department's deputy director-general for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and maternal, child and women's health Yogan Pillay said there were problems providing abortions in federal facilities, blaming them on the morality and stigma attached to abortion. "We have 500 facilities that should technically provide these services but, in actual fact, only a few do because some health workers say their consciences won't allow it," said Pillay. The deputy director-general also acknowledged they were trying to increase the numbers of facilities offering abortion.
Executive News
UK: Minister Wants Abortion Pills to be DIY
British Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has called for the home use of abortion pills. Speaking at the Welsh Assembly, Gething told members: "I have instructed officials to start work immediately on how we can amend the legal framework to allow for the treatment of the termination of pregnancy to be carried out at home." Currently, abortion pills are dispensed through two separate appointments. The suggested policy would mean women could receive both pills at one appointment, administering the first and bringing the second drug- misoprostol, which induces miscarriage- home to take on their own.
 
Judicial News
USA: Indiana Court Strikes Down Pro-life Bill Protecting Disabled Unborn babies
An Indiana federal appeals court ruled that the state law banning abortions on the basis of gender, race or disability is unconstitutional. Indiana's law was signed into law in 2016 by then-Governor Mike Pence. In his ruling, Judge William Bauer stated, "The Supreme Court has been clear: the State may inform a woman's decision before viability, but it cannot prohibit it." Pro-life groups argue the ban protected unborn children with disabilities. President and CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL) Catherine Glenn Foster expressed disappointment with the ruling and vowed to continue to fight for similar laws. "Indiana and now-Vice President Mike Pence were pioneers in their defense of disabled children, and AUL will continue to fight for the day when all humans are welcomed in life and protected in law," said Foster.

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

In this issue

 
Focus on the UK
Culture of Death vs Parental Rights-Need a Law!
 
Defending Life
USA: Abortion-Free Human Rights Country Reports
Ireland: Lawmakers Seek Continued Protection for Both
El Salvador: Pro-Life Victory
 
International Pressure for Abortion
'SRHR Report' Launched to Pressure Countries on Abortion
 
Focus on the United Nations
PNCI Warns U.S. Delegation to WHA: Global Strategy Promotes Abortion
WHO: Global Abortion Policies Database
CEDAW: Pushes Chile beyond Three Exceptions for Abortion
 
Legislative News
Finland: Parliament Votes No to Euthanasia
UK: Council Votes to Ban Protests Outside Abortion Clinics
US: Members Urge HHS to Disqualify Abortion Providers from Title X Funding
Argentina: Congress Holds Debate on Bill to Legalize Abortion
South Africa: Pro-Life Bill Fails to Pass
 
Executive News
UK: Minister Wants Abortion Pills to be DIY
 
Judicial News
USA: Indiana Court Strikes Down Pro-life Bill Protecting Disabled Unborn babies