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PRI News Roundup October 18 2017 US Fertility Rate Drops: PRI Defends Life At OAS; Indiana Judge Rules Against Life



U.S. Fertility Rate Hits New Record Low

What can be done to reverse this ominous trend?

The last year of the Obama administration saw the fertility rate fall to an all-time low.

According to recent data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the U.S. fertility rate sank to a record low of 62.0 births per 1,000 women of reproductive age in 2016.

This was a slight decrease from the 2015 fertility rate which stood at 62.5. The downward trend is not showing signs of stopping either. According to NCHS preliminary estimates, fertility slumped even lower to 61.5 in the first quarter of 2017.

The U.S. birth rate—a slightly different measure of fertility—also fell among younger women, 15-29 years of age. A small increase in births among women 30 years of age and older was not enough to make up for the decline among younger women.

The Great Depression led to a staggering drop in fertility rates.

The current fertility decline is similarly driven by the still-lingering effects of the Great Recession of 2007.

Studies have shown that unemployment[1],[2] and employment uncertainty[3] adversely affect the birth rate overall and lead young people to postpone marriage. Both for male and female unemployment affects fertility, though the effect remains stronger for male unemployment.[4]  Fertility is also more likely to decline in developed countries when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracts.[5]

A decline in the birth rate has also been found to be linked with other economic indicators such as per capita GDP, per capita income, the number of first-time unemployment claims, and consumer confidence.[6]

The Great Recession has fallen particularly hard on young adults who play a major role in contributing to the overall fertility rate. Following the 2007-16 Great Recession (which is more accurately referred to as a second Great Depression), many young adults have struggled to enter the workforce, to find affordable housing, and to accumulate wealth, prerequisites necessary in contemporary American society for partnership and family formation.

The Great Recession has also fallen particularly hard on Hispanics, a demographic that, for the past few decades, has helped boost the fertility rate in the U.S. While non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women have seen a modest decrease in fertility by 7.3 and 1.7 births per 1,000 women of reproductive age from 2007-2015 respectively, Hispanic women have seen a precipitous decline of 25.7 births per 1,000 women over the same time period.[7]

According to NCHS, the total fertility rate in the U.S. in 2015 was 1.84. This rate sits below the replacement fertility rate, the rate of births necessary for population replacement. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, replacement fertility in the U.S. is estimated to average 2.07 from 2015-2020.

If birth rates continue to decline, and immigration drops off, the impact on the U.S. economy could be significant. Population growth, or more specifically, an increase in the labor force, is a key determinant of economic growth. Economists estimate that as much as one third of economic growth is attributable to workers being added to the labor force every year.

Low birth rates correspond to aging population.  The U.S. is facing a substantial increase in its dependency ratio as the Baby Boomers retire, and working-age adults must replace the productivity thus lost and pay for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

To maintain productivity, one solution is to work longer hours or to postpone retirement. But, given there are only so many hours in a day and only so many additional years the elderly can be expected to work, there is only so much lost productivity that can be compensated for in this way. Barring a major technological breakthrough to boost productivity and efficiency, demographic decline will almost certainly have a net drag effect on the economy.

Will birth rates rebound?  As the Great Recession recedes into memory, and as the Trump economic policies stimulate growth, birth rates will likely increase again.  They did, after all, following the Great Depression.

But the demographic recovery this time around is unlikely to be nearly as robust as it was during the Baby Boom. American society has changed. Fertility rates are unlikely to reach former levels because desired fertility goals in the U.S. overall have declined.

In recent decades, however, women have increasingly opted to postpone childbearing. The shift has been so consistent across the U.S. that the birth rate for women in the 30-34 age group has now surpassed the 20-24 age group. There are far fewer teenage brides than in years past, and more and more young women are choosing college over childbearing.

A more educated population is, of course, vital to continued economic growth.  But so is a healthy birth rate. Are young couples merely postponing childbearing until they are older and have completed their education.  Or are they foregoing it altogether?

It may be too soon to tell which way fertility will trend, post-Great Recession. While many couples initially seemed to merely postpone having children as when the downturn hit, recent fertility data seems to indicate that, as the Obama recession dragged on year after year, many ultimately revised their fertility goals downward. Couples who postponed births have generally yet to make-up for the loss, proving once again that fertility delayed is fertility denied.

The solution, in our opinion, is an expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Senator Marco Rubio has long advocated increasing the maximum credit from $1,000 to $2,500, as well as making it fully refundable. A fully refundable CTC would reduce the taxes of working families across the board.  This in turn would be a powerful inducement for them to have another child. After all, children are the only future a family—or a nation—has.

[station break]

[segment two]

Pro-Family Voices Defend Rights of the Family at the Organization of American States

This past June 19th, Population Research Institute’s Sergio Burga Álvarez delivered an address before the ambassadors at the 47th Regular Session of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico. Señor Burga, representing the “Coalition of Democracy and Human Rights,” expressed the sentiment of 670 parliamentarians from various Latin American countries, and called on the OAS to abide by the terms and limits of its mandate and to cease promoting gender ideology on sovereign Member States.

“We ask that [the OAS] cease their intention to impose an agenda that promotes an ideology that has nothing to do with the will of the people, but, on the contrary, subtracts from the authority of their legitimately elected representatives,” Burga said.

Pro-family Member States in the OAS General Assembly subsequently successfully blocked attempts to incorporate language condemning “homophobia and transphobia” and attempts to include, for the first time, the term “intersex” in the session outcome resolution.

Because OAS Member States have not defined the terms “homophobia,” “transphobia,” or “intersex,” observers believe that inclusion of these terms in an OAS resolution would have been interpreted broadly and expansively by pro-LGBT countries, like Canada and the United States, and could have been used in the future in attempts to pressure Latin American countries to legalize “same-sex marriage.”

The OAS is the world’s oldest regional intergovernmental institution. Its precursor, the International Union of American Republics, predates both the League of Nations and the United Nations. The OAS was established to ensure peace and security, democracy, national sovereignty, solidarity between nations, social justice and fundamental rights throughout the Americas.

Every sovereign country in the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of Cuba, [1] is a member of the OAS and bound by its Charter. The OAS Charter guarantees Member States the right to political independence, self-defense, and territorial integrity in accordance with international law.

A majority of OAS Member States have also ratified the American Convention on Human Rights. Article 4 of the Convention explicitly protects the right to life “in general, from the moment of conception.” Article 17 of the Convention furthermore protects the rights of the family as “the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.” The OAS is bound to respect the Convention for states that have ratified it.

Despite the guarantee for the independence of states in the OAS Charter and the rights secured by the American Convention on Human Rights, the OAS, at the highest levels, has routinely pushed for the legalization of abortion and the acceptance of gender ideology in Member States.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has made it clear that he believes Latin American countries ought to legalize abortion. Almagro believes the legalization of abortion is not simply one among many issues but rather a priority that ought to take precedence over key economic and development goals such as reducing unemployment.

“The Americas continue to have some of the most restrictive laws regarding sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms, and that reality has to change,” Almagro said in anaddress delivered at the 2015 UN Women conference “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action,” “first, we have to fix this kind of genocide [i.e. the failure to legalize abortion]…then, we can deal with other matters, such as why women are the poorest, the most unemployed, why their salaries are the lowest, why we need to increase women´s political participation.”

The OAS has advocated strongly for the acceptance of gender ideology throughout Latin America, particularly through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an organ of the OAS responsible for promoting human rights in the Americas. IACHR ensures that Member States respect rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights[2] and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

Earlier this year, the IACHR called upon all OAS Member States to normalize and promote trangenderism, advocating for its acceptance through the force of law. IACHR has asked Member States to “adopt urgent measures to mainstream a gender identity approach into public policies.”

“The States of the region have a commitment to adjust their legal frameworks so that we have an Americas that leaves cisnormativity behind,” IACHR President Francisco Eguiguren Praeli publicly remarked on the occasion of “Trans Day of Visibility.” By asking American nations to leave “cisnormativity behind” Praeli has called upon independent states to reject the integrity of male and female, motherhood and fatherhood, and the natural complementarity inherent and evident in human nature.

It is within this context that PRI’s Sergio Burga Álvarez addressed ambassadors at the 47th Regular Session of the OAS. Excerpts from his speech are translated into English and reproduced below:

Honorable Ambassadors, representatives of the independent Member States, Honorable Mr. Secretary General of the OAS:

We would like to thank you for this opportunity you have given us to be able to express the view shared by millions of people who do not have the opportunity to present in this forum, but who have worked together for years to defend our values and the disadvantaged […]

We want to take this opportunity to express our deep concern for what has recently been taking place at the OAS, specifically some of the actions taken by members of some of the organs that make up the OAS: (i) the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), (ii) the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), (iii) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH). Their actions have not only violated rights established in the American Convention on Human Rights but also overstep the mandate that has been given to them by the Member States [of the OAS].

We view with concern that non-binding resolutions continue to include language and create supposed ‘rights’ when these are not agreed to by our States through treaties which actually are binding. Subsequently, these resolutions are later used to pressure the countries into accepting this new language.

For example, the CIDH has incorporated the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” that have not been accepted nor defined by the nations. The CIDH took these so-called terms from the Yogyakarta Principles, a document produced by a group of private individuals with special interests, which is not binding on states. Furthermore, they have gone so far in this instance as to add a new category not previously agreed to: “intersex.” None of these terms are found in international treaties ratified by the nations. Moreover, [the CIDH] continues to delegate the authority to supposed experts, commissioners, and judges to, not interpret, but rather reinterpret the treaties, changing completely the intent of such treaties agreed to by the States.

We are not able to speak about democracy when the OAS is not capable of respecting the will of the people through their legitimately elected representatives, that is to say, their parliamentarians. Too often, the Commission of Human Rights, the CIDH, and the CIM, and even the Secretary General, have exceeded the mandates of their offices, and have overstepped the bounds of the agreements and mandates granted to them by the States. These excesses threaten the democratic process, the will of the people, and the rule of law.

At the same time, we want to take this opportunity to call upon the Honorable ambassadors who are our voice before this organization. We want to remind you that your duty is with your citizens and with the law of the States that you represent. It is your duty to respect the will expressed in the international treaties that have been signed and ratified, in other words, validated by the legitimate representatives of the people and not by authorities that do not understand the internal reality of nations and that have not been chosen by us to decide.

It is for this reason that we support and applaud the Declaration of Mexico, presented in Mexico City this past June 15th, in which more than 670 lawmakers from all over the region participated. The Declaration of Mexico calls upon [the OAS] and its institutions to stop imposing gender ideology on us and to once again begin abiding by the legal framework that has been given to them. [The OAS’s actions] undermine the authority that has been legitimately conferred upon them as elected representatives of their people.

To conclude, we ask those in leadership positions at OAS to respect the legal framework under which they were legitimately authorized to act. Likewise, it is urgent that mechanisms for transparency and accountability be strengthened. Failure to secure transparency and accountability would negatively affect the credibility of the OAS, failing to respect the principles on which it was founded: democracy, security, human rights, and development.

It is necessary that the OAS work harder to strengthen the democratic process and to intervene in cases where the most fundamental rights of the human person are violated such as poverty, hunger, violence, lack of access to medicines, etc. This is the case with our brothers and sisters in Venezuela who are suffering due to the absence of political freedom and the correct application of the principles for which the OAS was created.

We ask that [the OAS] ceases their intention to impose an agenda that promotes an ideology that has nothing to do with the will of the people, but, on the contrary, subtracts from the authority of their legitimately elected representatives. And to our ambassadors, we call upon them to be brave and to defend the voice of their people.

Carlos Polo, Director of the Population Research Institute Latin America Office, contributed to this article.

[1] Venezuela signaled this past April that it will withdraw from the OAS.

[2] Only applies to state parties (i.e. countries that have ratified or acceded) to the Convention.

[Station Break]

[segment three]

Federal Judge Overturns Indiana Law Banning Sex-Selective Abortion

A federal district court judge has ruled that a series of Indiana laws banning sex-selective abortion and other discriminatory forms of abortion are unconstitutional.

Last Friday, Southern District Court of Indiana Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, appointed to the federal bench in 2010 by Barack Obama, placed a permanent injunction on several pro-life state laws. Pratt’s ruling overturns a number of provisions in the Indiana Code banning sex-selective abortion, terminations targeting the unborn diagnosed with Down syndrome and other disabilities, and abortions performed on the sole basis of the child’s race, color, or ancestry.

Judge Pratt further nullified a provision requiring abortion centers to humanely inter or cremate the remains of aborted babies. Pratt opined that giving aborted babies the dignity of burial or cremation was not “a legitimate state interest.”

“The good people of Indiana, through their elected representatives, had democratically decided to protect the dignity of aborted infants,” says Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher.

“The state has an interest in upholding the dignity of human life even after death. That’s why we generally bury our dead,” Mosher says, “This is a textbook example of judicial overreach.”

The provisions struck down by Pratt were part of a landmark pro-life bill (HEA 1337) passed by the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law in March of 2016 by current U.S. Vice President Mike Pence who, at that time, was Governor of Indiana.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, sued the State of Indiana in federal court shortly after HEA 1337 became law. The court placed a temporary injunction on the law on June 30 of last year, the day before the law was set to take effect. Friday’s ruling makes the injunction permanent and marks a major win for Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion activists.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has said that he plans to appeal the case to 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  According to Hill, the court’s decision to overturn HEA 1337’s prohibition of disability-, color-, and race-selective abortion clears “the path for genetic discrimination that once seemed like science fiction,” according to a statement by Hill quoted in the Chicago Tribune.

Judge Pratt’s ruling will also remove essential legal provisions protecting the right to life for unborn children diagnosed with congenital disabilities such as Down syndrome, allowing for selective termination procedures of the disabled to continue.

If the ruling is allowed to stand, it would represent the first time a federal court has thrown out a law prohibiting sex-selective abortion after viability. Obama’s appointees to the federal courts have consistently advocated a radical pro-abortion agenda that has little to do with the Constitution, but accurately reflects the current official position of the Democrat Party that requires officials – including appointees to the Courts – to advocate so-called abortion “rights.”

In 1993, a federal court partially blocked a similar sex-selective abortion law in Illinois, ruling that banning the practice before viability was unconstitutional but that the prohibition could still constitutionally apply to post viability unborn infants. Although the Indiana sex-selective abortion law contained a severability clause, Judge Pratt elected to throw out the law entirety, striking the Indiana sex-selective abortion ban even after the point of viability.[1]

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, ten states currently have laws in place banning sex-selective abortion. A sex-selective abortion law passed in the State of Arkansas earlier this year has been placed on a temporary injunction and is awaiting a final ruling.

As the Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, one of the essential holdings of Roe v. Wade is that states cannot outlaw abortion prior to viability.

However, even if states are not able to ban abortion entirely, states are able to regulate abortion prior to viability. The Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey also determined that “the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus.”[2]

Prior to Casey, courts were required to subject laws in defense of life to ‘strict scrutiny,’ the most rigorous legal test that courts can apply to legislation. After Casey, however, it only became necessary to prove that regulations on abortion did not constitute an ‘undue burden’ to women’s access to abortion, a less restrictive test than ‘strict scrutiny.’

Most Americans are supportive of legal bans on sex-selective abortion. As the practice is relatively uncommon and widely perceived across the political spectrum as reprehensible, discriminatory, and harmful for women’s health and wellbeing, it is difficult to imagine how banning sex-selective abortion would constitute an ‘undue burden.’

While relatively uncommon, sex-selective abortion continues to be practiced in the United States. Women in some migrant communities in the U.S. are forced to bear the brunt of culturally backward attitudes, sometimes being coerced or physically abusedunless they abort their unborn daughters.

Several years ago, Sunita Puri and others interviewed a number of women with past experiences with sex-selective abortion in the U.S.[3] As one woman’s account illustrates, women have little say or protection from the law when oppressed by strong son preference attitudes:

My husband heard about [ultrasounds] from a friend and we have come here now to find out if we are having a son. If not, I will have to get an abortion because he does not want another daughter.[4]

Prohibition of sex-selective abortion in the United States would not only protect the lives of girls but would also support, through law, the equal dignity and status of women. A legal ban would make it more difficult for family members to pressure women into aborting their daughters. It would remove the threat of lawsuits physicians can face when attempting to help women who may feel undue pressure from family members to go through with a sex-selective abortion.

Furthermore, law is a teacher and a legal ban would advance the protection of the equal rights of women. The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the rights and health of women and girls. Protecting the right to life and the right to exist are the most fundamental of all human rights.

“Because of this ill-considered decision of the court, babies, little girls and the handicapped, will continue to be condemned to death by the worst form of discrimination imaginable,” Mosher says, “it’s discrimination that kills.”

[1] The point at which viability is drawn legally is subject to much dispute. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court wrote that at the time of Roe v. Wade viability would have been considered to be about 28 weeks but by the time of Casey, the Court believed that it had changed to about 23-24 weeks and would perhaps change again in the future as medical technology improves. See Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 860 (1992).
Since Casey was decided in 1992, early fetal mortality (< 28 weeks) has declined significantly as health care has improved. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 1990, fetal mortality was 3.22 fetal deaths per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths at 20-27 weeks gestation. By 2013, fetal mortality for the same gestational age group had declined to 3.01, a statistically significant decline (z = -5.35). See MacDorman MF, Gregory ECW. Fetal and perinatal mortality: United States, 2013. National vital statistics reports; vol 64 no 8. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.

[2] Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 846 (1992).

[3] Puri S, Adams V, Ivey S, Nachtigall RD, “There is such a thing as too many daughters, but not too many sons”: a qualitative study of son preference and fetal sex selection among Indian immigrants in the United States, Social Science & Medicine 2011; 72(7): 1169-1176.

[4] Ibid.

 

WB Pro-Family Voices Defend Rights of the Family at the Organization of American States

This past June 19th, Population Research Institute’s Sergio Burga Álvarez delivered an address before the ambassadors at the 47th Regular Session of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico. Señor Burga, representing the “Coalition of Democracy and Human Rights,” expressed the sentiment of 670 parliamentarians from various Latin American countries, and called on the OAS to abide by the terms and limits of its mandate and to cease promoting gender ideology on sovereign Member States.

“We ask that [the OAS] cease their intention to impose an agenda that promotes an ideology that has nothing to do with the will of the people, but, on the contrary, subtracts from the authority of their legitimately elected representatives,” Burga said.

Pro-family Member States in the OAS General Assembly subsequently successfully blocked attempts to incorporate language condemning “homophobia and transphobia” and attempts to include, for the first time, the term “intersex” in the session outcome resolution.

Because OAS Member States have not defined the terms “homophobia,” “transphobia,” or “intersex,” observers believe that inclusion of these terms in an OAS resolution would have been interpreted broadly and expansively by pro-LGBT countries, like Canada and the United States, and could have been used in the future in attempts to pressure Latin American countries to legalize “same-sex marriage.”

The OAS is the world’s oldest regional intergovernmental institution. Its precursor, the International Union of American Republics, predates both the League of Nations and the United Nations. The OAS was established to ensure peace and security, democracy, national sovereignty, solidarity between nations, social justice and fundamental rights throughout the Americas.

Every sovereign country in the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of Cuba, [1] is a member of the OAS and bound by its Charter. The OAS Charter guarantees Member States the right to political independence, self-defense, and territorial integrity in accordance with international law.

A majority of OAS Member States have also ratified the American Convention on Human Rights. Article 4 of the Convention explicitly protects the right to life “in general, from the moment of conception.” Article 17 of the Convention furthermore protects the rights of the family as “the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.” The OAS is bound to respect the Convention for states that have ratified it.

Despite the guarantee for the independence of states in the OAS Charter and the rights secured by the American Convention on Human Rights, the OAS, at the highest levels, has routinely pushed for the legalization of abortion and the acceptance of gender ideology in Member States.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has made it clear that he believes Latin American countries ought to legalize abortion. Almagro believes the legalization of abortion is not simply one among many issues but rather a priority that ought to take precedence over key economic and development goals such as reducing unemployment.

“The Americas continue to have some of the most restrictive laws regarding sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms, and that reality has to change,” Almagro said in anaddress delivered at the 2015 UN Women conference “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action,” “first, we have to fix this kind of genocide [i.e. the failure to legalize abortion]…then, we can deal with other matters, such as why women are the poorest, the most unemployed, why their salaries are the lowest, why we need to increase women´s political participation.”

The OAS has advocated strongly for the acceptance of gender ideology throughout Latin America, particularly through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an organ of the OAS responsible for promoting human rights in the Americas. IACHR ensures that Member States respect rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights[2] and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

Earlier this year, the IACHR called upon all OAS Member States to normalize and promote trangenderism, advocating for its acceptance through the force of law. IACHR has asked Member States to “adopt urgent measures to mainstream a gender identity approach into public policies.”

“The States of the region have a commitment to adjust their legal frameworks so that we have an Americas that leaves cisnormativity behind,” IACHR President Francisco Eguiguren Praeli publicly remarked on the occasion of “Trans Day of Visibility.” By asking American nations to leave “cisnormativity behind” Praeli has called upon independent states to reject the integrity of male and female, motherhood and fatherhood, and the natural complementarity inherent and evident in human nature.

It is within this context that PRI’s Sergio Burga Álvarez addressed ambassadors at the 47th Regular Session of the OAS. Excerpts from his speech are translated into English and reproduced below:

Honorable Ambassadors, representatives of the independent Member States, Honorable Mr. Secretary General of the OAS:

We would like to thank you for this opportunity you have given us to be able to express the view shared by millions of people who do not have the opportunity to present in this forum, but who have worked together for years to defend our values and the disadvantaged […]

We want to take this opportunity to express our deep concern for what has recently been taking place at the OAS, specifically some of the actions taken by members of some of the organs that make up the OAS: (i) the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), (ii) the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), (iii) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH). Their actions have not only violated rights established in the American Convention on Human Rights but also overstep the mandate that has been given to them by the Member States [of the OAS].

We view with concern that non-binding resolutions continue to include language and create supposed ‘rights’ when these are not agreed to by our States through treaties which actually are binding. Subsequently, these resolutions are later used to pressure the countries into accepting this new language.

For example, the CIDH has incorporated the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” that have not been accepted nor defined by the nations. The CIDH took these so-called terms from the Yogyakarta Principles, a document produced by a group of private individuals with special interests, which is not binding on states. Furthermore, they have gone so far in this instance as to add a new category not previously agreed to: “intersex.” None of these terms are found in international treaties ratified by the nations. Moreover, [the CIDH] continues to delegate the authority to supposed experts, commissioners, and judges to, not interpret, but rather reinterpret the treaties, changing completely the intent of such treaties agreed to by the States.

We are not able to speak about democracy when the OAS is not capable of respecting the will of the people through their legitimately elected representatives, that is to say, their parliamentarians. Too often, the Commission of Human Rights, the CIDH, and the CIM, and even the Secretary General, have exceeded the mandates of their offices, and have overstepped the bounds of the agreements and mandates granted to them by the States. These excesses threaten the democratic process, the will of the people, and the rule of law.

At the same time, we want to take this opportunity to call upon the Honorable ambassadors who are our voice before this organization. We want to remind you that your duty is with your citizens and with the law of the States that you represent. It is your duty to respect the will expressed in the international treaties that have been signed and ratified, in other words, validated by the legitimate representatives of the people and not by authorities that do not understand the internal reality of nations and that have not been chosen by us to decide.

It is for this reason that we support and applaud the Declaration of Mexico, presented in Mexico City this past June 15th, in which more than 670 lawmakers from all over the region participated. The Declaration of Mexico calls upon [the OAS] and its institutions to stop imposing gender ideology on us and to once again begin abiding by the legal framework that has been given to them. [The OAS’s actions] undermine the authority that has been legitimately conferred upon them as elected representatives of their people.

To conclude, we ask those in leadership positions at OAS to respect the legal framework under which they were legitimately authorized to act. Likewise, it is urgent that mechanisms for transparency and accountability be strengthened. Failure to secure transparency and accountability would negatively affect the credibility of the OAS, failing to respect the principles on which it was founded: democracy, security, human rights, and development.

It is necessary that the OAS work harder to strengthen the democratic process and to intervene in cases where the most fundamental rights of the human person are violated such as poverty, hunger, violence, lack of access to medicines, etc. This is the case with our brothers and sisters in Venezuela who are suffering due to the absence of political freedom and the correct application of the principles for which the OAS was created.

We ask that [the OAS] ceases their intention to impose an agenda that promotes an ideology that has nothing to do with the will of the people, but, on the contrary, subtracts from the authority of their legitimately elected representatives. And to our ambassadors, we call upon them to be brave and to defend the voice of their people.

Carlos Polo, Director of the Population Research Institute Latin America Office, contributed to this article.

 

[1] Venezuela signaled this past April that it will withdraw from the OAS.

[2] Only applies to state parties (i.e. countries that have ratified or acceded) to the Convention.

[Station Break]

[segment three]

 

Federal Judge Overturns Indiana Law Banning Sex-Selective Abortion

A federal district court judge has ruled that a series of Indiana laws banning sex-selective abortion and other discriminatory forms of abortion are unconstitutional.

Last Friday, Southern District Court of Indiana Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, appointed to the federal bench in 2010 by Barack Obama, placed a permanent injunction on several pro-life state laws. Pratt’s ruling overturns a number of provisions in the Indiana Code banning sex-selective abortion, terminations targeting the unborn diagnosed with Down syndrome and other disabilities, and abortions performed on the sole basis of the child’s race, color, or ancestry.

Judge Pratt further nullified a provision requiring abortion centers to humanely inter or cremate the remains of aborted babies. Pratt opined that giving aborted babies the dignity of burial or cremation was not “a legitimate state interest.”

“The good people of Indiana, through their elected representatives, had democratically decided to protect the dignity of aborted infants,” says Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher.

“The state has an interest in upholding the dignity of human life even after death. That’s why we generally bury our dead,” Mosher says, “This is a textbook example of judicial overreach.”

The provisions struck down by Pratt were part of a landmark pro-life bill (HEA 1337) passed by the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law in March of 2016 by current U.S. Vice President Mike Pence who, at that time, was Governor of Indiana.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, sued the State of Indiana in federal court shortly after HEA 1337 became law. The court placed a temporary injunction on the law on June 30 of last year, the day before the law was set to take effect. Friday’s ruling makes the injunction permanent and marks a major win for Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion activists.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has said that he plans to appeal the case to 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  According to Hill, the court’s decision to overturn HEA 1337’s prohibition of disability-, color-, and race-selective abortion clears “the path for genetic discrimination that once seemed like science fiction,” according to a statement by Hill quoted in the Chicago Tribune.

Judge Pratt’s ruling will also remove essential legal provisions protecting the right to life for unborn children diagnosed with congenital disabilities such as Down syndrome, allowing for selective termination procedures of the disabled to continue.

If the ruling is allowed to stand, it would represent the first time a federal court has thrown out a law prohibiting sex-selective abortion after viability. Obama’s appointees to the federal courts have consistently advocated a radical pro-abortion agenda that has little to do with the Constitution, but accurately reflects the current official position of the Democrat Party that requires officials – including appointees to the Courts – to advocate so-called abortion “rights.”

In 1993, a federal court partially blocked a similar sex-selective abortion law in Illinois, ruling that banning the practice before viability was unconstitutional but that the prohibition could still constitutionally apply to post viability unborn infants. Although the Indiana sex-selective abortion law contained a severability clause, Judge Pratt elected to throw out the law entirety, striking the Indiana sex-selective abortion ban even after the point of viability.[1]

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, ten states currently have laws in place banning sex-selective abortion. A sex-selective abortion law passed in the State of Arkansas earlier this year has been placed on a temporary injunction and is awaiting a final ruling.

As the Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, one of the essential holdings of Roe v. Wade is that states cannot outlaw abortion prior to viability.

However, even if states are not able to ban abortion entirely, states are able to regulate abortion prior to viability. The Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey also determined that “the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus.”[2]

Prior to Casey, courts were required to subject laws in defense of life to ‘strict scrutiny,’ the most rigorous legal test that courts can apply to legislation. After Casey, however, it only became necessary to prove that regulations on abortion did not constitute an ‘undue burden’ to women’s access to abortion, a less restrictive test than ‘strict scrutiny.’

Most Americans are supportive of legal bans on sex-selective abortion. As the practice is relatively uncommon and widely perceived across the political spectrum as reprehensible, discriminatory, and harmful for women’s health and wellbeing, it is difficult to imagine how banning sex-selective abortion would constitute an ‘undue burden.’

While relatively uncommon, sex-selective abortion continues to be practiced in the United States. Women in some migrant communities in the U.S. are forced to bear the brunt of culturally backward attitudes, sometimes being coerced or physically abusedunless they abort their unborn daughters.

Several years ago, Sunita Puri and others interviewed a number of women with past experiences with sex-selective abortion in the U.S.[3] As one woman’s account illustrates, women have little say or protection from the law when oppressed by strong son preference attitudes:

My husband heard about [ultrasounds] from a friend and we have come here now to find out if we are having a son. If not, I will have to get an abortion because he does not want another daughter.[4]

Prohibition of sex-selective abortion in the United States would not only protect the lives of girls but would also support, through law, the equal dignity and status of women. A legal ban would make it more difficult for family members to pressure women into aborting their daughters. It would remove the threat of lawsuits physicians can face when attempting to help women who may feel undue pressure from family members to go through with a sex-selective abortion.

Furthermore, law is a teacher and a legal ban would advance the protection of the equal rights of women. The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the rights and health of women and girls. Protecting the right to life and the right to exist are the most fundamental of all human rights.

“Because of this ill-considered decision of the court, babies, little girls and the handicapped, will continue to be condemned to death by the worst form of discrimination imaginable,” Mosher says, “it’s discrimination that kills.”

 

[1] The point at which viability is drawn legally is subject to much dispute. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court wrote that at the time of Roe v. Wade viability would have been considered to be about 28 weeks but by the time of Casey, the Court believed that it had changed to about 23-24 weeks and would perhaps change again in the future as medical technology improves. See Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 860 (1992).
Since Casey was decided in 1992, early fetal mortality (< 28 weeks) has declined significantly as health care has improved. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 1990, fetal mortality was 3.22 fetal deaths per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths at 20-27 weeks gestation. By 2013, fetal mortality for the same gestational age group had declined to 3.01, a statistically significant decline (z = -5.35). See MacDorman MF, Gregory ECW. Fetal and perinatal mortality: United States, 2013. National vital statistics reports; vol 64 no 8. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.

[2] Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 846 (1992).

[3] Puri S, Adams V, Ivey S, Nachtigall RD, “There is such a thing as too many daughters, but not too many sons”: a qualitative study of son preference and fetal sex selection among Indian immigrants in the United States, Social Science & Medicine 2011; 72(7): 1169-1176.

[4] Ibid.

 

 

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