Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Argentina one step closer to legalizing abortion

Abortion | Pro-lifers praying the country’s Senate will nix bid to overturn protections for unborn babies
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 6/18/18, 02:43 pm

Pro-life advocates are prayerfully awaiting a decision from Argentina’s Senate on whether to keep the country’s legal protections for the unborn.

After about 23 hours of debate, Argentina’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, voted 129-125 last week to legalize abortion through 14 weeks gestation. The bill would overturn current protections for unborn babies in every case except rape and danger to the mother’s life.

The measure still needs approval from the more conservative Senate. If it passes there, the bill has a clear path to becoming law: President Mauricio Macri indicated he will not veto it.

Human Life International urged pro-lifers to continue praying for a good outcome.

“There is much at stake, and we ask God’s blessing on Argentina, especially the unborn,” the group’s spokeswoman, Deborah Piroch, told me.

Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, called the bill a “violent assault upon the youngest and most vulnerable of Argentina’s society—the unborn child.”

Both supporters and opponents of the bill rallied regularly in the weeks leading up to the vote. In May, about 3.6 million people marched through cities across Argentina to protest the measure. Nearly a half million people signed a petition urging representatives to vote against it. Earlier this month, thousands of pro-abortion demonstrators flooded the streets of Buenos Aires to rally support for the bill.

When the lower house passed the legislation, news outlets reported crowds of crying, cheering, and partying abortion supporters. Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said the celebration echoed the elation of abortion advocates in Ireland after a referendum repealed that country’s constitutional protections for unborn babies.

“In a sense it’s just dark, because these are the first times abortion has actually been voted in,” he said. “The celebration is kind of odd, because abortion seems to empower men to be less responsible, under the guise of women seemingly being more responsible for their ‘reproductive health.’”

But Godsey noted that the celebration was more political than practical. While abortion is illegal in most cases, it goes virtually unprosecuted. That on-the-ground reality has given rise to a growing movement of pro-life pregnancy centers ready to increase their outreach if the country fully legalizes abortion.

“There are about 30 pregnancy centers spread across Argentina helping women have an alternative to abortion,” Godsey said. “[With it] being illegal, you would think that would not be necessary, but it has been necessary. And there is already a group of people dedicated to helping women not feel forced into an abortion. Every woman should be loved and supported in her pregnancy, and these groups are already in place around the country.”

Facebook Facebook Illinois state Rep. Peter Breen

Pro-lifers fight taxpayer funding for abortion in Illinois

The Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group, continued last week to argue its case against an Illinois law allowing taxpayer funding for abortion.

The law, signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, last year, removes language from state law that kept taxpayers from funding abortion through state Medicaid funds and state employee health insurance plans. It also removes language protecting life from conception.

Pro-life groups and legislators filed suit in December, citing Illinois’ balanced budget requirement: The state had not earmarked existing funds to pay for abortions. Official estimates put the cost at about $1.8 million a year.

A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge threw out the case in December, and Thomas More attorney Peter Breen, also an Illinois state representative, argued the case before a state appellate court in Springfield on Wednesday.

Breen described the justices as “very engaged in the arguments.” While Breen said it’s impossible to predict which way they will decide in the fall he hopes they will consider the wider financial ramifications.

“Illinois is known as the country’s fiscal basket case,” Breen said. “To now take the lone limitation on the general assembly’s power to spend money and throw it out the window, that’s just devastating to anyone who’s paying taxes in the state of Illinois.”

In the meantime, Breen said it is possible that no taxpayer dollars have yet gone to pay for abortions. While the law technically went into effect Jan. 1, money had not yet flowed to abortion providers in April, when local media outlets asked about it.

Breen added that legislators are closely watching the case unfold: “If there's even a deterrence effect from the fact that our lawsuit is on file, then that’s a positive impact we’ve made.” —S.G.

Associated Press/Photo by Susan Walsh Associated Press/Photo by Susan Walsh Pro-life and pro-abortion supporters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington earlier this year.

Poll shows close split between pro-life, pro-abortion views

Most Americans think abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances, a new Gallup poll shows.

Oddly, more Americans think abortion is morally wrong (48 percent) than identify as pro-life (46 percent). The number of people who think abortion should always be legal is slightly higher today (29 percent) than it was shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 (21 percent).

But only 43 percent want abortion legal in all or most cases, as opposed to 53 percent who would protect the unborn in all (18 percent) or most (35 percent) cases.

Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, found the statistics hopeful. Pro-life measures are becoming law at a record rate, and most Americans want more protections for the unborn and restrictions on abortion funding, she noted.

“Millennials are trending towards support for life, with more than half believing abortion should be illegal in most circumstances,” Foster said. “This increasingly life-affirming mentality has helped bring America’s abortion rate to historic lows—the lowest rate since Roe v. Wade.” —S.G.

Ireland debates conscience protections after abortion vote

Shortly after the Irish referendum to legalize abortion, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said doctors must either perform abortions or refer women to an abortionist.

The National Association of General Practitioners requested any abortion legalization bill include the option for conscientious objections to performing and referring for abortions, but Varadkar rejected that suggestion: “What we can’t allow is the suggestion that a GP who doesn’t provide the service would then refuse to refer their patient on to somebody who would.”

Anthony McCarthy, communications director for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, blasted Varadkar’s comments: “As many rightly feared, the regime in Ireland, not content with implementing abortion on demand, is now proposing to ride roughshod over the conscience rights of the medical profession.” —S.G.

Missouri defunds Planned Parenthood

Missouri cut funding to Planned Parenthood on Friday as part of a budget requirement Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, said he intends to approve. The redirection of funds will affect 11 Planned Parenthood facilities in the state. —S.G.

Pope calls abortion eugenics with ‘white gloves’

Pope Francis told an Italian family group that abortion is just as bad as what the Nazis did during World War II: “Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves.” The pope said we should accept children “as God gives them to us.” —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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