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From the Countries


Health Ministers Want to Kill Africa

Health ministers from more than 40 African countries recently met to discuss health strategies for the continent under the Maputo Protocol. The ministers’ solution was to adopt a proposal to increase legal abortion in that continent, reported the Ethiopian Herald.

“A wider women’s health programme should he institutionalized including broad coverage of family planning (repositioned into wider reproductive health programmes),” the document states. “Amongst other factors,… safe abortion services should be included, as far as the law allows.”

Nigeria and Uganda have already voiced opposition to the push for legalized abortion and disregard for the local culture, which respects life. “We request President Museveni and the delegation that will represent Uganda at the upcoming meeting of the African Union in Addis Abba to reject any policy that would expose Uganda in particular, and Africa as a whole, to mass murder through the legalisation of abortion,” said Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) Deputy Secretary for Finance and Administration, Sylvester Arinaitwe.

Africa’s Catholic bishops also spoke out on the lack of respect for human life. “We, the Catholic Church, teach that ‘human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable rights of every innocent being to life,’” His Eminence Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Tanzania said. “We would like to draw the attention of the political leaders of Africa [to] our strong reservations concerning some aspects of Article 14 of the Maputo Protocol that is the “Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women,” Cardinal Pengo continued speaking also for his fellow bishops.

“The Church has continually affirmed since the first century that it is a moral evil for any person or agent to procure an abortion,” Bishop Pengo said, “This teaching has not changed and remains unchanged. That is to say, direct abortion or abortion willed either as an end or as a means is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

See the Source: Gudrun Schultz “African Health Ministers Vote to Approve Protocol to Legalize Abortion Throughout Continent,” LifeSitenews.com, 17 April 2007, http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/apr/07041701.html

Supreme Court on Partial-Birth Abortion

In a 5–4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a nationwide ban on partial-birth abortion. This pro-life victory highlights the impact of George Bush’s two Supreme Court appointments.

With this decision, the justices rejected the proposal to rescind the 2003 law even though it does not include an exception for cases risking the health of the mother. The Court also rejected the claim that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is too vague and would force doctors to forgo a commonly used, constitutionally protected abortion technique for fear of prosecution.

Bush appointees Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in achieving a 5–4 majority in favor of the ban. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens and David Souter dissented.

The decision suggests a more receptive approach toward abortion restrictions than in 2000, when the Court ruled on a similar Nebraska law in Stenberg v. Carhart, saying the federal statute was narrower in key respects than the Nebraska law. The majority also allows the possibility for doctors to ask a judge for permission to use the disputed procedure for a particular medical condition that may pose a health risk to the mother. The decision forbids procedures where a fetus is partially removed from the mother before being killed. Although the law is aimed primarily at the intact dilation and extraction, or intact D&E procedures, the statute does not dictate the medical definition of that technique. Intact D&E is a relatively rare technique used by some doctors in the second trimester of pregnancy.

In 2003 when Bush signed the measure into law, he said, “A terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth.”

See the Source: Greg Stohr, “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Upheld by Top U.S. Court (Update 1),” Bloomberg.com, 18 April 2007, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pdi=20601087&sid=aPpyqGiTGYTo&refer=home

Legal Matters Awaiting Decisions

With the Supreme Court’s recent decision banning the practice of partial birth abortion in Gonzales v. Carhart, anti-life activists are warily watching other high court rulings that may influence lawsuits they would like to see decided in their favor.

Those which may be affected:

  1. Missouri. Virginia and Utah: Partial birth abortion lawsuits are pending that challenge state laws banning the procedure.

  2. Michigan: Efforts to overturn a state law defining a human embryo or fetus as a legally born person once any non-severed part of the baby is born.

  3. South Dakota: A lawsuit concerning informed consent, which challenges a law that would require doctors to tell women that an abortion ends a human life. A state law in South Dakota requiring doctors to tell women of the psychological harm caused by abortion is pending the outcome of the informed consent ruling, so it also could be affected. If pro-lifers get a positive outcome to these two laws, there is the general belief that it will be duplicated in other states throughout the country.

  4. Ohio: A lawsuit making it illegal for doctors to prescribe the abortifacient RU-486. after the seventh week of pregnancy.

  5. Missouri: A lawsuit challenging a federal ruling allowing women in prisons in Missouri to get abortions.

See the Source: “Pending Abortion Cases Around the U.S.,” WashingtonPost.com, 18 April 2007, http://www.washgintonpost.com/wp/dyn/content/article/2007/04/18/AR2007041801504_2.html

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