On June 19, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States of America’s withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council. While this comes as a surprise for advocates of social justice, a peek into the Council’s history yields disturbing controversy, especially for the dignity of the human person.
Ambassador Haley’s explanation for the withdrawal was a claim that the Council was hypocritical and biased against certain countries and belief systems. LifeSiteNews, in 2017, reported a series of the Council’s efforts to deliberately exclude unborn children as those protected by the United Nation’s “right to life.” Several other UN organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund, have expressed their approval of birth control as a fundamental right that should be provided to all countries. Fears have grown that there is a growing effort to list abortion as such a “human right.”
Currently, members of the Council include Afghanistan, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. A fairly young collective, formed in 2006, the Bush administration declined its opportunity to join, citing potential for bias. Ambassador Haley has long been threatening action, primarily on the basis of the Council’s alleged sway against Israel. However, the Council’s approach to the right to life, though not stated by Haley, must certainly be noted as well.
While many Americans, and Israel, have applauded the move as a win for true human rights, others are concerned that the lack of American presence will only further lead the Council astray from productive goals. Time will tell what difference American withdrawal will make, but the United States’ decision has certainly given its counterparts a resounding message.
A Students for Life group is standing up to a university administration accused of bias. The institution has denied its funding requests, instead of giving money to left-leaning organizations while maintaining a stance that it does not support ideological groups of any nature.
Ball State University requires a $1,318 student activities fee, according to an article by The Washington Examiner. While a funding committee stated that a group is not allowed money if it “”engages in activities, advocacy, or speech in order to advance a particular political interest, religion, religious faith or ideology,” several left-wing clubs, such as Feminists for Action, Secular Student Alliance, and a pro-LGBT group have been allowed.
In response to its recent denial of funding, the Ball State Students for Life have decided to sue the University, with the aid of the Alliance Defending Freedom. Accompanying the accusations of blatant bias are also claims that the university has failed to adequately explain its budgeting process in its handbook or other resources.
A report by the Students for Life claims that the University specifically favors twelve groups, which includes the Asian American Student Association, the Black Student Association, Latinx Student Union, and Spectrum, an LGBT educational group. Out of four hundred organizations, these and others appear to have been given a greater advantage, according to the lawsuit.
The club is asking for $300 to compensate an event that their members paid for earlier this year, as well as fees for the lawsuit.
On August 16, 2017, Governor Kate Brown signed a bill (HB 3391) that forces health care providers to cover the costs of abortions. This essentially makes abortions free to almost all citizens and even undocumented immigrants. Though Oregon’s abortion laws were already extreme before this law, its passage only signals the continual degradation that the value of life has faced across the state.
However, Pro-life groups in Oregon are pushing back in the battle to protect future generations of children.
One such effort is a petition to put the issue of taxpayer-funded abortions on the November ballot. The initiative’s sponsor, Oregon Life United, is approaching their goal of 150,000 signatures by June 30th. All Oregon voter are eligible to sign, and the petition website (www.stopthefunding.org) even provides the ability to print and distribute petition sheets.
According to the website, approximately $1.7 million in taxpayer dollars is spent on abortions, amounting to over $23 million within the last fourteen years. This yields an estimated ten abortions every day, funded by Oregon taxpayers.
If the petitioners are able to gather enough signatures, the issue of taxpayer-funded abortions will appear on voters’ ballots this November. If it passes and takes effect it will cut off tax-funded abortions throughout the state.
In May, Ireland passed a referendum that relaxed its laws on abortion, making the practice more accessible to its citizens. While the Pro-Choice movement continues to grow at an alarming rate in Western, traditionally Christian, countries, other cultures are finding themselves in a similar struggle with abortion. And because of the actions of one doctor, the issue has come to the forefront of Korean politics, demonstrating the universality of the debate.
Since 1953, in Korea, abortion outside of rape, incest, and health has been punishable by law. Women who engage in such procedures can face up to a year in prison. Doctors can receive twice the amount of time. A doctor who has performed almost 70 abortions within the last two years, and has recently been prosecuted, is now challenging this law.
The doctor remains unnamed by media sources, but it has been reported that his challenge of South Korea’s law has reached the Constitutional Court, the highest authority in the nation. If his case wins out, the court could deem the aforementioned law as unconstitutional, thereby nullifying it and opening the nation to accessing abortions.
Despite its stringent laws, it appears that enforcement of them has been very liberal. The Korean Women’s Development Institute, according to The Korea Herald, estimates that approximately 20% of women who have been pregnant have had an abortion. Out of this figure, only about 1% said they had a legal reason, being rape, incest, or health risks.
Support for legalizing abortion appears to be split, for now. Korea’s Christian population remains strongly Pro-Life, while an additional bloc concerned with low birth rates across the country has become prominent, as well. This group, which extends beyond any specific religion or ideology, could be key in preserving the nation’s laws. This marks a key difference between Ireland’s abortion debate, which seemed to morph into a discussion focusing on religion.
Also unlike Ireland, South Korea’s rule has a distinct clause. A part of the law that remains relatively unique to Korea is the requirement for a husband’s permission to carry out an abortion. This not only limits the practice to married women, but leaves the decision in the hands of their husbands, too. This could potentially work against the Pro-Life movement of South Korea, which could be accused of being sexist, citing the law’s dependence on the husband.
To say the least, South Korea technically remains quite Pro-Life in policy. However, the severe lack of enforcement remains concerning to both Pro-Life groups who insist on the protection of the unborn, and the Pro-Abortion groups that cite the lack of enforcement as a reason to get rid of the law altogether.
While Ireland and Korea differ in culture, the fact that the subject of abortion has become so prevalent in both countries illustrates how dire the fight for life is across the globe. At this point, more details are still emerging from the upcoming court hearing, though no date has been set for it yet.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new deputy assistant secretary for population affairs, and she’s Pro-Life. Dr. Diane Foley is a women’s health specialist who has contributed to several Pro-Life causes and organizations throughout her career. Once the CEO of Life Network, a Pro-Life pregnancy resource center in Colorado, Foley has accepted a pivotal position in the fight to defend life.
As mentioned in a previous article here on the Oregon Optimist, President Donald Trump is considering a new Title X regulation that could prevent several Pro-Choice organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, from receiving federal funding. Now that Dr. Foley has been selected for her position, many Pro-Life advocates are eager to see President Trump’s plans come through. Her specific role oversees the Title X funding that Trump seeks to modify.
Left-wing media websites have been quick to attack Dr. Foley, labeling her clinics as “fake,” though there is little to evidence supporting such claims. Dr. Foley replaces Theresa Manning, another Pro-Life advocate.
As the President continues his avid support of the Pro-Life movement, scores of supporters hope for changes to come in national policy. Appointees, like Dr. Foley, serve as an example of the Trump administration’s efforts in fulfilling his promises made at the March for Life in 2018, the first annual march where a sitting president made remarks.