Tag Archives: human rights

Taking heartfelt action for God’s littlest citizens

Everyday in America abortionists legally end the lives of 3,000 innocent children. They’re children with beating hearts, moving arms and legs, and newly formed faces and toes. They are precious in God’s eyes and have the right to our love and care. Yet instead of being welcomed into this world, they are destroyed.

This isn’t health care. This isn’t female empowerment. And certainly, this isn’t a “right.” In fact, it’s the greatest human rights abuse of our time. Yet many have embraced abortion as all these things.

Since founding Live Action — one of the nation’s leading pro-life organizations — when I was 15, I’ve seen countless times that when we expose the truth about abortion, we break apart these lies. When we shine a light into the darkness, we can change hearts and minds.

Through compelling educational media, human interest stories, and investigative reporting, Live Action exposes the abortion industry’s lies and its exploitation of women and children for profit. We also reveal the unquestionable humanity of the preborn child and the brutal reality of abortion, and we tell uplifting stories about people who choose life even in the toughest of circumstances.

In our most recent investigative report, “Aiding Abusers,” we collected court documents, police reports, and the testimonies of former employees who reveal that Planned Parenthood — a celebrated “Me Too” movement supporter and self-proclaimed advocate for women — has for decades refused to report men who sexually abuse 12- and 13-year-old girls, then bring them to Planned Parenthood for abortions to cover up their crimes.

The report led Congress in June to call for a federal investigation, which could help build the case for ending the abortion chain’s taxpayer funding. Since Planned Parenthood gets nearly half of its budget from taxpayers, defunding would be a huge step in crippling its abortion business — a business that kills over 320,000 preborn children every year.

Another tool in the abortion fight has been our “Abortion Procedures” online video series. The short four-minute videos feature a former abortionist using medical animations to show what happens to a baby and mother during the four most common abortion procedures.

To test their effectiveness, we showed the videos to 500 “pro-choice” millennial women and asked them their attitudes about abortion before and after watching. The results were astonishing. Almost a third viewed abortion less favorably afterwards. And nearly half said the videos were so eye-opening that they should be shown in high school sex education classes.

“Abortion Procedures” has become the most-watched pro-life series in history, reaching nearly 100 million views online with translations in Romanian, Spanish, German, Chinese, and several other languages. Because of their success, Live Action is working to put these videos in front of every American.

“Aiding Abusers” and “Abortion Procedures” are just two ways we are trying to change hearts and minds. While laws need to change, attitudes must change first to create a culture that respects life. Then the laws will follow.

Live Action has the largest and most engaged online following in the pro-life movement — with three million followers sharing our content with their friends to reach millions more. Live Action and its followers work together to educate, inspire, and activate others to make abortion as unthinkable as other human rights abuses like slavery, human trafficking, and genocide.

By shining the light of truth into the darkness using the power of storytelling, and by using the power of our followers to share this truth with others, we are spreading the pro-life message throughout the nation in an effort to end abortion in our lifetime.

 

LILA ROSE is a featured speaker at the upcoming Legatus 2019 Summit. She is the president and founder of the national pro-life organization Live Action. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Demographic disaster

China’s new two-child policy is less than a year old, but won’t stem the rising tide of human rights abuses despite the Vatican’s diplomatic efforts

Steven Mosher

Steven Mosher

It can be tempting to see China allowing married couples to now have two children as a positive step on the path to greater personal liberty, but Steven Mosher takes a more jaundiced view.

“What’s happened is that the Chinese Communist Party has decided to increase the production of babies, just like it decides to increase the production of tanks and guided missile destroyers,” said Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, a Virginia-based nonprofit that challenges global overpopulation theories and spotlights human rights abuses in population control programs.

Forced abortions

A member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter, Mosher was the first American social scientist to visit Communist China in 1979. Under the aegis of the one-child policy, Mosher saw Chinese women taken into custody and forced to have abortions. Almost 40 years later, he argues, China has not abandoned its underlying philosophy that the state — not people — controls human reproduction. He envisions a future where the Chinese government may even force couples to have children against their will.

“That sounds bizarre, doesn’t it?” Mosher asked. “But is the planned birth policy anything other than taking from parents the natural right to decide the number of children they will raise and putting it in the hands of a government agency?”

China’s new two-child policy took effect on Jan. 1, 2016. Official state media reported the pending change last year as communist authorities sought to address some troubling demographic trends in the nation of 1.4 billion people.

China’s population is aging. According to United Nations estimates, the over-60 population will more than double to 437 million by 2050. At the same time, the national workforce is shrinking, and it is expected to continue falling for the next 15 years. Meanwhile, its one-child policy over 40 years has created a crippling imbalance in the numbers of Chinese men and women because many couples chose to abort female babies to raise boys who could be wage earners.

Reggie Littlejohn

Reggie Littlejohn

“The Chinese Communist Party has created for itself a demographic disaster with its one-child policy,” said Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a coalition of human rights activists and organizations that lobby against forced abortions, gendercide and sexual slavery in China. The nonprofit works to save baby girls in China with its Save A Girl campaign.

Littlejohn, who received Legatus’ Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award in 2014, said Women’s Rights Without Frontiers recently filed a complaint against China with the United Nations, alleging continued coercion and human rights abuses under the new two-child policy. The complaint notes several recent examples, including the story of a Guangdong couple who had been warned by authorities to abort their unborn child or lose their government jobs. The wife was eight months pregnant, according to state media reports.

“The Chinese Communist Party never said they were ending forced abortions or forced sterilizations. The two-child policy is their way to address the demographic disaster while keeping control over the population,” said Littlejohn, who quoted blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. On Twitter, Guangcheng said China previously killed any couple’s second child.

“Now, they will kill any baby after two,” Littlejohn said. “In China, they boast that more than 400 million lives have been prevented by abortion because of the one-child policy. This is a massive problem. When you realize that one-fifth of the world’s population lives under this policy, this is the biggest human rights and women’s issue in the world today.”

Vatican-China relations

China’s amended controlled-birth policy is taking effect as the Chinese Communist Party and the Holy See hold talks on establishing diplomatic relations, which were severed in 1951. Pope Francis has expressed a desire to visit China, and discussions have been ongoing for most of this year over some thorny issues that revolve around the authority to ordain bishops.

A few media reports have indicated that China and the Vatican may address those issues while establishing relations just short of full diplomatic ties, but Fr. Bernardo Cervellera, editor-in-chief of AsiaNews, the official press agency of the Roman Catholic Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, is not optimistic.

“There are dialogues and meetings, but the two parts remain in very different positions,” said Fr. Cervellera, who explained that the Vatican reserves the ultimate right to nominate and ordain bishops with a papal mandate and verify the positions of illicitly ordained bishops. On the other hand, Fr. Cervellera said, China is increasing its campaign to “sinicize” the Church in theology and in independence from Rome by insisting on the right to name bishops. China also wants the Vatican to accept its illicitly ordained bishops without any verification.

“The Vatican understands that China needs guarantees from the Church, and because of this, the Vatican agrees in the enrollment of priests and bishops by the State Administration of the Religious Affairs, which is a government bureau,” Fr. Cervellera explained. “But China wants the enrollment to happen through the Patriotic Association, which wants to build up an independent church — and that’s unacceptable for the Church’s doctrine.”

Further complicating the Vatican- Sino dialogue has been the Chinese government’s increasing pressure on religious communities, particularly Christians. Catholic bishops have been arrested and congregations harassed, intimidated and spied on. At least one Catholic prelate — Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai — is still under house arrest. Earlier this year a blog, purportedly written by Bishop Ma, surfaced where the bishop allegedly expressed regret for his statements four years ago when he disassociated himself from the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

Bishop Ma has been a heroic figure for Chinese Catholics in the outlawed underground Church, which meets secretly in homes and declares allegiance to the Pope. Those in the underground Church are unlikely to enroll in the Patriotic Association if the Vatican agreed to that condition. Father Cervellera said Vatican- Sino dialogue could further fracture the Church in China.

Stalemate?

Catholics receive Holy Communion during Mass in Beijing

Catholics receive Holy Communion during Mass in Beijing

Nathan Faries, an Asian studies professor at Bates College and author of The Inscrutably Chinese Church: How Narratives and Nationalism Continue to Divide Christianity, said Pope Francis might visit China, but added that the Catholic Church will still be under strict government control for the foreseeable future.

“The deal will not be an amazing game-changer; it will not be the death knell for the Chinese Communist Party,” Faries said.

“The CCP will maintain control over the Christians as much as it needs to. Some underground Churches in China will feel encouraged. The psychological effect will be great. There might be some openness and some less local persecution, but there will not suddenly be no underground, no sudden open-handed policy from the government. The palpable visible transformation will be miniscule.”

Meanwhile, Mosher warns against having diplomatic relations for the sake of diplomacy. He is also concerned for the countless heroic Catholics in the underground Church who have undergone persecution and martyrdom for their fidelity. He also noted recent studies that show millions of new Chinese converts to Christianity.

“People are tired of the spiritual emptiness of communism, economic reforms and the pursuit of material goods,” Mosher said. “They are longing and searching for the truth, for meaning in what is man and what is God. The Church should be there to answer those questions without getting too cozy with a communist government that has different goals in mind for getting people to heaven.”

BRIAN FARGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Learn more: pop.orgwomensrightswithoutfrontiers.org

The fight for life at the United Nations

Sixty years ago South American delegates to the body that created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights tried to get explicit protection from abortion for the unborn child. The Soviet Union tried to get a universal right to abortion. Both failed. The compromise language says: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” To you and me that certainly looks like a prohibition on abortion, but that is not how it’s interpreted by the powers-that-be at the United Nations and in many places around the world.

This year the U.N. celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration, one of the founding documents of the U.N. and the modern human rights movement. It was negotiated in the shadow of the Nazi holocaust. The document was heavily influenced by Catholic thinkers like Jacques Maritain and also by those delegations of faithful Catholics from Latin America.

It is a good document, expressing essential Catholic teachings of the freedom and dignity of the human person: freedom of conscience, freedom to worship and many other aspirations of every human heart — aspirations placed there by God Himself.

The Universal Declaration was used to great effect in the Cold War. American policy makers and freedom fighters on the ground around the world used it effectively to help those enslaved in the grip of Godless totalitarianism. We could use it as a tool in our day too, but sadly the lingua franca of human rights has been greatly devalued by the growth of phony rights.

Some years ago, during a U.N. negotiation, one of my staff members took a picture of a meeting. In the picture was a pro-abortion radical who represented the Girl Scouts at the U.N. She complained loudly that by taking her picture we violated her human rights. Such is the debasement of human rights.

Hearkening back to the founding argument, many have never given up on making abortion a universally recognized human right. At the U.N. level this is being led most notably by the European Union, along with their allies in the U.N. agencies and U.N. bureaucracy. Over the years they have tried to get an explicit right to abortion in various U.N. documents. They have failed because they have been stopped by a coalition of U.N. member states and non-governmental organizations such as my own, the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). But they are sneaky and sly. Though they have lost these debates, they have found a way to advance their cause far from the democratic process.

The U.N. has committees called treaty monitoring bodies. When a government ratifies a treaty, they must explain to one of these committees how they are implementing the treaty. These treaty bodies have highly limited power to ask questions and write reports. What they have done — like bureaucrats everywhere — is grab more power. They have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret these treaties in more and more radical ways and then to try and impose this new interpretation onto sovereign states. Keep in mind that these treaty monitoring bodies are made up of unelected radicals unconnected to sovereign states. They are mostly academics and representatives of radical pro-abortion groups.

The treaty monitoring body of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, one of the implementing treaties of the Universal Declaration, has interpreted that treaty as including the right to abortion. That’s right — the right to life passage in that treaty is now interpreted as guaranteeing a right to abortion! The major treaty monitoring bodies routinely find a right to abortion in everything.

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights hits 60 years old in December, there will be celebrations galore. A few months ago we noticed that a group called Marie Stopes International was running a petition campaign asking the U.N. to formally interpret the Universal Declaration as including a right to abortion. Marie Stopes is a British group which, like International Planned Parenthood Federation, is one of the world’s largest and richest abortion providers.

We noticed something else about their campaign. Their petition drive had been running for a year and had only gotten a few hundred signatures! We reported on this in our organization’s weekly Friday Fax report, which goes to nearly 100,000 people all over the world. Marie Stopes was shamed into taking their failed campaign down.

We decided to do something else. We launched a campaign of our own. Our petition asks governments to begin interpreting the Universal Declaration as protecting the unborn child from abortion and also protecting the traditional family, which the Declaration defines as between one man and one woman. We are at nearly 170,000 signatories from all over the world after only a few weeks. We could go to 200,000, maybe more. The petition has been translated into 12 languages and is rapidly circling the globe.

A coalition of 12 groups from around the world will present our petition in the official U.N. press briefing room at 11 a.m. on Dec. 10. The truth always will out.

Austin Ruse is president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), the only pro-life group working exclusively on pro-life issues at the U.N. He has spoken to many Legatus chapters and several times at Summits. He welcomes your comments at austinruse@c-fam.org.