Canada: Record Numbers March for Life on Parliament Hill
A record setting 25,000 pro-lifers filled Parliament Hill for the 16th National March for Life. The annual event marks the passage of the „Omnibus Bill” in 1969 that opened the door to abortion in Canada. The theme this year focused on ending sex selection abortion, an issue that has received greater attention this year due to Tory MP Mark Warawa’s Motion 408 seeking to ban female gendercide and reports indicating that it is being practiced among some of Canada’s Southeast Asian immigrant populations.
Twenty-one members of Parliament and two Senators spoke to the marchers. Noting the March for Life is the most important event on Parliament Hill each year, Bev Shipley, Conservative MP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, said, „There is none, there is none as significant as this one, supporting the dignity and the sustainability of life”. Conservative MP Stephen Woodwort told the crowd, „We’re here today to convince Parliament that human equality and human dignity are more important than any political interest. And I’m counting on you to take that message back with you all across Canada.”
EU: Chinese Activist Urges MPs to Stand Up to China
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng told Members of the European Parliament to confront China on its use of „evil forces” and gross human rights violations. Chen, known for his criticism of China’s one-child policy, shared his personal experiences witnessing its brutal enforcement. He said there were 120,000 to 130,000 forced abortions and sterilizations in one year in his city alone, with some abortion occurring at full term, and as Chen emphasized, were not voluntary. Family members of women involved suffered torture and intimidation.
Chen urged lawmakers to do more to hold the Chinese government accountable. „In the future, these human rights talks should be as open and transparent as possible. Also, they need to be specific about action items, rather than just say that they have ‘talked about it.’ What was said? Who said what, they need to be as specific as possible,” said Chen. He also urged MPs to institute punitive actions, suggesting that they „should deny entry to these Communist Party officials who openly challenge the justice of humanity, and also freeze all of their assets in Europe.” MPs were receptive to Chen’s suggestions and agreed the EU should do more to hold China accountable for its human rights violations.
Georgia: Calls for Sex Selection Abortion Ban Amidst Growing Gender Imbalance
Georgia’s parliament is expected to soon consider legislation to restrict abortion to counter its growing gender imbalance. The practice of sex selection abortion has become a demographic problem in a country that has one of the highest abortion rates in Europe. Chairman of the parliament’s Health and Social Protection Committee, Dimitri Khundadze is urging lawmakers to ban sex-selective abortion, which he says accounted for one-third of the 36,000 abortions performed in Georgia last year. Conservatives and the Orthodox Church are calling for an outright ban on abortion. In his Easter message, head of the Orthodox Church Patriarch Ilia II said, „When the country is in such a difficult demographic situation, I think that the government must pass a law banning abortions, with just a small number of exceptions, of course.”
Lithuania: Parliament Votes to Limit Abortion Access
The Lithuanian parliament has approved a bill to limit access to abortion, a first step towards banning it. The legislation would reform the country’s current law, which permits abortion on demand in the first trimester of pregnancy by prohibiting abortion except in cases of rape, incest or health complications. There are a reported 10,000 abortions every year in Lithuania, where the population is around three million. Zbignev Jedinskij, an MP from the LLRA Polish minority party, said the vote was a „success” and that it had „shown that lawmakers are open to a debate on this matter which is important for society.”
Nepal: Medical Association Calls for Government to Crack Down on Abortions
The Nepal Medical Association has called on the government to regulate abortion, with physicians threatening to strike if action is not taken. Health Ministry data reports that 95,000 abortions were performed from April 2010 to April 2011, with 25 percent of those performed on minors. Former head of the medical association, Dr. Bhola Rijal said „the increase in abortions is causing a public health disaster in the country. For this reason, we decided to oppose all forms of abortion.” He explained that many doctors are seeing the procedure as lucrative, regardless of its morality. „We’re trying,” he explained, „to train as many doctors as possible to stop this tragic trend. We want the government to enact stricter laws and permit abortion only in cases of serious danger to the mother’s life.” Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Praveen Mishara, acknowledges that „there is an abuse of abortion in Nepal. Our managers are doing everything possible to curb this phenomenon, which is reaching alarming proportions.”
USA: Expert Testifies Unborn Baby Can Feel Pain at 8 Weeks
At a recent committee hearing, U.S. Members of Congress were informed that unborn babies have the ability to feel pain as early as 8 weeks. Maureen Condic, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah and well published scientist, presented a detailed explanation of the development of the human nervous system, beginning at four weeks gestation. „The neural circuitry responsible for the most primitive response to pain, the spinal reflex, is in place by 8 weeks of development. This is the earliest point at which the fetus experiences pain in any capacity,” she explained. Condic acknowledged there is worldwide agreement that pain is experienced by the first trimester and that it is now a question of how this knowledge will be used. „Imposing pain on any pain-capable living creature is cruelty. And ignoring the pain experienced by another human individual for any reason is barbaric…. We simply have to decide whether we will choose to ignore the pain of the fetus or not,” she concludes. Full testimony here.
USA: Lawmakers Introduce Bill Banning Public Funding of Abortion
New legislation was been introduced in the U.S. Congress to ban the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion. The „No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” is sponsored by Representatives Chris Smith and Dan Lipinski in the House of Representatives (H.R. 7) and by Senator Roger Wicker in the Senate (S. 946). „The overwhelming view of Americans is their tax dollars should not be used to pay for abortions. Yet taxpayer dollars are poised to pay for abortions through the Affordable Care Act and we continue to rely on the dangerous practice of passing annual riders to carry out the desire of the American people that taxpayer-funded abortions should be prohibited,” said Rep. Lipinski.
Senator Wicker explained how this bill would codify pro-life policy into law, rather than relying on annual policy riders. „It is past time for a single, government-wide prohibition on abortion funding. This legislation accomplishes that goal by establishing a comprehensive policy prohibiting public funding for abortion in all federal programs,” said Wicker.
„More than 100 members of Congress have joined us in introducing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a government-wide prohibition on taxpayer subsidization for abortion”, stated Rep. Chris Smith. He added, „Even the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, confirms that taxpayer funding bans are a proven abortion reduction method. According to Guttmacher, studies show that when abortion is not publically funded, abortions in the covered population are reduced by roughly 25 percent.”