Parliamentary Network E-News

Volume 13
No. 3
March, 2019
 
Focus on Abortion Funding
US: No Funds to the International Abortion Industry
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a press conference that the Trump Administration was going to close the "loopholes" that allowed international organizations that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning to receive US funding. The move results from a desire to ensure that no U.S. taxpayer dollars were enabling the international abortion industry.
 
Secretary Pompeo stated that President Trump's expansion of the what was previously known as the "Mexico City Policy"-now the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy-"...protects every human life impacted by the nearly $9 billion of foreign aid we spend on global health programs each year, and in turn protects more unborn babies around the world than ever before. This is decent; this is right. And I'm proud to serve in an administration that protects the least amongst us."
 
He explained how two years into the administration "the vast majority of our implementing partners have agreed to comply with the policy, and they continue to work with us. This administration has shown that we can continue to meet our critical global health goals, including providing healthcare for women, while refusing to subsidize the killing of unborn babies." Now the administration is seeking to implement the policy to the "broadest extent possible" as Secretary Pompeo announced "further refinements to advance our efforts to protect the least amongst us."
 
The change according to the Secretary makes it clear "we will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry. We will enforce a strict prohibition on backdoor funding schemes and end-runs around our policy. American taxpayer dollars will not be used to underwrite abortions."
 
He also announced that the administration would be "fully enforcing federal law prohibiting the use of U.S. funds, including foreign assistance, to lobby for or against abortion, otherwise known as the Siljander Amendment."
 
The first target of the decision to enforce the 1981 Siljander Amendment is "abortion-related advocacy by an organ of the Organization of American States" (OAS). According to Secretary Pompeo he has directed his team "to include a provision in foreign assistance agreements with the OAS that explicitly prohibits the use of funds to lobby for or against abortion" and stated that the OAS should be "addressing crises in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela and not on advancing the pro-abortion cause." U.S. funding to the OAS is being reduced by the "estimated U.S. share of possible OAS expenditures on these abortion-related activities."
 
The decision follows a letter from 9 US Senators expressing their concern that two OAS entities-the Inter American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter American Commission on Women- were lobbying for abortion in Latin America in "direct contravention of U.S. law". The letter included multiple examples of the activities advocating for abortion in countries with laws protecting unborn children from the violence of abortion.  
 
Secretary Pompeo concluded his remarks saying, "The American people should rest assured that this administration - and this State Department, and our USAID - will do all we can to safeguard U.S. taxpayer dollars and protect and respect the sanctity of life for people all around the globe."
 
According to the Marist Pollonly 19% of Americans believe that US tax dollars should be used to pay for abortions in other countries with 75% opposing such funding.
The European Parliament Approves Funding for Abortion in Aid Budget
The European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg approved a new budget €93.154 billion ($104 billion) for development funding for the years 2021- 2027 and places it under one new stream called the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) which is claimed will advance "a human rights-based approach to development assistance".
 
The proposed budget, as amended in the Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation Committees, includes funding for "sexual and reproductive health and rights" and special funding of €2.2 billion ($2.5 billion) for NGOs which the bill claims face "shrinking space" all over the world. It seeks to advance EU development priorities and to help countries achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The targeted regions for EU aid are the "countries of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States."
 
The NDICI includes "Promoting the protection and fulfilment of women's and girls' rights, including economic, labour, social and political rights, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, including sexual and reproductive health services, education and supplies"; the promotion of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) includes "sexual and reproductive health services" which in EU advocacy includes abortion.
 
IPPF Europe -ineligible for U.S. funding because it performs and promotes abortion-was ecstatic over the passage of the budget stating"Today in Strasbourg, a sizable majority of MEPs voted to support sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), gender equality, and the empowerment of women as key aspects of the EU's next seven-year budget plan for external relations.
 
Following passage of the bill in the two committees, IPPF praised the amendments stating"These commit the European Union to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of a human rights-based approach to development assistance. In addition, MEPs supported amendments that called for EU support for access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and sexuality education."
 
According to the official EP press release, the NDICI "would provide €89.2 billion ($100.6 billion), of which €68 billion ($76.7 billion) would be directed geographically and €7 billion ($7.9 billion) thematically."
 
The text was approved by 420 votes in favor, 146 against, and 102 abstentions. The upcoming May 23-26 elections for the European Parliament could affect final negotiations between the European Parliament and European Council on the NDICI.
 
According to Neil Datta, Secretary of the pro-abortion European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights, "This vote shows how important it is that we continue to work vocally in support of these issues, particularly as the European elections in May 2019 may usher in a political climate that is even more hostile to sexual and reproductive health and rights and issues of gender equality. However, we hope that following the European elections in May 2019, and the installation of a new European Commission at the end of the year, that the commitments made in Strasbourg today are not diluted." 
 
It cannot be overstated, the May elections for the European Parliament are critically important in the global struggle to protect unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion.
Ireland's New Foreign Aid Program Expected to Fund Abortion
The Irish government has launched a new overseas aid policy that is feared will fund abortion in developing countries. A Better World Ireland's Policy for International Development was formally launched by Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar and includes the news, "We will launch a new initiative around sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)" and "A new initiative on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) will be an important means of revitalising and reorganising our approach and priorities. Ireland also has a story to tell."
 
A Better World explains the extreme pro-abortion ideology behind the policy, "Access to health services, including access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, is fundamental for realising SRHR and transforming women's health outcomes. Coherence with the evolution of SRHR in Ireland, amongst all relevant departments and agencies, will underpin our approach to human rights, gender equality, health and SRHR issues".
 
The new policywill be administered by Irish Aid, Ireland's official development aid program. According to a news report"The new plan is likely to take account of the changed Irish position on abortion and will set aside a previous rule against funding abortion. The ban on funding for abortion was in place because of a rule that aid should not be used for purposes in conflict with domestic Irish policy. In the past, Irish embassies abroad have specifically requested of aid recipient countries that they do not use Irish funding for abortion services."
 
It also relays the news about a statement from the Foreign Affairs Department that explains, "Coherence with our domestic policies has always been a key priority for Ireland in our international development programmes and this will continue to be the case.
 
"With regard to sexual and reproductive health rights, we are liaising very closely with other government departments, in particular the Department of Health, and we are currently engaged in analysing the implications of the changes in our national legislation for our work in this area."
 
While Irish Aid provides support to a large number of countries, the department says that its main focus is on sub-Saharan Africa with long-term development assistance programs in eight countries: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. It also has long-term programs in Vietnam and supports work in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia, and Palestine.
 
Last year Ireland spent nearly €750 million ($840 million) on development aid and has pledged to reach the UN target of 0.7 percent of GNP on foreign aid by 2030, requiring an increase of €100-€150 million($112-168 million) every year for the next 10 years, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.
 
Pro-abortion activists  are eagerly anticipating abortion funding from Ireland reporting, "Ireland saw a significant 2018 referendum to liberalise abortion access in the country which is expected to have positive ripple effects on its interna­tional development policy in the years to come."
Documentary Reveals Abortion "Strings Attached" to Aid in Africa
Culture of Life Africa has produced a feature-length documentary-Strings Attachedthat is exposing how aid to Africa from the UK, Canada, and European countries funds the work of abortion industry giant Marie Stopes International (MSI), which is known to perform illegal abortions in Africa.
 
The film "presents the African side of the story of enthusiastic western donors and the African recipient of their 'gifts', particularly, the African women who are the primary targets of the donors' dollars."
 
At the center of this documentary is Marie Stopes International (MSI), a London- based health organization that lost U.S. funding because it performs and promotes abortion as a method of family planning.
 
Obianuju Ekeocha, writer of Strings Attached and founder and president of Culture of Life Africa, writes in the summary of the film, "This documentary amplifies these African voices that have never been heard before with the hope that the world will finally listen to them, hear their experiences, share in their sorrows and take action to end this form of neocolonialism that is destroying lives in Africa under the guise of "sexual and reproductive health and rights".
 
In an interview Ekeocha said about the majority of pro-life African nations, "They don't have legal abortion not because they cannot legalise abortion. Most of the African nations do not have legal abortion because they don't want legal abortion.
 
"We have parliaments, we have different paths of legislature that can go through the process of legalising abortion - of passing a Bill, of making it law - but still the African countries continue to hold on to a particular view of the human person that life begins at conception."
 
The film is being well-received by lawmakers in Africa. Members of the Uganda Pro-Life Parliamentary Caucus hosted a screening of the film and were horrified to learn how aid money from the West is being used to fund illegal abortions and dangerous contraceptives. Lucy Akello, MP for the Amuru District said: "If this money, the millions of dollars and euros, if it is translated into educating a girl child in Africa, how much difference would that have made?"
 
Another MP said that Africa does not need western organizations telling its people how to control their fertility. "The problems of Africa will not be solved by people outside Africa. They will be solved by the Africans themselves", he said.
 
The film was also screened during the UN's Commission on the Status of Women at an event jointly hosted by the Nigerian Permanent Mission to the UN and C-Fam. Obianuju Ekeocha hopes to take the documentary to as many African countries as possible stating, "The devastation caused by Marie Stopes, backed by western donors, needs to be exposed, and a true culture of life promoted."
Defending Life
Pope Francis: Even in Extreme Cases, Abortion Doesn't Solve Problems
In a recent interview, Pope Francis said that even in desperate cases,"it is not lawful to eliminate a human life to solve a problem." Pope Francis was asked specifically about the tragic case of a woman being trafficked and raped who becomes pregnant. "Is it permissible to eliminate a human life to solve a problem? Is it permissible to hire someone to eliminate [the child]?" the pope questioned. Pope Francis also noted an increase in awareness of the need to help women facing crisis pregnancies, saying, "A whole work of accompaniment, of giving dignity, has been unfolded."  
USA: FDA Orders Abortion Provider to Stop Mailing Abortion Drugs
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered a European organization to immediately stop sending abortion pills by mail to the US. In a letter, the FDA told Aid Access to "immediately cease causing the introduction of these volatile drugs into U.S. Commerce." Aid Access is part of Women on Waves, the European abortion provider notorious for bringing abortion drugs and services into countries where it is illegal. With an online consultation, Aid Access provides women with the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol for $95. The FDA explained,  "The sale of misbranded and unapproved new drugs poses an inherent risk to consumers who purchase those products."
 
The FDA has reported 22 deaths of the 3.4 million women who have taken mifepristone for abortion, about 1 in 155,000. Pro-life groups have warned of the dangers of providing abortion drugs on the internet. "Risking women's lives to make a political point and a quick profit makes no sense, and we sadly anticipate horror stories when inevitably something goes wrong," said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. 
Babies Go to European Parliament
The first "Babies Go to the European Parliament" event was held in Brussels at the European Parliament with the theme "Beyond the pro-life vs pro-choice debate, there is room for the EU to support women in a pregnancy crisis". Participants in the event addressed what could be done concretely in the EU to help women in a "pregnancy crisis" described as "a time where the woman cannot fully enjoy the life of the child she bears, because she is under pressure from her partner, her family, her workmates, and her employers, and receives no support whatsoever from her community. She is often left to her own devices, and her insecurities are further enhanced either by the indifference of those surrounding her, or by physical and psychological abuse - lasting for months, uninterruptedly."
 
Speakers included women who had faced a pregnancy crisis and who talked about their experiences, representatives of centers offering support to pregnant women, Members of the European Parliament, and individuals interested in opening new centers or beginning new support programs.
 
The event was organized Cătălin Ivan, MEP, who spoke about the need for national and European policies that would support women in a pregnancy crisis and the Saint Alexandra the Empress Centre in Romania, a support center. The event was a result of growing pro-life activism in Romania - especially support for the March for life which was estimated to have taken place in over 500 towns and villages in Romania and the Republic of Moldova in the month of March and was reported as "having been instrumental in bringing the pregnancy crisis phenomenon to the attention of the general public."
 
Babies Go to the European Parliament was inspired by the Babies Go to Congress initiative of Heartbeat International where women in the US who have experienced a pregnancy crisis go to Congress "together with their children and give testimonials before the Congress members, who congratulate them on their courage and discuss ways of supporting women in a pregnancy crisis."
 
Branislav Skripek, MEP and President of the European Christian Political Movement, stated that he had recently learned about the pregnancy crisis issue and that he was impressed by the testimonials he heard.
Pro-Life Groups Unite to Launch App on the Humanity of the Unborn Child
A coalition of U.S. pro-life groups initiated a project to highlight the humanity of the unborn child through the stages of development. The app, named "See Baby Pregnancy Guide", features video footage of an unborn baby in each week of pregnancy. "In the debate over abortion, the starting point is simple: Who is this child? This project will answer that question in a definitive way, based on indisputable medical facts and astonishing imagery," explained Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. The app includes information and resources as users follow "Baby Chris" through his development. Calling the baby in the womb "our youngest neighbor", Father Frank hopes that, "By seeing these children and knowing more about their development, people can see more clearly that these are our brothers and sisters." The initiative was launched on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, a day widely celebrated as Day of the Unborn Child.
30,000 Doctors Agree Abortion is Never Medically Necessary
Leaders from medical groups representing 30,000 doctors issued a letter stating that "abortion is never medically necessary to save a mother's life". The letter, published at the Public Discourse, explains why the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is medically and ethically sound legislation. The bill, which recently failed to pass the U.S. Senate, would require medical attention be given to babies who survive a late term abortion. The doctors argued that abortion does not actually treat a medical problem: "Pregnancy is not a disease, and deliberately killing the unborn child by abortion is not healthcare."
 
They explained that in the event of a threat to a mother's life, there is not actually time for an abortion, which requires a couple days. "We can, and do, save the life of the mother through delivery of an intact infant in a hospital where both the mother and her newborn can receive the care that they need. There is no medical reason to intentionally kill that fetal human being through an inhumane abortion procedure, e.g. dismembering a living human being capable of feeling pain or saline induction which burns off the skin, or feticide with subsequent induction." The letter was signed by the American College of Pediatricians, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical & Dental Associations and Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Working to Protect Unborn Baby Girls from Sex Selection Abortion
The United Nations (UN) 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women  
concluded but its final outcome document has yet to be released. The theme for this year's conference was "Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls". As a UN Representative for Priests for Life (PFL), PNCI's Director Marie Smith prepared the PFL submission statement which focused on the elimination of prenatal sex selection, the first act of discrimination and violence based soley on sex. The statement addressed imbalanced sex ratios at birth that demonstrate the lack of social protection for girls in the prenatal stage of life and which are a sign of lethal male preference that not only results in gender inequality but gives rise to increased violence against women and girls throughout their lives.
 
A similar concern was echoed by Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet, U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, who also said "Let's be clear - we are not about gender jargon. Today, here at the Commission on the Status of Women, we are about women. Women and girls. The life of all women and girls. The United States is also committed to protecting the precious gift of life including the protection of baby girls who would have been aborted, merely because they are female."
 
Prior to the CSW session, PNCI spearheaded a special communication to CSW calling attention to the issue "Prenatal Sex Selection Results in Increased Violence Against Girls and Women" and was joined by PFL, Women's Rights Without Frontiers, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) Education Fund, and International Solidarity and Human Rights Institute (ISHRI). The communication highlighted data and research which shows that failure to protect girls in the prenatal stage of life results in skewed birth ratios and leads to increased violence, kidnappings, rapes, sex trafficking and prostitution, bride-selling, and child marriage as countries struggle with unprecedented demographic challenges precipitated by significant numbers of missing women and girls.
 
The communication included a warning from demographers that imbalanced sex ratios will continue with dire consequences and the worldwide number of missing women from 2010-2050 will rise for two more decades before peaking at 150 million in 2035. The anticipated imbalance will be exacerbated by access to prenatal sex determination technology and use of abortion-inducing drugs.
Executive News
Ireland: Doctors Need Not Apply if They Won't Perform Abortions
Recent advertisements at an Irish hospital required that applicants be willing to carry out abortions, disregarding all conscience protections for medical personnel. Ireland's bishops strongly criticized the move, saying it violates a doctor's "constitutional and human right to freedom of conscience". In a statement, the bishops explained, "Doctors who are pro-life and who may have spent over a decade training in these areas and who may otherwise be the best candidate for these positions are now advised that, should they apply, they would not be eligible for consideration. This totally undermines the whole concept of freedom of conscience which was guaranteed in the recent legislation." In passing legislation legalizing abortion, the Irish government had said it would protect physicians' conscience rights, but then also dictated that any federally funded hospital would have to perform abortions.
Norway: New Government Regulation Focuses on Pregnancies of Multiples
Norway's government is increasing pro-life protections for the first time since 1978. Norway's current law requires that abortion after 12 weeks gestation have to be approved by a panel of two doctors. A new 2019 regulation pertains to pregnancies with mutli-fetal pregnancies and requires committee approval for abortion before and after 12 weeks. The government explained there is a difference between standard abortion and fetal reduction. The new policy is fruit of a new government coalition that now includes a pro-life party. It is the first time the Norwegian government has had a right-leaning majority since 1985. Abortion advocates are strongly protesting the new policy and are calling for a change in the abortion law to permit abortion on demand up to 18 weeks.
El Salvador: European Ambassadors Pushing Pro-Abortion Agenda
Ambassadors from France, Germany and the European Union participated in a pro-abortion feminist march in pro-life El Salvador, disregarding international agreements to respect a country's sovereign laws. The three ambassadors were part of a March Women's Day march that called for abortion on demand, marked by green handkerchiefs and messages such as "Deciding is my right". In a statement, pro-life leaders in El Salvador said "these actions constitute a clear transgression of our sovereignty and an offense against the Salvadoran people." They said if the ambassadors truly cared about protecting the country's women, they would instead promote health care policies that address pre-eclampsia, the number one cause of maternal deaths. Pro-life citizens in El Salvador carry celestial handkerchiefs that signify "Save the two lives". El Salvador's constitution protects the right to life from the moment of conception and its laws and culture reflect the value of every person.
Germany: Cabinet Revises Abortion Law for Doctors
The German cabinet approved what was described as "a compromise amendment" permitting doctors to say they provide abortion services, but still prohibiting them from advertising for it. The provision addresses paragraph 219a of the Penal Code that bans the "advertisement of abortion". The new provision will permit doctors to state on their website whether they do perform abortions and the German Medical Association will compile a list of hospitals and physicians where services are offered. The Social Democratic Party had wanted to remove the paragraph completely; however, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and allies in the Christian Social Union (CSU) were opposed. Under the new policy, women will still need to consult a counseling service or physician for abortion information. The measure was approved by the German Bundestag.

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

In this Issue

 
Focus on Abortion Funding
US: No Funds to the International Abortion Industry
The European Parliament Approves Funding for Abortion in Aid Budget
Ireland's New Foreign Aid Program Expected to Fund Abortion
Documentary Reveals Abortion "Strings Attached" to Aid in Africa
 
Defending Life
Pope Francis: Even in Extreme Cases, Abortion Doesn't Solve Problems
USA: FDA Orders Abortion Provider to Stop Mailing Abortion Drugs
Babies Go to European Parliament
Pro-Life Groups Unite to Launch App on Humanity of the Unborn Child
30,000 Doctors Agree Abortion is Never Medically Necessary
Working to Protect Unborn Baby Girls from Sex Selection Abortion
 
Executive News
Ireland: Doctors Need Not Apply if They Won't Perform Abortions
Norway: New Government Regulation Focuses on Pregnancies of Multiples
El Salvador: European Ambassadors Pushing Pro-Abortion Agenda
Germany: Cabinet Revises Abortion Law for Doctors