Europe, Strasbourg

On March 12, the European Parliament approved a resolution calling for the legalization of abortion throughout Europe. It was adopted by a vote of 146 to 60.

A similar resolution was passed in 1982. At the moment resolutions such as these have no binding force on the members of the European Community, but they do exert pressure on parliamentarians in general. They may also become precedent setting if eve the European parliament acquires wider powers.

Great Britain

In April the pro-life movement suffered a double defeat in Parliament. On April 23, MPs voted by a large majority to reduce the upper time limit for abortion from 28 to 24 weeks, but then also decided to allow no time limit for abortion where the pre-born baby is seriously handicapped.

On the previous day, MPs voted to permit research on the human embryo up to 14 days after fertilization. Observed Mr. Keith Davies, coordinator of the national campaign against research on embryos: “The decision will push us down the slippery slope that leads to eugenic breeding and genetic manipulation.”

The Catholic Bishops condemned the measure in no uncertain terms. They also expressed doubt whether the 14-day limit would long be retained. The new law, they said, will encourage the tendency to judge early life by the criterion of quality control.

In a statement on behalf of the3 Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Basil Hume said the bishops were “appalled by what these decisions revealed about the nations’ moral stance.”

Discrimination against pro-life doctors

The London Catholic Herald quoted Dr. Ian Jessiman, chairman of the Catholic Joint Ethics and Medical Committee, as saying that obstetrics and gynecology are “practically closed shops” for pro-life doctors.

Nora McCarthy, president of the Catholic Nurses Guild, said that Catholic nurses are essentially prevented from entering the ob-gyn field if they will not participate in abortions.

Roy Cunningham assistant director of the Department of Health, said his office has received many complaints from Catholic health workers charging that their employment and promotion opportunities had been hampered because of their unwillingness to participate in the abortion business.

United Nations Vatican signs UN Convention

The Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations, Archbishop Renato P. Martino, signed UNICEF’s controversial Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

The Vatican’s approval was qualified by a “declaration” emphasizing that the reference to protection of the child “before as well as after birth” in the Preamble gives the necessary “perspective” for interpreting the document.

However, individual governments who adhere to the Convention may declare the Preamble not legally binding. It is because of this option that some pro-life groups had opposed the Convention (See “New UN Convention a threat to Canadians,” The Interim, Sept. 1989).

The Vatican also expressed “reservations” regarding other sections, including those which deal with family planning and the rights of parents. But it viewed the convention as so important that it decided to sign quickly. Archbishop Martino stated. The Convention, he said, represents the “minimum grounds,” but it is not a document giving full satisfaction. Sources International Right to Life, (IRLF) Newsletter, Spring 1990; The Tablet, may 5; The Wanderer, May 31)

Oppression in China

The one-baby-a-family ideal was sold to China’s totalitarian regime by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) over 20 years ago. Being the kind of government it is, the regime has pursued the policy ruthlessly ever since, to the point of simply abducting pregnant women from their homes and forcibly aborting their babies no matter what the length of the pregnancy.

Recently Beijing’s China News Service reported that millions of young Chinese men cannot find brides and that this situation will worsen in years to come.

“[A] 1987, investigation,” stated the agency, “highlighted the fact that there were 13.7 million more men than women within the ages of 0-19 years. A lot of men in rural areas…will be without a mate in 20 years time.

The Reuter report (June 7, 1990), appearing in the Times-Transcript noted that the News Service “did not give any reason for the serious imbalance in the sex nation.