Category archives: Abortion

What Exactly is the Mexico City Policy?

by Family Research Council

January 23, 2009

I’m amazed with the number of people, on both sides of the abortion issue, in the media and definitely in Congress who have no understanding of what the Mexico City Policy is and does. I recently did an NPR interview where the obviously biased reporter asked me a number of “questions” that showed both a bias and a lack of knowledge in the policy. At a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing in October of 2007 a number of witnesses (including Joana Nerquaye-Tetteh, former executive director of Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana) who support the overturning of the Mexico City Policy had to actually admit ignorance of the policy during the hearing after some intense questioning from Republicans on the Committee.

First a little background. The Mexico City policy was first implemented via a memorandum by President Reagan in 1984 at a United Nations population conference in Mexico City, thus the name Mexico City policy. Prior to President Reagan’s actions American policy on paper was to never promote abortion overseas, however in practice US tax dollars directly supported organizations which advocated and performed abortion. It remained in effect until 1993 when President Clinton rescinded the Mexico City policy on January 22, 1993 for the entirety of his tenure in office. On January 22, 2001, President Bush issued a memorandum restoring the Mexico City policy.

In as little words as possible, the Mexico City policy halts U.S. family planning funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform abortions or “actively promote” abortion as a method of family planning in other countries.

What does this mean? Under the Mexico City Policy for an NGO to be “actively promoting” abortions means they provide advice and information regarding the availability of abortion or encourage women to consider abortion; lobby a foreign government to legalize or make more available abortion; or conduct a public information campaign regarding the benefits and/or availability of abortion.

That is what NGO’s can’t do. What they CAN still do under the Mexico City Policy is provide referrals for abortion in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life would be endangered if the unborn child were carried to term; and treat injuries or illnesses caused by legal or illegal abortions, i.e., post-abortion care. The argument that the Mexico City Policy is in actually a “global gag rule” is pure and utter nonsense - unless you actually believe that abortion, killing the child in the womb, is a form of family planning.

The effect of President Obama rescinding the Mexico City Policy is that now millions ($461 million in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008) of dollars are taken away from family planning groups that do not promote abortion, and delivered into the hands of organizations that are the most militant in promoting abortion as a population-control method - especially in countries that find abortion objectionable on moral grounds.

President Obama’s abortion statement

by Family Research Council

January 22, 2009

President Obama released his first official statement on abortion as an occupant of the Oval Office today

On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.

On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere

On first blush, it is nothing new - it follows a pattern in these statements from defenders of Roe v. Wade and its progeny in that it: 1) makes no effort to establish that the Supreme Court was and is properly vested with the power to create and enforce such a “right”; 2) uses the catchphrase “right to choose” without specifying what is being chosen, why there is a right to it, and especially why there is a right to choose something that should not be chosen so often; and 3) links this spurious right with things that most Americans do agree are right and good, particularly equal opportunity for women.

The statement’s “equality” language is meant to dress a mean act of destruction with the high fashion of principle.  The reality of tension and conflict between men and women at all levels is real and serious, within every venue of life.  As to why the ability to abandon the life the two sexes have created to the tender mercies of the abortionist is a guarantor of equality, rather than an abdication of responsibility, the statement does not say.  The small body of a child rests lifeless in this struggle between the sexes.  It is so sad and unnecessary, as the lives of millions of accomplished men and women who both faced their responsibilities and fulfilled their careers attest.  This does not mean the feminist struggle lacks import in the area of reproduction; it surely does.  It only means that abortion is not the answer.  More likely, it is a major part of a very wrong answer.

Where Mr. Obama’s statement is notable is that he repeats the latest of the catchphrases, “the need for abortion,” which was offered up in the 2008 Democratic platform.  It becomes his phrase in a new way now.  For one, it means this issue is not above his pay grade anymore.  There is a “need for abortion.”  If that is so, this practice is in every way distinct from something morally objectionable or inherently wrong.  Who would speak of a “need for human trafficking”?  A “need for child abuse”?  A “need for prostitution”?  There are indeed many sorrows in this Vale of Tears that the law, for prudential reasons, does not address.  Non-obscene pornography for one, perhaps.  But no one but the most radical people speaks of these evils as things for which there is a “need.”

President Obama says he wants to reduce the need for abortion.  But if it is essential to women’s equality, why reduce it?  His policies, deferred today for a few hours, weeks, or - we hope - months, will certainly promote and increase the abortion rate.  Today’s statement says that “we are united in our determination … to support women and families in the choices they make” on this issue, irrespective of “our views.”  Either that is a very presumptive editorial “we” or a very elastic use of the word “support.”  It probably means public funding for both maternity care and abortion.  But most Americans oppose tax funding of abortion.  We as a nation are not “united” in this matter, though President Obama may seek to force a new unity upon us with the chains of appropriations law. 

The best hope is that this portion of his statement is rhetoric.  That he, or other Democrats in Congress who retain some respect for the Hyde Amendment and similar provisions that have kept a wall of conscience between the citizenry and this bloody trade, may yet have a change of heart and allow only those who will death, Planned Parenthood and its friends, to fund death.  Common ground so blood-soaked is not a place where men and women can stand together.  Virtues die in such soil.

Blogs 4 Life Recap from Twitter

by Krystle Gabele

January 22, 2009

In case you missed Blogs 4 Life, there is a great way for you to read (in 140 characters or less) about the event. The Twitter hashtag #B4L has gained some considerable traction today.

Here’s the list of those Twitter-ing from Blogs 4 Life.

Hopefully, you will be able to join the fun next year as we commemorate March for Life 2010 and Blogs 4 Life 2010.

Blogs 4 Life 2009

by Krystle Gabele

January 15, 2009

It’s that time of year again! Blogs 4 Life 2009 will be taking place on Thursday, January 22 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the FRC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. B4L will take place on the same day as March For Life, and will provide an amazing opportunity to hear from renowned conservative voices such as: U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, Amanda Carpenter, Jill Stanek, Michael New, Ph.D., Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D., Michael Illions, Chris Gacek, J.D., Ph.D., and Martha Shuping, M.D.

This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and grow in their knowledge of how internet technology can be used to promote life and bring ideas into action in a post-Roe America.

If you are unable to make B4L will also have a webcast that will be live streaming on FRC’s website. Additionally, there will be a Twitter hashtag devoted to B4L (#B4L) for those who are interested.

I hope to see you there.

Tales of Chemical Abortion in the New York Times

by Chris Gacek

January 8, 2009

 

On January 5, 2009, the New York Times carried an article (“For Privacy’s Sake, Taking Risks to End Pregnancy” by Jennifer R. Lee and Cara Buckley) describing the fact that many Dominican women in New York City are aborting using the anti-ulcer drug, misoprostol (Cytotec).  Misoprostol is also the second drug in the FDA-approved abortion regimen of mifepristone (RU-486 or Mifeprex) and misoprostol.  Using misoprostol alone is a practice that is widely found in Latin American nations because misoprostol is cheap and available in pharmacies while mifepristone is either expensive, restricted in distribution, or both.  (From some quick web research: RU-486 does not appear to be approved in many Latin American nations; it isn’t even approved in Canada.)

Access to RU-486 is tightly controlled in the United States, but misoprostol is sold in drug stores as an anti-ulcer medication for people who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).  In New York City “women can obtain the pills either through pharmacies that are willing to bend the rules and provide the medicine without a prescription or by having the drugs shipped from overseas.”

The RU-486 regimen was developed so that mifepristone could chemically end the pregnancy’s development while relying on misoprostol to then bring about the violent uterine contractions needed to expel the “products of conception.”  With misoprostol-only abortions the mifepristone-related chemical action does not occur, and abortions, like those reported in the article, depend primarily on termination based on contractions and expulsion.  Because of the dual action, RU-486 abortions are more effective than misoprostol-only abortions, but even they fail 3-5% of the time.

To their credit, Lee and Buckley do note that misoprostol abortions have “side effects” that “can be serious, and include rupture of the uterus, severe bleeding and shock.”  The article also quotes a doctor who has studied misoprostol abortions in New York City where “he saw a lot of Dominican immigrants with incomplete abortions in the emergency room.” 

Of course, this is the pattern that we at FRC, along with doctors from the American Association of Pro Life Ob/Gyns (“AAPLOG”), have observed.  We analyzed RU-486 adverse event reports obtained from the FDA via the Freedom of Information Act.  Many chemical abortions do not complete themselves and women are forced to seek out emergency room care while they are tremendously sick.  Blood loss can be significant sometimes requiring transfusions.

Instead of portraying these abortions as events that end the life of a human being while abusing the bodies of the women who have them, chemical abortions are portrayed in a benign light in the article.  But the reality is much different. 

For more on RU-486 abortions and the drug’s U.S. approval, download Politicized Science: The Manipulated Approval of RU-486 and Its Dangers to Women’s Health.

Responding to Guttmacher’s Attack

by Michael New

December 19, 2008

Earlier this month, the Alan Guttmacher Institute attacked my September Family Research Council study which documented the effectiveness of state level pro-life parental involvement laws. They claim that my methodology is ‘faulty.’ They also argue that forcing minors to reveal their pregnancy to their parents places teens at risk of abuse.

In my response I document three studies in peer reviewed journals that show that the overall incidence of abortion among minors declines after the passage of parental involvement laws. Additionally,parental involvement laws protect minors in other ways. Parental involvement laws make it more difficult for child predators to use abortions to cover up their criminal behavior.

Furthermore, many minors seeking abortions without their parents’ knowledge are at risk because they are unaware of their own medical history. In my response, I report cases where minors undergoing abortions died because they experienced an allergic reaction to the anesthesia.

It is for these reasons and others that many district attorneys, law enforcement officials, and groups representing crisis pregnancy centers support pro-life parental involvement laws. Here is a link to my full response [PDF].

Blogs for Life 2009

by Jared Bridges

December 16, 2008

If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for the fourth-annual Blogs For Life conference on January 22nd, 2009. It will again be hosted here at Family Research Council Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and will run from 8:30 - 11:30a.m.

This year’s event will, as usual, precede the March for Life, which marks the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. We’ll be webcasting the event again, and we’re in the process of lining up another great group of speakers, so stay tuned to this spot for more information.

In the meantime, check out last year’s lineup.

More information here.

If FOCA is passed, then Catholic Hospitals are in Danger of Closing

by Krystle Gabele

December 9, 2008

This morning, I read an article in The Washington Examiner about how the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would be a huge threat to Catholic health care systems, not just in Maryland, but around the nation. 

Barack Obama has pledged the very first thing he would sign into law would be legislation aimed towards making abortion legal throughout the pregnancy and place the burden on taxpayers to cover this horrific procedure.

With this type of legislation being possibly enacted, many bishops are considering closing Catholic hospitals.  At a recent general meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki said, “We may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our Catholic hospitals entirely.”  In Maryland, there are eight hospitals that would be threatened, including St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, which is nationally renowned for their cardiac care center.

According to our own government affairs department here at FRC, Maryland, along with six other states has legislation similar to FOCA.

In Maryland , FOCA-type legislation has been on the books since 1991.   According to Planned Parenthood’s Alan Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate in the United States DECREASED nine percent since 2000 to 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age in 2005.  By contrast, the state of Maryland in 2005 produced a rate of 31.5 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, an INCREASE of eight percent since 1991.”

Hopefully, Congress will use common sense and not pass such a detrimental piece of legislation that would threaten quality medical care straight across the board.

 

New Mental Health Studies Dispel Myth That Abortion is a ‘Non-Event’

by Moira Gaul

December 5, 2008

News of note this week is that two new studies published in peer-reviewed journals continue to link abortion and negative mental health effects.

The first paper , published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, analyzed data from the National Comorbidity Survey, the most comprehensive national dataset on the prevalence of psychological disorders, to explore associations between abortion history and mental health. Abortion was found to be associated with an increased risk of a number of mental health problems including: panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and major depression. The four study authors presented their research on topic at a panel discussion at the Family Research Council in October 2008.

The second paper, written by New Zealand researcher David Fergusson, analyzed data from a 30-year longitudinal study. The methodology, analysis employing two types of models for concurrent and long-term health effects, strong control for confounding variables, and comparison groups were all strengths of the study. The results indicated abortion to be associated with an increased risk of mental disorders, including major depression, anxiety disorder, illicit drug dependence, and suicide ideation.

The results of both studies add to the strong body of evidence detailing the causal association between abortion and mental health disorders. These findings continue to raise important implications concerning informed consent in healthcare. Women in this country deserve quality healthcare which provides accurate information on the associated risks accompanying abortion.

Also making news yesterday was a review paper published by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. In their own press release the university/dept. cited the review paper as the most rigorous review of the literature to date which purported that “studies with the most flawed methodology found negative mental health sequelae of abortion.” This is an insult to Johns Hopkins as a credible academic research institution. The exclusion of numerous studies published in peer-reviewed journals was a gaping omission. The ties of senior author Robert Blum to the Alan Guttmacher Institute as a board member and previous board chair as well as the funding of the university’s department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, where three of the four study authors work, by Planned Parenthood of Maryland, serve as evidence of the political motivation behind the publishing of the study. Johns Hopkins should be admonished for stamping such sham science.

Women are increasingly coming forward to share about the negative impacts of abortion in their lives. Clinicians treating women for mental health disorders are increasingly stepping forward to tell the truth about the large numbers seeking treatment due to the fallout from abortion. The repeated lies from the pro-abortion community that abortion is a non-event or somehow “therapeutic” in women’s lives are being dispelled and the truth clearly elucidated by scientific findings.

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