Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Radical pro-abort bill being pushed on Tanzania by international organizations

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new “reproductive health” bill being proposed in Tanzania’s National Assembly is “pure western imperialism,” according to a local pro-life leader. Emil Hagamu, Human Life International’s Regional Coordinator for English-Speaking Africa, called the bill “foreign ideology that is being imposed on our African culture whose objective is depopulation.”

“Western countries want to exploit our natural resources and they know they can only do so if they suppress the growing population of young people and next generations,” he told LifeSiteNews.com.

The purpose of the bill, called the “Safe Motherhood” bill, is to change the way Tanzanians think about family life, children and marriage, Hagamu said.

The bill, being sponsored by Care International and brought before a legislative committee this month, will usher in the total abortion and contraceptive “reproductive health” program pushed by such groups as Planned Parenthood International.

In a detailed analysis made available to LSN, Hagamu says the bill will create effective abortion on demand, for any reason or none, and place a legal penalty on health care providers who refuse to participate. Currently abortion is legal in Tanzania in cases where the mother’s “life,” is at risk, and legal precedent exists for abortion in cases where the woman’s “mental” or “physical health” are at risk.

The bill proposes to expand the current abortion law to allow the killing of children who are suspected of “a severe physical or mental abnormality,” who resulted from rape or incest, and in cases where the pregnant woman is “a mentally disordered person,” and “is not capable of appreciating pregnancy.” Health ministers will be required to designate abortion facilities from among existing health centers.

The bill, Hagamu said, “undermines and bypasses African cultural and moral values” about the raising of children; “disregards the religious laws and practice on marriage”; and “will criminalize” pro-life and Christian teachings on contraception. Tanzania is 30 percent Christian, 30-35 percent Muslim and 35 percent followers of “indigenous beliefs.”

“The whole document puts emphasis on reproductive health - with emphasis on contraception to minors and young people,” he said.

Care International sponsored the bill under a cloak of secrecy, Hagamu told LSN. “Care International have done it with secrecy and speed that if not for God’s intervention we might have seen the law passing without any of us knowing what transpired in the process.”

The bill proposes to make contraception, including hormonal drugs, “universally accessible and mandatory to minors without parental knowledge or consent.” It says that all forms of contraception will be made available based on “individual rights to control fertility.” “It shall be the duty of government to provide access to contraception and family planning services including commodities, counseling, information and education.”

The need for the bill was discussed at “safe motherhood stakeholders” meetings over the last year organized by the sponsors, “which underscored the need to formulate a law that would protect pregnant women from maternal mortality and infant mortality,” the Tanzania Daily News reports.

International pressure is coming on strong in support of the bill, with media organs like the New York Times asserting that Tanzania’s current laws are creating “a deadly toll of abortion by amateurs,” and international pressure groups like the European Pro-Choice Network claiming that Tanzania is suffering a “silent pandemic of unsafe abortion.”

At the same time, the UNFPA, UNICEF and UNWomen are claiming that Tanzania is experiencing unusually high population growth that must be curbed. Speaker of the country’s National Parliament, the Hon. Anne Makinda, told a meeting of the UNFPA that population growth is a “critical issue” for Tanzania.

“Our country has one of the highest rates of population growth in the world; on average every Tanzania woman gives birth to five or six children,” Makinda said. 

According to the latest government statistics, however, this was an exaggerated estimate at best. Tanzania is at or slightly below the average overall fertility rate of most developing countries in Africa, with 4.16 children born per woman.

The country has a total population of about 42.7 million and a population growth rate of 2.002 percent. This is compared to neighbouring Kenya with a population just over 41 million, an overall fertility rate of 4.19 children born per woman and a population growth rate of 2.462 percent. Another Tanzania neighbour, Zambia, has a population of 14 million, an overall fertility rate of 5.98 children born per woman and a population growth rate of 3.062 percent.

What does stand out in Tanzania’s statistics is the high rate of maternal mortality, with 790 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008. This is compared to Zambia with 470 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and Kenya with 530 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the same year.

The abortion lobby continues to insist that legalized abortion, always equated with “safe abortion,” is the premier solution to maternal morality and morbidity (birth-related injuries and illness). But organizations that do maternal health care work while rejecting abortion, confirm that lowering maternal mortality rates depends on getting women proper obstetric health care before and after their children are born.

Matercare International, a group that has worked in maternal health care in Africa since 1981, says that maternal deaths and injury and abortions are “readily preventable” but that there is little interest on the international stage.

Most of the maternal deaths in Africa, the group says, occur among “very young mothers, in small villages, and a few at a time.” One of the most common causes of maternal death and illness is obstetric fistula that can be reversed with a simple surgical procedure. Matercare International founder, obstetrician Dr. Robert Walley, says, “Most die in terror from haemorrhage or in agony from obstructed labour.”

All of these conditions are treatable by competent, professionally trained obstetric physicians and nurses, and it is the lack of this training that is the real cause of the problem, not the lack of “safe” legal abortion. Dr. Walley maintains that the staggering rates of maternal death and abortion in Africa can be put down to “neglect” by international health organizations obsessed with abortion.

“Mothers in the developing world do not have access to safe, clean, dignified places to have their babies or access to expert medical services to look after them and while obstetric fistulae can be treated surgically.”

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Drew Belsky

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2016 candidates react to the Supreme Court’s marriage decision

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Five days after the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision mandating the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, most of the 2016 presidential candidates have made their opinions on the issue known.

While all of the Democrats currently in the race aggressively supported the ruling, the Republicans' reactions to the Supreme Court's marriage ruling have been more varied.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, criticized the Obergefell decision, calling it "a grave mistake." Walker suggested that "the only alternative" to Friday's decision is "to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."

Texas senator Ted Cruz has doubled down on Walker's call for a constitutional amendment. Not only is Cruz seeking an amendment to protect states' right to define marriage, but he also hopes to amend the Constitution to demand "periodic judicial retention elections" for Supreme Court justices – namely, Cruz said, for those who "overstep their bounds [and] violate the Constitution."

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush shied away from a constitutional marriage amendment. "Guided by my faith," Bush said in a statement, "I believe in traditional marriage." However, "in a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate."

Florida senator Marco Rubio agreed with Bush, exhorting Republicans to "look ahead" and concentrate on the nomination process for new judges. Likewise with Ohio governor John Kasich, who said on Face the Nation that "it's time to move on" and "take a deep breath."

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina concurred. While "I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage," Fiorina said, "[m]oving forward...all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience."

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham forthrightly condemned a constitutional marriage amendment as "a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail." Graham told NBC News, "I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court's ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American."

Libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrote in Time Magazine that the federal government should remove itself completely from the marriage issue. "Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not Washington, D.C.," Paul wrote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal "strongly disagree[s]" with the Obergefell ruling, but he admitted on Sunday that his state would ultimately comply with the Supreme Court's decision. "We do not have a choice."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went one step farther. While he "agree[s] with Chief Justice John Roberts" that "this is something that should be decided by the people, and not ... five lawyers," the governor admitted that "those five lawyers get to impose it under our system, and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land[.]"

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum foresees a widespread silencing of those who dissent from the Supreme Court's interpretation of marriage. "There's no slippery slope here," Santorum told the Family Research Council Friday; "religious liberty is under assault today – not going to be, it is – and it's going to be even more so ... with this decision."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee expressed similar sentiments, excoriating the Supreme Court for flouting millions of Americans who voted to affirm "the laws of nature." Huckabee said on Friday, "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."

On the other end of the spectrum, former Democratic Maryland governor and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley contended that it is homosexuals, not religious objectors to the Obergefell decision, who need more protections from the state.

Calling the ruling a "major step forward," O'Malley proceeded to demand passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that criminalizes "discrimination" based on an "individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity." Opponents worry it would force religious employers to hire homosexuals and transgender people.

Passing ENDA, O'Malley said, would help "more fully realize the vision of an open, respectful, and inclusive nation that Friday's decision aspires us [sic] to be."

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Drew Belsky

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Obama Department of Justice to Virginia school: Let girl use boys’ bathrooms

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The Obama administration's Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a "statement of interest" Monday in support of a Virginia high school sophomore who is seeking to use bathrooms designated for members of the opposite sex.

In June 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Gloucester County School Board on behalf of 15-year-old Gavin Grimm, who is biologically female but wants to use male bathrooms and locker rooms.

Grimm claimed that she had used such facilities without incident for seven weeks until December 2014, when the school board enacted a policy requiring "transgender" students to use private restrooms.

Grimm testified in early 2015 that "[n]ow that the board has passed this policy, school no longer feels as safe and welcoming as it did before[.] ... Being singled out is a glaring reminder of my differences and causes me significant discomfort every time I have to use the restroom."

The Obama administration declared in May 2014 that sex discrimination under Title IX applies to those who identify as "transgender."  The Department of Education followed up last December by ordering federally funded schools to classify students based on "gender identity" rather than biological sex.

Regardless, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews in June of this year that Grimm's and the ACLU's discrimination claims would not hold water.  Citing a district court case in Pennsylvania, Tedesco noted (emphasis in original) that "[t]he Court ... highlighted that Title IX's implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"

Title IX, part of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, is a statute that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity."

"Every court to consider this issue has held that single-sex restrooms and locker room facilities are permitted under Title IX," Tedesco concluded.

Now, according to the DoJ's "statement of interest" in support of Grimm, filed this week, "[t]he United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination and that the proper legal standards are applied to claims under Title IX" (p. 2, all citations omitted).  Per the DoJ, Grimm "is likely to succeed on the merits" of her Title IX claim, and "it is in the public interest to allow [Grimm] ... to use the male restrooms at Gloucester High School."

Regarding the Pennsylvania case mentioned by Tedesco, the DoJ claims that "[t]he district court's reasoning in that case was faulty and should not be followed."

One Gloucester County School Board member who voted against the December bathroom policy fretted that "federal dollars are at stake." Her concern was well-founded: five months later, the Obama administration threatened to deny Virginia's Fairfax County School Board $42 million in federal funding if the board refused to change its own bathroom protocols.  The Fairfax board ruled in May – over the strenuous objections of parents in attendance – that "transgender" students could use facilities in accordance with their "gender identity."

"Although certain parents and community members may object to students sharing a common use restroom with transgender students," the DoJ declared in its brief for Grimm, "any recognition of this discomfort as a basis for discriminating would undermine the public interest."

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"There are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family," said Bishop Strickland.
Lisa Bourne

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Bishop to all mass-goers: Catholics have ‘duty’ to ‘emphatically oppose’ marriage ruling

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – All mass-goers this weekend in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas will hear a clear reminder from their bishop about what marriage is, regardless of last Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“Let me unambiguously state at the outset that this extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it,” Bishop Joseph Strickland wrote in a statement that will be read after Sunday’s Gospel throughout the diocese.

“In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family.” 

“Regardless of this decision,” the bishop said, “what God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.”

Bishop Strickland explains in his letter that marriage was created by God and passed down through history via the Church.

“Marriage is not just a relationship between human beings that is based on emotions and feelings,” he said. “Rather, our Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions tell us that God established true marriage with its own special nature and purpose, namely the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.”

Bishop Strickland also reminded the faithful that unjust discrimination against individuals with homosexual tendencies is to be avoided, and that they must be treated with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons.

He also said that while Christ rejects no one, he calls all people to be converted from sinful inclinations.

“Nevertheless,” the bishop stated, “our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.”

In his message Bishop Strickland also cautioned against compromising on the Church’s teaching on sexual morality in situations where loved ones suffer from same-sex attraction.

“While some of us may have family members who have same-sex attraction,” he said, “this decision to require the legal recognition of so-called marriage between homosexual persons should in no way lead us to believe that the living out of this orientation or the solemnizing of relationships between two persons of the same sex is a morally acceptable option.”

The bishop plans to decree that no clergy member or of employee of the Tyler diocese may take part in solemnizing or consecrating same-sex “marriages,” and likewise no diocesan property, facility or any location designated for Catholic worship may be used for a same-sex “marriage.”

Bishop Strickland said it was his responsibility as a shepherd of the Church to act, and he called for prayer for the country to come to a greater understanding marriage as revealed by God. He said as well that it was necessary to faithfully oppose the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law. 

“We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience” Bishop Strickland stated, “thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.”

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