Stephen Phelan

What Hungary and Poland can teach us about a post-Roe world

Stephen Phelan
By Stephen Phelan

January 25, 2013 ( - No democratic nation has ever voted in the majority to legalize abortion as such. Not one. Legalized abortion is always imposed by totalitarian or authoritarian regimes, or by elites who manufacture court cases designed to reverse duly created laws that actually protect innocent human beings.

As the death toll rises in those nations that have embraced legal abortion, so does the need of those in power to use ever more authoritarian means to promote this injustice and shield people from the truth. What is happening now in the United States — the creeping overreach of politicians whose sense of accountability seems to diminish daily — has precedent in Europe, where similar democratically elected governments have found ways to legalize the destruction of unborn human beings.

In other cases, especially in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe, nations had abortion forced upon them by dictators who wanted to control the populations. Several of these nations are only now starting to find their way out of the moral and demographic abyss into which they were thrown.

In Human Life International’s (HLI) new documentary, “Central and Eastern Europe: A Return to Life,” we examine the dramatic situations unfolding in Hungary and Poland, two nations that were decimated by the most destructive ideologies in history, Nazism and Communism. Both countries had abortion forced on them by the Communists over six decades ago. And while the people of both nations on occasion rose up against their oppressors, it wasn’t until Communist Russia began to crumble in 1989 that they were able to begin charting their own course.

In 1993, Poland became the first nation in Europe, and remains the first developed nation, to reverse the full legalization of abortion. Inspired by the 1979 visit of the new Polish Pope, John Paul II, Poles stood in solidarity against the Communists, starting the domino effect that led to Communism’s downfall.

But this is important: it was a revolution of faith as much as, if not more than, politics.

The Solidarity movement, led by Lech Walesa, fully embraced the traditional Catholic faith of their homeland, and with a fire lit by the servant of the Holy Spirit, they peacefully persevered. This newly recovered confidence in their traditional faith led to the reversal of the abortion law after the fall of Communism, and today there are fewer than 700 abortions annually in Poland.

Hungary’s recovery has been slower, yet on Easter Monday in 2011, the Hungarian Parliament adopted what has become known as the “Easter Constitution.” Notable for its explicit embrace of its Christian heritage (in a continent whose supranational elite political body has written Christianity out of its own constitution), the new Hungarian constitution restates Hungary’s commitment to authentic human rights and defends the institution that any society must protect if it is to sustain itself – the natural family. With its enactment on January 1, 2012, Hungarians laid the groundwork for the return of pro-life and pro-family laws.

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But there is more to these stories, and Americans would do well to contemplate what their example means for our own nation as we draw closer to undoing Roe v. Wade.

As we hear from HLI’s pro-life leaders in Poland in “A Return to Life,” when Communism fell, there was an explosion of hope and enthusiasm, followed by an openness to what were perceived as more enlightened Western culture and values. Instead of sharing in the riches of the West, Poles have seen wane the religious fervor that animated their peaceful resistance to their oppressors, and secular materialism pick up where Communism left off. As we know too well, this secularism also can foment an anti-life mentality, and it has undercut Poles’ hopes for a brighter future. So while Poland is still a relatively Catholic nation in post-Christian Europe, it retains a low birth rate and must continue to fend off attempts to reinstate abortion and adopt the worst of the United States’ and other “developed” nations’ ideas.

Meanwhile, Hungarians find themselves fighting not only those inside the nation who oppose a recovery of traditional Hungarian values, but a body of unelected and radically secular bureaucrats in the European Union who are not happy that one of their member states would dare to promote Christian, pro-life and pro-family views.

So the question falls to us in the United States: What if Roe v. Wade were reversed, or in some other way abolished, tomorrow? Most agree that not one abortion mill would close as a direct result, though it may become easier to close mills in states where there was political will to do so. We can safely assume that the already growing number of proposals at the state level, both for and against abortion, would increase in number and take on greater urgency for both sides. There would immediately be new suits launched to reinstate some version of Roe, all tailored to reach the Supreme Court.

Which leads to a further question, given that we are about to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe: if the actual reversal of Roe is unlikely to immediately save lives, is all the attention given to Roe really warranted? That is, is it worth it to spend so much time and treasure on the reversal of Roe?

Of course it is, and not only for symbolic reasons. Just laws ultimately unite and order a society, as they protect both individuals and the institutions that make civil society possible. Unjust laws divide a citizenry, as they are tools used against politically vulnerable individuals and institutions, ultimately undermining any possibility of a well-ordered state.

We fight on the local, state and national levels to save every life we can, and to set right every law that enshrines the false “right” to choose to kill an unborn child. And as supporters of Human Life International well know, this same fight goes on around the world as well.

Here is the point: no victory in the fight for life and family is ever the end of the battle — it is always a new beginning. It is crucial, but not sufficient, that we seek a reversal of unjust, anti-life laws at every level. The examples provided by Hungary and Poland — nations that have already seen major national victories — demonstrate both major political victories are possible, and that our sights must be set beyond the political battles if we are to sustain the momentum of our victories.

The fire of love and hope set by John Paul II in Poland remains perhaps the most concrete example of what can happen when we allow ourselves to be radically swept up in God’s will, and step forward with courage and trust. Totus Tuus! (Totally Yours!) But as we follow Poland’s continuing struggle, we see that this must be sustained by Christians unafraid to proclaim the Truth, lest the reigning radical secularism that we see around us continue to feed the Culture of Death.

God can bring about change even beyond what we can imagine. We can’t lose hope even with the reelection of an administration here in the U.S. that clearly has disdain for people of genuine faith, religious freedom, and for human life. Greater things have happened than the kind of political and legal victory that we seek in overturning Roe. The current state-level victories, the growing ranks of pro-life advocates, conversions of abortion workers and closure of mills – these wonderful gains foreshadow higher level victories yet to be won.

But if we are to sustain this momentum, the courageous pro-life leaders in Poland and Hungary tell us that what we really need is a consistent and courageous witness of the faith. People need to see the love that they are really searching for, and the stark alternative it offers to the Culture of Death as embodied in Roe v. Wade.

Stephen Phelan is the communications manager at Human Life International. This article reprinted with permission from

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A Nazi extermination camp. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Imagine the outrage if anti-Semites were crowdsourcing for gas chambers

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By Pete Baklinski
A Nazi oven where the gassed victims were destroyed by fire. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
Empty canisters of the poison used by Nazis to exterminate the prisoners. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
Syringe for Manual Vacuum Aspiration abortion
Uterine Currette

Imagine the outrage if the Nazis had used online crowdsourcing to pay for the instruments and equipment used to eradicate Jews, gypsies, the handicapped, and other population groups — labeled “undesirable” — in their large industrialized World War II extermination facilities. 

Imagine if they posted a plea online stating: “We need to raise $85,000 to buy Zyklon B gas, to maintain the gas chambers, and to provide a full range of services to complete the ‘final solution.’”

People would be more than outraged. They would be sickened, disgusted, horrified. Humanitarian organizations would fly into high gear to do everything in their power to stop what everyone would agree was madness. Governments would issue the strongest condemnations.

Civilized persons would agree: No class of persons should ever be targeted for extermination, no matter what the reason. Everyone would tear the euphemistic language of “final solution” to shreds, knowing that it really means the hideous crime of annihilating a class of people through clinical, efficient, and state-approved methods of destruction. 

But crowdsourcing to pay for the instruments and equipment to exterminate human beings is exactly what one group in New Brunswick is doing.

Reproductive Justice NB has just finished raising more than $100,000 to lease the Morgentaler abortion facility in Fredericton, NB, which is about to close over finances. They’re now asking the public for “support and enthusiasm” to move forward with what they call “phase 2” of their goal.

“For a further $85,000 we can potentially buy all the equipment currently located at the clinic; equipment that is required to provide a full range of reproductive health services,” the group states on its Facebook page.

But what are the instruments and equipment used in a surgical abortion to destroy the pre-born child? It depends how old the child is. 

A Manual Vacuum Aspiration abortion uses a syringe-like instrument that creates suction to break apart and suck the baby up. It’s used to abort a child from 6 weeks to 12 weeks of age. Abortionist Martin Haskell has said the baby’s heart is often still beating as it’s sucked down the tube into the collection jar.

For older babies up to 16 weeks there is the Dilation and Curettage (D&C) abortion method. A Uterine Currette has one sharp side for cutting the pre-born child into pieces. The other side is used to scrape the uterus to remove the placenta. The baby’s remains are often removed by a vacuum.

For babies past 16 weeks there is the Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) abortion method, which uses forceps to crush, grasp, and pull the baby’s body apart before extraction. If the baby’s head is too large, it must be crushed before it can be removed.

For babies past 20 weeks, there is the Dilation and Extraction (D&X) abortion method. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist uses forceps to partially deliver the baby until his or her head becomes visible. With the head often too big to pass through the cervix, the abortionist punctures the skull, sucks out the brains to collapse the skull, and delivers the dead baby.

Other equipment employed to kill the pre-born would include chemicals such as Methotrexate, Misoprostol, and saline injections. Standard office equipment would include such items as a gynecologist chair, oxygen equipment, and a heart monitor.

“It’s a bargain we don’t want to miss but we need your help,” writes the abortion group.

People should be absolutely outraged that a group is raising funds to purchase the instruments of death used to destroy a class of people called the pre-born. Citizens and human rights activists should be demanding the organizers be brought to justice. Politicians should be issuing condemnations with the most hard-hitting language.

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Everyone should be tearing to shreds the euphemistic language of “reproductive health services,” knowing that it in part stands for the hideous crime of annihilating a class of people through clinical, efficient, and state-approved methods of destruction that include dismemberment, decapitation, and disembowelment.

There’s a saying about people not being able to perceive the error of their day. This was generally true of many in Hitler’s Germany who uncritically subscribed to his eugenics-driven ideology in which certain people were viewed as sub-human. And it’s generally true of many in Canada today who uncritically subscribe to the ideology of ‘choice’ in which the pre-born are viewed as sub-human.

It’s time for all of us to wake-up and see the youngest members of the human family are being brutally exterminated by abortion. They need our help. We must stand up for them and end this injustice.

Let us arise!

Paul Wilson

The antidote to coercive population control

Paul Wilson
By Paul Wilson

The primary tenet of population control is simple: using contraception and abortifacients, families can “control” when their reproductive systems work and when they don’t – hence the endless cries that women “should have control over their own bodies” in the name of reproductive health.

However, in much of the world, the glittering rhetoric of fertility control gives way to the reality of control of the poorest citizens by their governments or large corporations. Governments and foreign aid organizations routinely foist contraception on women in developing countries. In many cases, any pretense of consent is steamrolled – men and women are forcibly sterilized by governments seeking to thin their citizens’ numbers.  (And this “helping women achieve their ‘ideal family size’” only goes one way – there is no government support for families that actually want more children.)

In countries where medical conditions are subpar and standards of care and oversight are low, the contraceptive chemicals population control proponents push have a plethora of nasty side effects – including permanent sterilization. So much for control over fertility; more accurately, the goal appears to be the elimination of fertility altogether.

There is a method for regulating fertility that doesn’t involve chemicals, cannot be co-opted or manipulated, and requires the mutual consent of the partners in order to work effectively. This method is Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Natural Family Planning is a method in which a woman tracks her natural indicators (such as her period, her temperature, cervical mucus, etc.) to identify when she is fertile. Having identified fertile days, couples can then choose whether or not to have sex during those days--abstaining if they wish to postpone pregnancy, or engaging in sex if pregnancy is desired.

Of course, the population control crowd, fixated on forcing the West’s vision of limitless bacchanalia through protective rubber and magical chemicals upon the rest of the world, loathes NFP. They deliberately confuse NFP with the older “rhythm method,” and cite statistics from the media’s favorite “research institute” (the Guttmacher Institute, named for a former director of Planned Parenthood) claiming that NFP has a 25% failure rate with “typical use.” Even the World Health Organization, in their several hundred page publication, “Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers,” admits that the basal body temperature method (a natural method) has a less than 1% failure rate—a success rate much higher than male condoms, female condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps or spermicides.

Ironically, the methods which they ignore – natural methods – grant true control over one’s fertility – helping couples both to avoid pregnancy or (horror of horrors!) to have children, with no government intervention required and no choices infringed upon.

The legitimacy of natural methods blows the cover on population controllers’ pretext to help women. Instead, it reveals their push for contraceptives and sterilizations for what they are—an attempt to control the fertility of others. 

Reprinted with permission from the Population Research Institute.

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United Nations headquarters in New York
Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.

New development goals shut out abortion rights

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.
By Rebecca Oas Ph.D.

Co-authored by Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

A two week marathon negotiation over the world’s development priorities through 2030 ended at U.N. headquarters on Saturday with abortion rights shut out once again.

When the co-chairs’ gavel finally fell Saturday afternoon to signal the adoption of a new set of development goals, delegates broke out in applause. The applause was more a sigh of relief that a final round of negotiations lasting twenty-eight hours had come to its end than a sign of approval for the new goals.

Last-minute changes and blanket assurances ushered the way for the chairman to present his version of the document delivered with an implicit “take it or leave it.”

Aside from familiar divisions between poor and wealthy countries, the proposed development agenda that delegates have mulled over for nearly two years remains unwieldy and unmarketable, with 17 goals and 169 targets on everything from ending poverty and hunger, to universal health coverage, economic development, and climate change.

Once again hotly contested social issues were responsible for keeping delegates up all night. The outcome was a compromise.

Abortion advocates were perhaps the most frustrated. They engaged in a multi-year lobbying campaign for new terminology to advance abortion rights, with little to show for their efforts. The new term “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” which has been associated with abortion on demand, as well as special new rights for individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual (LGBT), did not get traction, even with 58 countries expressing support.

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Despite this notable omission, countries with laws protecting unborn children were disappointed at the continued use of the term “reproductive rights,” which is not in the Rio+20 agreement from 2012 that called for the new goals. The term is seen as inappropriate in an agenda about outcomes and results rather than normative changes on sensitive subjects.

Even so, “reproductive rights” is tempered by a reference to the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, which recognizes that abortion is a matter to be dealt with in national legislation. It generally casts abortion in a bad light and does not recognize it as a right. The new terminology that failed was an attempt to leave the 1994 agreement behind in order to reframe abortion as a human rights issue.

Sexual and reproductive health was one of a handful of subjects that held up agreement in the final hours of negotiations. The failure to get the new terminology in the goals prompted the United States and European countries to insist on having a second target about sexual and reproductive health. They also failed to include “comprehensive sexuality education” in the goals because of concerns over sex education programs that emphasize risk reduction rather than risk avoidance.

The same countries failed to delete the only reference to “the family” in the whole document. Unable to insert any direct reference to LGBT rights at the United Nations, they are concentrating their efforts on diluting or eliminating the longstanding U.N. definition of the family. They argue “the family” is a “monolithic” term that excludes other households. Delegates from Mexico, Colombia and Peru, supporters of LGBT rights, asked that the only reference to the family be “suppressed.”

The proposed goals are not the final word on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They will be submitted to the General Assembly, whose task is to elaborate a post-2015 development agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals next year.

Reprinted with permission from


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