The National Post had a major feature entitled “When two is too many” that examined so-called “selective reduction” in pregnancies involving twins. The phenomenon of reducing the number of children in utero through targeted abortion has been common-place for multiples but there has been very little mention of the phenomenon among women expecting twins … In an interview with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge, Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterated his long-held position that he did not want to re-open the abortion debate: “Look, Peter, I have spent my political career trying to stay out of that issue.” He continued: “It’s one on which people, including in my own party, have passionate views. They’re all over the map. And you know, what I say to people, as you know, many people I know are pro-life. What I say to people, if you want to diminish the number of abortions, you’ve got to change hearts and not laws. And I’m not interested in having a debate over abortion law” … The Liberal Party has condemned Stephen Harper for allegedly breaking 145 promises including not “regulating abortion.” The 18-page document presented by MP Mark Holland (Ajax-Pickering) stated: “The Conservative government further isolated Canada from the rest of the developed world and breaking with 25 years of Canadian tradition through its refusal to include the full range of family planning options in its maternal and infant health initiative” … Quebec entrepreneur Anne Marie Loisque will launch an English version of her pornography channel, Vanessa TV, this fall throughout the rest of Canada. Vanessa TV was first licensed by the CRTC in April 2010 and debuted in October of the same year

United States

Personhood USA has met its goal in establishing “personhood efforts” in all 50 states. So far, over 919,000 signatures have been collected on petitions that urge state governments declare unborn children legal persons … A new report indicating 41 per cent of pregnancies in New York end in abortion has inspired the Chiaroscuro Foundation to launch a campaign to lower the city’s abortion rate. “Like it or not, the legality of abortion is a settled question in New York for the time being,” said executive director Greg Pfundstein. “That doesn’t mean we have to accept the fact that in parts of the city nearly half of all pregnancies end in abortion.” Among blacks in New York, the abortion rate is 60 per cent … In a column marking the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn challenges advocates of “choice”  to answer the question: “Are babies better than abortions?” …  Planned Parenthood Federation of America has announced that all 85 regions and affiliates of the organization must have at least one site that offers surgical abortion … Sargent Shriver passed away at the age of 96. Husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver (the founder of the Special Olympics and sister to John, Robert and Edward Kennedy) and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern’s running mate in 1972, Sargent Shriver was the last pro-life candidate on the Democratic ticket … The U.S. State Department will add the terms “parent 1” and “parent 2” to passport applications. According to the State Department web site, “These improvements are being made to provide a gender neutral description of a child’s parents and in recognition of different types of families.”

International briefs

Although western media have repeatedly reported that Red China is relaxing its One Child Policy, Yang Zhizhu, a law professor, was fined 240,000 Yuan (approximately $35,000)  by the Beijing family planning commission for having a second child. He is suing the local government saying that the “social maintenance fee” should not be enforced because, he argues, the Population and Family Planning Law technically encourages couples to have only one child but does not require it … The Associated Press reports that government figures show that China’s official abortion count increased from 7.6 million in 2007 to 9.2 million in 2008. The AP quotes Zhou Anqin, a manager at an abortion facility in Xi-an, who said:  “The moral outrage over having a child before marriage in our society is much stronger than the shame associated with abortion” … Japan’s population fell by 123,000 in 2010 due to a sub-replacement level birth rate. The country’s health ministry says those over 65 make up fully one quarter of the population which now stands at 125.77 million and is expected to drop to 101 million by 2050 … Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (Worker’s Party), who won the presidential election in October 2010 claiming she was pro-life despite previously supporting the legalization of abortion, was sworn in on Jan. 1. She appointed Iriny Lopes, a pro-abortion Chamber of Deputies representative, as Minister of Women’s Policies … Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal will hear a suit, brought forth by three gay couples and assisted by the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement, claiming a constitutional right to same-sex “marriage.”