In a major victory for the pro-life movement in Argentina, Pope Francis’ home country has refused to legalize elective abortion, reports CNN. The Argentine Senate voted down a bill which would have enabled women to abort their babies in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The measure failed by a seven-vote margin, 38 to 31.
The public announcement of the vote sparked celebrations by pro-life demonstrators, who launched fireworks outside of Argentina’s National Congress building in Buenos Aires. Crowds of people donned blue, a color which symbolizes Argentina’s “save both lives” movement, and cheered when they heard the Senate’s official verdict.
In the aftermath of the announcement, some pro-abortion protesters clashed with police, who detained at least eight people. Demonstrators lobbed rocks and bottles at security forces, who attempted to quell the unrest with tear gas and water cannons.
The abortion bill had narrowly passed through Argentina’s lower house in June, and lawmakers expected the measure to face even greater opposition in the more conservative Senate. The weekend before the vote, a senator from Argentina’s opposition party withdrew her endorsement of the bill.
During the Senate debate, the Catholic Church conducted a “Mass for Life” in Buenos Aires, while pro-abortion demonstrators rallied in front of the Congress building.
Conservative lawmaker Marta Varela highlighted Argentina’s robust pro-life movement while addressing her colleagues in the Senate. “Today I feel like never before that I’m part of a wide sector of our people who defend life in general, from the moment of conception and until death,” she stated.
In March, as proceedings on the abortion bill began, Pope Francis had urged his homeland to “make a contribution in defense of life and justice.” Thanks to the integrity of Argentina’s pro-life senators, the country has done just that.
As Argentina’s Senate prepares to debate a bill on expanding abortion access, hundreds of physicians have demonstrated against infanticide, reports the Voice of America. Doctors carried signs stating, “I’m a doctor, not a murderer,” and laid white medical coats in front of the presidential palace.
Doctors for Life, which boasts 1,000 members, has helped organize the pro-life demonstrations. Other organizations which oppose the abortion measure include Argentina’s Academy of Medicine, which issued a statement affirming the personhood of unborn children: “to destroy a human embryo means impeding the birth of a human being,” the statement reads. “Nothing good can come when society chooses death as a solution.”
Officials from nearly 300 medical centers and private hospitals have also decried the proposed legislation, which would legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and prohibit medical institutions from refusing to perform abortion procedures.
“The defense of life is at the very foundation of our institution,” explained Ernesto Beruti, an obstetrician at Austral University Hospital. “We see ever more doctors joining [the protests].”
Should Argentina’s proposed measure become law, pro-life doctors would have to register as conscientious objectors with government authorities. As a result, some physicians fear professional discrimination and ostracism from colleagues who favor abortion.
Even pro-abortion doctors could face legal consequences under the statute, if they fail to meet the measure’s five-day deadline for responding to an abortion request. “Doctors can’t work under the threat of prison time,” stated Maria de los Angeles Carmona, head of gynecology at Eva Peron Hospital, a government-run institution.
Despite the threat posed by Argentina’s abortion bill, pro-life physicians in the country remain committed to their values. “How far are we willing to go to? Jail,” Ernesto Beruti stated. “Even if the law is passed, I’m not going to eliminate the life of a human being. The most important right is the right to live.”
A proposal to ban state-funded abortions via a state constitutional amendment will appear on Oregon’s ballot this fall, reports The Oregonian. According to state election workers, supporters of the proposal submitted 117,799 valid signatures. Initiatives which involve a constitutional amendment require at least 117,578 signatures to appear on the ballot.
Marylin Shannon, a chief petitioner for the taxpayer-funded abortion ban, clarified the proposal’s impact on abortion providers in Oregon. “We’re hoping we’ll win on the issue,” Shannon stated. “What we really want people to know is that this measure will not outlaw abortion in Oregon. It only stops the public funding of it.”
Nevertheless, pro-abortion groups have described the measure in sweeping terms. “The right to health care is the foundation of freedom and opportunity for women and their families,” said Grayson Dempsey, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, an abortion rights group.
The state-funded abortion ban will likely appear on Oregon’s ballot as Measure 106. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon has joined NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon in an effort to rally public employee unions against Measure 106. Public employee union workers receive health insurance plans which use tax dollars to cover abortions.
However, pro-abortion big money groups may struggle to defeat Measure 106, which enjoys considerable grassroots support, according to Jeff Jimmerson, the initiative’s chief sponsor. “It’s been a truly monumental effort, lasting six-plus years [and] thousands of volunteers,” Jimmerson stated.
The dedication of activists like Jimmerson brings Oregon’s pro-life community one step closer to implementing constitutional protections for unborn children in the state.
While the pro-life movement is often associated with conservatism, there is no reason to restrict it to certain political parties. A group of Democrats, known as Democrats for Life of America, aimed to demonstrate this at their annual gathering in Denver, Colorado.
During the weekend of July 20, “I Want my Party Back” served as an event that unified the budding organization. Surprisingly, pro-life Democrats are not rare. According to a 2017 Gallup survey, 26% of Democrats identify as pro-life and 32% view abortions as morally wrong. This event was meant to highlight this often silent minority.
Issues discussed during the conference were not just limited to abortion, but extended to related topics, like how sex education should be taught in schools. Additionally, talks and presentations explored the connections between abortion, poverty, and racism. Many speakers were Catholic, a religious group that has been gaining increasing prominence in centrist United States policy.
While the group and event have faced criticism from other liberal associations, Democrats for Life America insists that it remains dedicated to progressive policies, simply differing on this one issue. Despite negative backlash from other Democrats, the organization asks that their party keep an open mind about such issues and continues to gather support for its cause, proving once and for all that the right to life should not be a partisan issue.
While left-leaning media outlets warn of dire consequences for the pro-abortion cause should Brett Kavanaugh become the Supreme Court’s newest member, gubernatorial and Congressional candidates across the country promise to implement new protections for unborn children.
Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson hopes to enact a “heartbeat bill” if he’s elected. The measure would follow Iowa’s blueprint by prohibiting doctors from aborting a fetus which has a measurable heartbeat. “[Iowa’s law] said if you can hear and feel a heartbeat, then that is a living child, and you shouldn’t be able to abort it,” Johnson told Minnesota Public Radio.
Meanwhile, Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam seeks to base his re-election bid on a strongly pro-life platform. In a televised debate with his Democratic opponent Sean Casten, Roksam stated that he is “not going to be defensive about being pro-life” and denounced Casten’s support for taxpayer-funded abortions.
When Casten attempted to characterize abortion as simply “a medical procedure like a gall bladder surgery,” Roskam pointed out the obvious: “Abortion is not gall bladder surgery.”
Finally, both Republican incumbent Mia Love and Democratic candidate Ben McAdams have touted their pro-life values in Utah’s most hotly contested congressional race. Love deemed herself “one of the main spokespersons here in Congress on the pro-life issue,” and highlighted her consistent pro-life track record. “[My] stance has always been the same. No abortions; to protect life at all stages of development, except in cases of rape, incest or life of a mother.”
For his part, McAdams stated he has “deeply held beliefs about the sanctity of life and what we can do to promote the sanctity of life. . . . I think abortion is far too common in America, and we should be taking steps to reduce abortion.”
Thus, fears regarding abortion access may dominate headlines–but pro-life voters should consider the positive implications of widespread state and federal support for abortion restrictions. Should pro-life campaign promises come to fruition, more unborn children will have a chance at life.
In 2017, former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against pro-life activists who demonstrated outside Choices Women’s Medical Center, an abortion clinic, in New York’s Queens district.
According to Schneiderman’s lawsuit, the protesters violated women’s access to “reproductive health care” by obstructing the entrance to the abortion clinic and harassing those who attempted to enter. The suit therefore requested a federal judge to halt the pro-life demonstrations via a preliminary injunction, and to shield the clinic with a 16-foot buffer zone.
In a victory for the pro-life movement, however, Judge Carol Bagley Amon ruled on July 20th that Schneiderman “failed to show” that the pro-life activists “had the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm” anyone who entered the abortion clinic.
“The interactions on the sidewalk outside Choices [Women’s Medical Center] were generally quite short, and there is no credible evidence that any protester disregarded repeated requests to be left alone over an extended period or changed his or her tone or message in response to requests to be left alone in a way that suggested an intent to harass, annoy, or alarm,” Judge Amon stated in a written opinion.
The decision drew predictable criticism from the National Organization for Women (NOW), a pro-abortion group. “What’s happening now is crossing a line,” claimed Jean Bucaria, deputy director for NOW’s New York City chapter. “You shouldn’t have to be screamed at, yelled at or harassed to get to a doctor.”
Despite Judge Amon’s ruling to the contrary, Queens councilman Rory Lancman echoed Bucaria, arguing that the pro-life activists’ demonstrations constituted an attempt to shame and intimidate women seeking abortion: “What’s the value of having abortion rights if you can’t get to the clinic without being harassed or humiliated?”
Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for New York’s current attorney general, similarly advanced the narrative that the pro-life demonstrations amounted to “harassment.”
Nevertheless, Judge Amon found that witness testimony against the protesters overstated the “impropriety of the [protesters’] conduct” and did not consider “mitigating circumstances.” Amon opted to rely most heavily on security camera footage from the abortion clinic, rather than evidence from covert body cameras and microphones carried by pro-abortion operatives who attempted to enter the clinic.
Stephen Crampton of the Thomas More Society, a Chicago law firm which regularly represents pro-life groups, recognizes that Schneiderman’s lawsuit stemmed from partisan motives rather than a concern for fairness. “In our view the attorney general should have never brought this case,” Crampton stated. “This was more about politics than justice.”
Indeed, justice demands that the unborn receive their right to equal protection under the Constitution. To that end, New York’s pro-life protesters acted nobly. Judge Amon’s ruling confirms that they did so within the bounds of the law.