Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 12
No. 7
August, 2018
 
International Pressure for Abortion
New Pro-Abortion Alliance Formed: Abortion and HIV/AIDS
Opposition to the U.S. Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy-formerly known as the Mexico City policy and by pro-abortion activists as the Global Gag Rule- "took center stage" both during the AIDS 2018 conference and on its sidelines. Pro-abortion NGOs united with organizations fighting HIV/AIDS to voice opposition to President Trump's expansion of the policy to prevent U.S. funds to international NGOs working in global health that perform or promote abortion.
 
Prior to the start of the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, activists hosted Our bodies, Our fight: Uniting the movements for HIV/AIDS and safe abortion care with a call to work together "to advance access to safe abortion everywhere". The agreement takes aim at the PLGHA policy. ALIGNING for ACTION on SAFE ABORTION and HIV and AIDS, commits to "Stand united against political and ideological attacks against girls' and women's health and rights" declaring: 
 
"Conservative agendas in many parts of the world threaten sexual and reproductive health services. The reinstatement and dramatic expansion of the Global Gag Rule by the United States government, for example, has forced non-governmental organizations to choose between providing information, counseling, referrals and access to abortion services - as well as advocating for laws and policies that promote access to safe abortion - or risk losing U.S. funding."
 
The NGOs charge that the denial of access to abortion-and not the violent act of abortion that ends the life of a developing child-"is an act of violence against girls and women and a violation of their human rights. Around the world, women are regularly denied access to safe and legal abortion, even though abortion can be a necessary part of how women and couples manage their fertility and their lives."
 
The support for abortion as a method of family planning demonstrates the radical pro-abortion position of the organizations.
 
Pro-life advocates can find encouragement in the news from the session "Bound and gagged: Exposing the impact of the expanded Mexico City policy" which stated that in addition to reduced funding to expand SRHR services, the reach of the PLGHA policy is "interfering with the relationship between local organisations and their governments, particularly efforts by NGOs to push governments for the provision comprehensive SRHR services including access to safe abortions."
 
The official AIDS 2018 meeting, attended by over 15,000 HIV researchers, public health experts, policy makers, NGOs, and members of the HIV affected community from 160 nations, was filled with anti-U.S. pro-abortion policy and pro-abortion seminars including the following:
  • The Trump effect: How the U.S. is jeopardizing the global AIDS response
  • Understanding the global gag rule: A practical workshop for how to sustain global health progress amidst the new U.S. policy environment
  • The Mexico City Policy and PEPFAR: Estimating the impact on NGOs and funding
  • Caught by ideology: HIV providers in the era of the protecting life in global health assistance policy (AKA Mexico City Policy)
  • SRHR Pre-Conference: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges for the Right to Decide
The IPPF seminar, SRHR Pre-Conference: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges for the Right to Decide, revealed the strategy to use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) "to advance an integrated SRHR and HIV agenda by recognizing the importance of universal SRH for achieving health (SDG 3)."
 
The description lamented that the "growing conservatism to gender and human rights-based policies, including the Global Gag Rule" and urged that "now more than ever there is a need for joint action by governments and communities, civil society organizations, international organizations, and researchers supporting a strong response to address SRHR and HIV." Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Labour Party legislator who established the pro-abortion funding organization She Decides, participated in the IPPF seminar and other discussions.
 
Representatives of SheDecides had a prominent role at the conference and joined with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Kaiser Family Foundation to present a petition to repeal the U.S. pro-life policy stating that the policy is harmful and hampers "our progress".
 
The U.S. is the world's largest contributor to global HIV/AIDS relief efforts, committing more than $6.6 billion annually to bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and NIH international HIV research; funding which is subject to the 'no abortion performance or promotion policy'.

 

Lancet Editorial: "Catholic Church v women's rights in Argentina"
Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, described by Wikipedia as "among the world's oldest, most prestigious, and best known general medical journals" has increasingly demonstrated its pro-abortion bias as it continues its U.N recognized leadership on global health issues. Following the defeat of legislation to advance access to abortion in Argentina, Lancet published an editorial "Catholic Church v women's rights in Argentinathe Catholic Church in Argentina and Pope Francis going as far as calling on Pope Francis to revise Church doctrine against abortion in light of modern "norms".
 
The editorial begins by calling the pro-life win "disappointing news" stating that "public support" had helped bring the country to the point of passing the abortion legislation while ignoring the pro-life support among Argentines who helped defeat the bill. The pro-abortion loss is attributed to the influence of the Catholic Church which Lancet views in the negative outraged that "Catholic bishops spoke out against the bill and the Cardinal of Buenos Aires pontificated fetal rights in a mass during the legislative debate."
 
Lancet's strongest criticism is leveled at the pope: "Most disappointing is Pope Francis, the Argentinian leader of the worldwide Catholic Church". Lancet claims, "While Pope Francis has been praised for his progressive views on some social justice issues, he deserves no credit for advancing women's rights. Just a week before the abortion vote, the Vatican reformed its position on the death penalty, declaring it inadmissible in all cases. Thus, Pope Francis seems comfortable changing doctrine based on modernised social norms with regard to the rights of prisoners. But he offers no such accommodation to women's reproduction."
 
Read more here.
IPPF: Messaging Guide Suggests Not Using the Word "Abortion"
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) issued a guide for abortion messaging that eliminates the words "abortion" and "abortionist". The guide, suggested for use by educators, health providers and policy makers, lays out a series of words and phrases that should not be used and suggests alternatives. For instance, it says not to use "abortionist" but rather "healthcare provider", instead of "baby" or "unborn child", say "embryo", "fetus" or "the pregnancy", and instead of "abort a child" one should say "voluntary interruption of pregnancy".
 
The guide goes as far as to even remove the word "abortion": 'Abort a child' is medically inaccurate, as the fetus is not yet a child. 'Terminate' a pregnancy is commonly used, however some people prefer to avoid this as terminate may have negative connotations (e.g. 'terminator' or 'assassinate') for some people. In some contexts, the word 'abortion' has negative connotations. In these situations, it may be helpful to avoid the word completely. IPPF also suggests removing words ending with -cide such as gendercide or fetal feticide "as it denotes "killing" which is "not appropriate when describing abortion".
Defending Life
Argentina: Senators Reject Bill to Legalize Abortion
Senators in Argentina rejected a bill to legalize abortion on demand for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy following intense demonstrations in the streets and after days of hearings and extended debate in the chamber. The bill-Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy-was rejected by 38 senators and approved by 31 senators with two abstaining. The same bill was approved in June by the Chamber of Deputies in a close 129-125 vote. The history of the legislative process, including videos from the hearing can be found here.
 
Abortion is currently allowed in case of rape or when the life or health of the woman is at risk. If the legislation became law, late term abortion would be allowed if a pregnancy presents a risk to a woman's "physical, psychological or social health"- broad language which could result in late term abortion on demand.
 
The vote received international attention including from 60 pro-abortion lawmakers in Ireland who signed onto an Amnesty International (AI) letter to Argentine senators calling for a vote in favor of the legalization of abortion. AI recently stated its new position that access to abortion is a human right.
 
Following defeat of the bill promoting access to the violent and fatal act of abortion, Amnesty International's Executive Director for Argentina declared, "All that this decision does is perpetuate the circle of violence which women, girls and others who can become pregnant are forced into. The executive branch had sent a message by opening the debate, but the legislative branch has not risen to the occasion."
 
Argentina's President Mauricio Macri has previously encouraged legislative debate on abortion stating that while he was personally opposed to abortion he would not veto a bill legalizing abortion if presented to him while Vice President Gabriela Michetti came out against the bill.
 
Sen. Silvia Giacoppo highlighted the euphemism of the bill's title, "Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy", pointing out that "interruption" means that something may be resumed later.
 
Other women serving in the Senate, addressed the hypocrisy of claiming to be for 'women's rights' while women in Argentina suffer from the country's troubled economy, lack of social support, and poor lack health services. Professor Charles Camosy of Fordham University confirmed the senators concerns,
 
"Maternal mortality rates are super important and too high in Argentina (50 in 100,000 live births). But neighboring Chile, which also has restrictive abortion laws, has a rate of only 20.5 and saw this rate *go down* after moving to dramatically restrict abortion rights. This gives credence to the arguments of pro-life female Argentine senators that the push for abortion rights was serving as a smoke-screen for their country's genuine problems: like corruption and lack of health care and other genuine, non-violent social services for women".
 
The pro-life victory in Argentina sends a message to the international abortion lobby that pregnancy is about two individuals who need love and support. The abortion lobby's insistence that the death of one is the 'right' of another is just wrong. Preborn children and their mothers both deserve support and real solutions.
Focus on the United Nations
Abortion Promoter Appointed to Highest Human Rights Position
The woman believed to be responsible for the legalization of abortion in Chile has been approved by the U.N. General Assembly to serve as the seventh High Commissioner for Human Rights. The decision to appoint Michelle Bachelet, immediate past president of Chile, was taken without a vote following the proposal by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Bachelet served two terms as president of Chile, including from 2014- 2018 when she advanced legislation that overturned Chile's ban on abortion in 2017. She also served as the first Executive Director of UN-Women between 2010 and 2013 and begins the four-year term as High Commissioner on September 1.
 
The position of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was created in 1993 as the "principal United Nations office mandated to promote and protect human rights for all, OHCHR leads global human rights efforts speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide." There is concern that Bachelet's lack of objectivity on abortion will result in additional use of the office to promote abortion.
 
The world has witnessed the lack of "objectivity" by the OHCHR on abortion which has been replaced by blatant pro-abortion activism which uses the processes of the office to promote abortion as demonstrated by recent actions by "special rapporteurs, independent experts, and working groups-- appointed by the Council to monitor human rights in different countries or in relation to specific issues."
 
These include the report by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, which was highly critical of state restrictions on abortion in the U.S. and claimed: "Low income women face legal and practical obstacles, such as mandatory waiting periods and long driving distances to clinics. This lack of access to abortion services traps many women in cycles of poverty."
 
The OHCHR serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council, the key United Nations intergovernmental body responsible for human rights consisting of State representatives. It also provides legal research and secretariat support to the core human rights treaty bodies including known abortion-promoting CEDAW and provides assistance to governments "such as expertise and technical trainings in the areas of administration of justice, legislative reform, and electoral process, to help implement international human rights standards on the ground."
 
Pro-life advocates have many reasons to be concerned about this appointment and are urged to be vigilant in monitoring the actions of U.N. human rights entities in actions affecting their countries.
UN: Human Rights Experts Regret Argentina's Vote for Life
An example of the a process of the OHCHR being using to promote abortion is the recent statement by 'UN human rights experts' who voiced their strong regret on Argentina's vote against legalizing abortion, claiming that the country had "failed" Argentinian women. "We deeply regret that the Argentinian Senate failed to seize this historical moment to demonstrate the country's commitment towards eliminating discrimination against women in its legislation and to advance women's and adolescents' sexual and reproductive rights, in accordance with its international human rights obligations," stated the experts. The group had also strongly lobbied the government and congress prior to the vote to support legalizing abortion. Despite the strong opinion of the UN experts, an international human right to abortion does not exist and they rely on pro-abortion interpretations of treaties as the basis of their recommendations and criticisms.
Legislative News
AU: Senate Rejects Euthanasia Bill
The Australian Senate defeated a bill to permit assisted suicide by a vote of 36 to 34. The legislation would have permitted the territories the authority to legislate on the issue of euthanasia, overturning a current federal law prohibiting it. The narrow defeat occurred after two members who had been in favor of the bill voted against it. "I cannot in good conscience offer my support to this bill which will provide the territories the ability to legislate in the area of voluntary euthanasia, certainly without ensuring that appropriate safeguards were in place," said Senator Steve Martin, who changed his position on the bill.

 

Chile: Chamber to Debate Assisted Suicide
The Chilean legislature is considering legislation to legalize euthanasia. The bill would permit assisted suicide for the terminally ill or in cases of extreme suffering. It has been approved by a legislative commission and now goes for debate by the full Chamber of Deputies, where it is expected to pass. If approved, Chile would become the second country in Latin America to permit assisted suicide. The bill's sponsor, Vlado Mirosevic, highlights what he describes as Chile's progressive change. "Chile had a reputation within the region of a being a very conservative country, and that vision has definitely changed," said Mirosevic.

 

Spain: Lawmakers Urge El Salvador Parliamentarians to Legalize Abortion
Spanish pro-abortion parliamentarians are urging Central American countries to legalize abortion. In meetings sponsored by the Spanish Federation for Family Planning (FPFE), members agreed to send a statement to the newly elected members of the El Salvador's Legislative Assembly. The declaration urges all members to agree upon a "legal framework that allows the legal and safe interruption of pregnancy in cases of serious health problems, to help ensure health and the safety of women and girls." FPFE also strategized with members of parliament to advocate for the protection of "women's rights defenders", in other words, activists who work for the legalization of abortion.

 

Executive News
Mexico: New Administration Seeks to Legalize Abortion Nationwide
Pro-abortion organizations report that the new Mexican government under Andres Manual Lopez Obrador plans to legalize abortion on demand for the first trimester throughout the country. The new Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero seeks to open discussion on the issue with Mexico's 32 states. While Mexico City legalized abortion in 2007, 18 states have laws that protect the unborn from the moment of conception. This new government run by the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Movement for National Regeneration) party takes office on December 1st.
Ireland: Minister for Health Wants to Make Abortion Available to Northern Ireland
Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris says he plans to extend abortion to Northern Ireland, where it remains illegal. Harris plans to introduce legislation legalizing abortion in Ireland following May's national referendum to repeat the Eighth amendment, and hopes to extend those services to the North. "Whilst I respect the issue of abortion laws in Northern Ireland is a matter for public representatives in Northern Ireland, I really hope this is addressed in the near future," Harris said in a recent speech. "In the meantime, I intend to ensure women from Northern Ireland can access such services in the Republic, just like they can access other health services here."
Finland: Minister Criticized for Pro-Life Statements
Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini celebrated Argentina's vote protecting the right to life and is being condemned by abortion supporters in his government for his pro-life stand. Soini posted a blog entry praising the Argentina vote, to which legislators and abortion supporters quickly responded. "Timo Soini's abortion stance is an embarrassment for Finland. Where does the government draw the line? A foreign minister representing Finland cannot praise Argentina's stamping on the rights of women," tweeted SDP MP Nasima Razmyar. When asked for comment, Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipilä emphasized Finland's support of abortion as a human right and emphasized that it is an essential part of the nation's foreign policy. Soini was also criticized months earlier when he opposed Ireland's referendum vote to repeal the pro-life Eighth Amendment. In defense of his statements, Soini emphasized his freedom of speech and rights of conscience.
Morocco: Health Ministry Suspends Abortion Drug
Morocco's Health Minister has suspended the sale of a type of misoprostol for six months due to the use of the drug for inducing abortion. Artotec, the specific drug that is suspended is manufactured by Pfizer and was previously available without a prescription at pharmacies. The Ministry plans to do a "batch recall" of the misoprostol drug and after six months will determine if it should be only available through hospitals, as the other misoprostol drug Cytotec is. The Ministry's reason for suspending Artotec is due to its off-label use for abortion. Explained the Ministry, "...as a regulator, we must put safeguards against drug use contrary to the law." Artotec is one of the abortion drugs distributed by Women on Waves, the abortion promoter known for bringing abortion into countries that protect the right to life. Abortion is banned in Morocco except in cases of the mother's life. Legislation to increase access to abortion was introduced in June 2016 but has yet to be considered.
Judicial News
Brazil: Supreme Court Hearing on Abortion
The Supreme Federal Court of Brazil held a public hearing on a case designed to result in the legalization of abortion for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The lawsuit ADPF n. 442 (or Arguição de Descumprimento de Preceito Fundamental n. 442 in Portuguese) was filed by Brazil's Socialism and Freedom Party on March 8, 2017 (International Women's Day) together with pro-abortion NGO, Anis-Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender.
 
The strategic lawsuit is an attempt to push access to abortion through the Court since the legislature is overwhelming pro-life.
 
Brazil's bishops conference was represented by Bishop Ricardo Hoerpes of Rio Grande, Brazil, who questioned,
 
"How will the Supreme Court explain a capital punishment sentence of an innocent, defenseless human being to justify our incapacity in producing adequate public policies when it comes to women's reproductive rights?"
 
"The right to life is the most fundamental of rights and, therefore, more than any other, must be protected. It is a right intrinsic to the human condition and not a concession of the state. The powers of the republic have an obligation to guarantee and defend it," he stressed.
 
The bishop argued that the issue should be debated by the people's representatives, in Congress, and not in a court of law.
 
Read more here.
 

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

In this issue

 
International Pressure for Abortion
New Pro-Abortion Alliance Formed: Abortion and HIV/AIDS
Lancet Editorial: "Catholic Church v women's rights in Argentina"
IPPF: Messaging Guide Suggests Not Using the Word "Abortion"  
 
Defending Life
Argentina: Senators Reject Bill to Legalize Abortion
 
Focus on the United Nations
Abortion Promoter Appointed to Highest Human Rights Position
Human Rights Experts Regret Argentina's Vote for Life
 
Legislative News
AU: Senate Rejects Euthanasia Bill
Chile: Chamber to Debate Assisted Suicide
Spain: Lawmakers Urge El Salvador Parliamentarians to Legalize Abortion
 
Executive News
Mexico: New Administration Seeks to Legalize Abortion Nationwide
Ireland: Minister for Health Wants to Make Abortion Available to Northern Ireland
Finland: Minister Criticized for Pro-Life Statements
Morocco: Health Ministry Suspends Abortion Drug
 
Judicial News 
Brazil: Supreme Court Hearing on Abortion