Catholic Bishops Write Secretary of State with unurual priorities; China in Uproar over IUD removal; Norway Funds International Abortions
Catholic Bishops Write State Department; China Uproar Over IUD’s; Norway Funds International Abortions
March 2, 2017
Shortly after Rex Tillerson was confirmed as Secretary of State, senior officials of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services wrote him an impassioned plea. It was their way of introducing themselves to the foreign policy community of the new administration, so the Secretary undoubtedly considered their letter to be a statement describing the highest foreign-policy priorities of Catholics in America.
Is that what is was? Well, we report – you decide. The letter contained no mention, no condemnation, of the government’s existing programs that have spent billions of dollars on family planning, including contraception and abortion, in recent years. The bishops did not demand that the government cease its policy that requires that “family planning” programs be included before Third-World countries could receive any foreign aid projects for clean water, hygiene, health clinics, and other basic necessities.
The bishops did not mention any concern regarding the slaughter of Christians, including Catholic priests and bishops, as well as untold thousands of the faithful, throughout the world. They failed even to bring up the Obama State Department’s refusal to allow Christian refugees to enter the country a policy which prefers importing Moslems from those very countries where Moslem terrorists were killing Christians. Nor did they request that the State Department cease its international campaign to promote and to celebrate active homosexuality.
Regarding our country’s relationship with China, the Catholic prelates did not urge Mr. Tillerson to include a stern rebuke to China for that country’s abusive forced-abortion policies. They could have insisted that the U.S. demand an improvement of human rights in China as a condition for pursuing closer ties with that country’s communist government – but they did not.
No, instead, Bishops Oscar Cantú and Frank Dewane, joined by the new president of the scandal-ridden government-funded welfare agency called Catholic Relief Services, urged Mr. Tillerson to share with them their fundamental article of faith – that carbon dioxide, without which plant life could not even exist on the planet, is a dangerous pollutant. Guided by that spirit, and speaking for American Catholics, the bishops requested that Mr. Tillerson oppose Global Warming, by supporting Obama’s notorious Paris Agreement that creates a new international bureaucracy to dictate energy policy to the world. The bishops even begged the Secretary to fully fund the “Green Climate Fund,” a slush fund run by elitist bureaucrats at the rabidly pro-abortion United Nations.
Why would our leading bishops make Global Warming their highest moral priority in this secular and degenerate age? Perhaps they were trying to gain some fans in the foreign-policy bureaucracy, which supplies the bishops’ welfare agencies with hundreds of millions of dollars a year in taxpayer funding. Or perhaps they were signaling to the permanent bureaucracy that America’s Catholic bishops oppose President Trump as strongly as the rest of the Washington establishment does. Their public statements across the board have certainly made that clear.
But the State Department brags of its highly professional character. Why would its employees welcome the bishops’ adamant opposition to the President and his policies? Aren’t those employees sworn to carry them out?
Let’s leave the bishops aside for a moment and take a closer look at the United States Department of State.
State is one of the most abidingly secular and internationalist cabinet agencies. Many years ago the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff investigated the so-called “Foreign Service Exam” that is celebrated as the most selective and elite instrument of its kind. At the time, senators from 50 states were surprised to find that fully one third of the career ambassadors in the Foreign Service had gone to only one college – Princeton – while the graduates of the various state colleges and universities in their states had no such entrée.
The investigators were interested in one clear goal: they wanted the State Department to hire only the best-qualified applicants available So they inquired into the standards that the State Department used to identify such prospects.
Initially, George Vest, Director General of the Foreign Service, waffled about the examination and its goals. Eventually he admitted that the State Department did not publicly announce a competition for the contract to produce the examination. Normally, a public advertisement of the contract is routine requirement in government procurement.
But the elitist State Department was above all those rules required of the masses. Instead. Mr. Vest relied on one crony outfit year after year to write the exam. Strangely enough, that organization was located in Princeton, New Jersey.
All series examinations aim to determine the capability, knowledge, and mental acuity of the examinee. The investigators pressed the Director General on just what attributes the examination was designed to discover, in order to identify the best possible public servants available for service in the State Department. Was at their knowledge of history? Their knowledge of geography? Their possession of difficult-to-identify but critical qualities such as patriotism, enthusiasm, and character? Of course, we explained, the department had gone to the very best supplier year after year, so the examination must have proven to be successful at identifying these attributes.
Mr. Vest was nonresponsive, then evasive, and finally abrupt: “we know who we like,” he said flatly.
And that they do. With no regard to the values of the American people, the self-anointed elites of the United States Foreign Service seek not to find those who possess the qualities of the best Americans for their organization; instead, year after year, they seek to replicate themselves.
The rules that apply to everyone else do not apply to them.
Yes, the notion of “public servant” these days has sunk as low as everything else “public.”
As Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson will bring a wealth of experience managing a superbly performing organization whose employees were consistently motivated to achieve the highest results. In the culture of the State Department, he will find an entirely foreign country, populated for eight years by arrogant Obama appointees who have now burrowed into every nook and cranny of the so-called “career employee” population.
That embedded culture is diametrically opposed to that of President Trump and the people who elected him. Since the State Department is part of the Executive Branch, the Chief Executive will have every reason to make sure that it conforms to the best management practices to which he and his Secretary of State have become accustomed to apply during their entire successful and professional business lives.
Unfortunately, the bureaucratic culture of Washington digs in and opposes, rather than standing up and supporting the democratically elected officials for whom its members supposedly work.
Mr. Tillerson, the President, and the Congress will have a mountain to climb in bringing back the professionalism that the State Department lost long ago. It is a daunting task, but a necessary one.
This is PRI Review from pop.org. We’ll be right back.
China Offers Free IUD Removal to Cries of Outrage
For years, the Chinese government that has forced IUDs on tens of millions of Chinese women after the birth of their first child. Now that same government has decided to allow some of these women to have a second child.
Decades of stringently enforced population control policies have caused China’s birth rate to plummet. The result? Rapid aging of the population and a shrinking pool of working-age adults.
The Chinese Communist Party has decided to increase the country’s birth rate. Last year it relaxed the one-child policy. Chinese couples were told that they were now allowed to have two children.
There is only one problem with Beijing’s move to increase China’s anemic birth rate. Tens of millions of women have been sterilized, and are physically unable to conceive another child. Tens of millions more have been forced to wear IUDs—IUDs deliberately designed to be hard to remove.
Under China’s repressive “planned birth” program, birth control is not a matter of reproductive choice—it’s mandatory.
Beginning in the early 1980s, women across China were forced to wear an IUD after the birth of their first child. According to official statistics reported by the China National Health and Family Planning Commission, between 1980 and 2012, the Government had carried out over 308 million mandatory IUD insertion procedures.
To get these IUDs out of the way, and get the women forced to wear them back into the business of reproducing, Beijing is now offering free IUD removal for all women who are eligible to have another child.
The Chinese authorities obviously hope that by offering this service they can solve the demographic downturn created by their own disastrous one-child policy. But if they were expecting their new policy to be greeted by cheering throngs of women, they have been sorely disappointed.
The most common reaction has been outrage.
Documentary film-maker Ai Xiaoming, now 63, told Radio Free Asia that she was forced to have an IUD fitted, but was then left with it for decades with no further check-ups.
“In the eyes of the Chinese government, women are seen as having a job to do,” Ai said. “If they tell you to have a baby, then you have to have one. If they don’t need babies, you can’t have one.”
It hasn’t helped that the Chinese government has never apologized for the way it has brutalized women. Nor has it ever, not even now, offered to compensate women forced to use the device.
For the millions of women who were for decades forced by the Government to use IUDs, the gesture seems almost insulting.
“To say they are offering free removal as a service to these tens of millions of women—repeatedly broadcasting this on state television as a kind of state benefit—they have no shame, second to none,” Han Haoyue, a popular columnist, posted on Weibo, according to the New York Times.
“The failure of Xi Jinping’s government to even apologize for forcing IUDs on women only further confirms that the Chinese Communist Party has absolutely no regard for women’s rights,” says PRI President Steven Mosher. “The Chinese Party-State treats women like breeding machines whose fertility they can turn on and off at will, like flipping a switch.”
Despite rampant human rights abuses in China’s family planning program, the U.S. government in recent years has sent over $30 million a year to fund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a U.N. agency that has for decades maintained a family planning program in cooperation with the Chinese Government.
The Communist Party’s mandatory IUD policy deprived tens of millions of women the option of having a second child. For most of these women, the latest policy shift comes too late: they are now past their childbearing years.
Women past menopause were not only denied the right to have children, their human rights were repeatedly trampled on in the process.
Under the one-child policy, women were required to report to the local family planning clinic for periodic invasive pelvic examinations and sonograms to ensure that their IUD was securely in place. Women who did not have an IUD in place or failed to report for routine examinations could be punished with heavy fines. In the late 1990s Harry Wu testified to this stringent IUD policy before the U.S. House Committee on International Relations, saying, and I quote,
“If you do have IUD in your womb, every quarter the government will inform you,…you have to go to the office of inspection. If you do not appear, you pay the fine, 50 yuans, every day. If over 1 month, the fine is 2,000 yuans. If 6 months passes, there has been no IUD inspection; then sterilization is required.”
In some cases, women who failed to report for a pregnancy screening had their homes destroyed by rampaging Planned Birth police.
Communist propaganda displayed along busy streets and other public places made the cost of noncompliance clear. One such sign, strung high over a busy street, read: “If you are supposed to wear an IUD but don’t, or are supposed to have your tubes tied but don’t, you will be arrested on sight!”
The IUDs sold in the U.S. and other Western countries are designed to be easily removed. Not in China. Chinese IUDs are specifically designed to be difficult to remove, so that women would not be able to take them out secretly at home. For many women, whose state-issued IUDs have over time embedded themselves in the walls of their uteruses, their removal will require surgery, if not a hysterectomy.
Although the State Family Planning Commission issued a variety of IUDs under the one-child policy, an inert stainless steel IUD ring was the government’s IUD of choice throughout the 1980s. By 1990, 90% of all women in China using IUDs were using this device, primarily because it was extremely difficult to remove. In order to remove the ring, a doctor must use a long metal hook to fish it out. If that fails, or if the device becomes embedded in the uterus, the doctor must resort to surgery.
The steel-ring IUD that women were forced to use often caused prolonged bleeding and were, for many, a source of great pain and discomfort.
Adding to its shortcomings, the steel-ring IUD was not particularly effective at preventing pregnancy. A study carried out in Beijing found that the ring had an 8% two-year failure rate. Another study from China’s State Family Planning Commission found an even higher failure rate: 10.6% of women included in the study became pregnant within 12 months of using the ring.
The one-child policy restricted the number of children women were allowed to have, so women who became pregnant due to the contraceptive failure of their state-issued IUDs were often forced to abort their children. According to an estimate from the China Population Information Center, 34% of all abortions in China in 1982 were as a result of women who were forced to get an abortion after their IUD failed.
During the 1990s, the ring was widely phased out and replaced by copper-bearing IUDs. While the copper IUDs were more effective in preventing pregnancy, in part because they caused early-term abortions, they were more painful for women to use. In fact, many had to be removed when they caused pain or prolonged bleeding.
Forced abortion and reinsertion procedures for IUDs further exposed women to health risks. In rural areas, where many women were already chronically anemic, the blood loss and the risk of uterine perforation that accompanies these procedures often produced serious complications, even fatalities.
In China’s drive to control its population, women’s health came in a poor second. In a testimony before the U.S. Congress, Ma Dongfang told lawmakers her personal story after she was fitted with an IUD without her knowledge:
“I soon became very sick as a result of the IUD and endured months of horrible pain and discomfort. I suffered excessive bleeding, weight loss, and fatigue. I begged the doctors to remove the device, but they refused to do so. If they had it removed, they would be breaking the law.”
Norway Becomes Tenth Country to Pledge Support for Global Abortion Fund
Jonathan Abbamonte reports:
In February, the Government of Norway announced that it will be pledging $10 million (85 million Norwegian kroner) in support of a multi-country initiative to increase funding for pro-abortion organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International (MSI).
The move from the Norwegian Government comes as a direct response to a January 23rd presidential memorandum issued by President Donald Trump that reinstated the Mexico City Policy. The reinstated policy will, in effect, cut off millions of dollars in federal funding for foreign organizations that perform or promote abortion in other countries.
Norway announced that it will be working actively in coordination with abortion-friendly governments in other countries to maximize support for the campaign. According to a press release posted online by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government has “initiated a close dialogue with the other Nordic countries with a view to increasing efforts in response to the reduction in US funding.”
The Norwegian Government also signaled that it will be increasing its contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a U.N. agency that, on account of its support of China’s one-child policy, has lost federal funding under past U.S. presidents.
Norway has long been a key contributor to international pro-abortion organizations. In 2015, the Norway Government was one of the top ten contributors for both IPPF and MSI.
The Norwegian Government’s $10 million pledge makes Norway the tenth country to support the global abortion funding initiative. Two days after President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, announced the start of a global fundraising campaign, called “She Decides,” to subsidize organizations that do not qualify for U.S. grants due to their refusal to drop abortion from their family planning programs.
In support of the global abortion fund, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark have each publicly pledged to increase spending for abortion and contraceptive services abroad by 10 million euros. The Australian Government also recently pledged an additional $7.3 million ($9.5 million Australian dollars). Including Norway, the campaign has now raised a total of $49 million in government pledges. Other Western countries including Sweden, Luxembourg, Finland, and Cape Verde have confirmed that they plan to contribute as well.
The Canadian Government has also signaled that it plans on contributing to the global abortion fund, but may do so less publicly.
“Canada is economically very tightly tied to the United States,” says Fr. Tom Lynch, President of Priests for Life Canada, “it is likely the Government will try to contribute in a way that will not hurt their relationship with the Trump Administration.”
Next week, the Government of Belgium will be hosting an international conference in Brussels to kickstart the fundraising campaign for the global abortion funding initiative.
The global abortion fund has received pushback from pro-life advocates both in Europe and abroad.
A petition in Spain asking the Government not to contribute to the abortion fund has received over 100,000 signatures.
“Latin American countries have been receiving European funding for pro-abortion NGOs for decades,” says Carlos Polo, Director for the Population Research Institute Office in Latin America, “The ‘She Decides’ project will increase this unlawful interference…we know all this pressure will be in favor of the abortion industry and against of the real choice of Latin American women.”
The global abortion fundraising campaign is not the first time abortion-friendly governments have attempted to raise money for organizations affected by the Mexico City Policy. After President Bush signed a presidential memorandum reinstating the Mexico City Policy in 2001, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland retaliated by significantly increasing their funding for IPPF. The Netherlands even went so far as to double their contribution for the abortion giant.
The Mexico City Policy has been an official foreign policy position of the United States Government for more than half of the past 33 years. The policy prohibits federal funding for foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.
According to public records from the U.S. Government, IPPF and MSI, two major organizations affected by the Mexico City Policy, together received about $98 million in federal funding between 2013 and 2015. Since 2008, IPPF has committed over 5 million abortions worldwide.
Despite claims that funding for organizations like IPPF and MSI are necessary to protect women’s health, the global abortion funding initiative has yet to announce support for interventions that save lives rather than ones that solely prevent life or terminate the lives of the unborn. No provisions appear to have been made for interventions that contribute most to reducing maternal mortality such as increasing access to skilled birth attendants in developing regions.
The move by several Western nations to fund pro-abortion organizations runs directly counter to the new U.S. foreign aid objectives and threatens to strain relationships between these countries and the new Trump Administration.
At the same time, the new Mexico City Policy is very popular in the U.S. A recent Marist poll shows that 83% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion in foreign countries.
Funding for abortion also threatens to tarnish the image of foreign aid programs in the eyes of recipients in developing countries. Data from the most recent World Values Survey (WVS-6) shows that abortion is widely viewed as morally wrong. Survey respondents were asked to rate their view of abortion on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 representing the view that abortion is “never justifiable” and 10 representing the view that abortion was “always justifiable.” In OECD developing countries, where data was available, 74% of respondents rated abortion as 3 or less.