Category archives: Human Rights

Trampling on the UN’s Noble Heritage

by Travis Weber, J.D., LL.M.

June 9, 2014

On October 24, 1945, the nations of the world rose from the ashes of the Holocaust to come together in the United Nations, in part to ensure that individual human rights were protected across national borders in the face of tyrannical governments, and that such genocide as had been perpetrated by the Nazis would not happen again. Coming out of the Holocaust, the United Nations and its treaty and human rights framework naturally focused heavily on the freedom of the individual to their religion and political activity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Genocide Convention, and later the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights all focused on the individual and the individual’s civil liberties — a focus which has served as the building block for Western Civilization’s rich cultural heritage and its prosperous economies.

The United States was a leader in many of these developments. Yet in 2014, the United States finds itself in the position of having nominated an individual to be its representative to the UN’s Committee Against Torture — Felice Gaer — who openly tramples on the very rights on which the United Nations was founded. Ms. Gaer recently told the Holy See’s UN representative reporting on Vatican compliance with the Torture Convention that the Holy See was coming dangerously close to committing torture merely through its positions on abortion. Much of this was apparently driven by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which sent a letter — itself misrepresenting basic principles of international law in furtherance of its own agenda — to the UN committee overseeing implementation of Torture Convention. The flawed reasoning of this letter was then propagated upon the international scene via the Committee Against Torture.

Ms. Gaer previously served as the chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, in which capacity she said that “the right [to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion] includes the freedom of every person to hold, or not to hold, any religion or belief, and to manifest his or her religion or belief either individually or in community with others.” She appears to now be directly contradicting her own views in her statement to the Holy See. More likely, she is losing a sense of proportion and reality. Representatives to such UN committees are supposed to objectively monitor country compliance with the treaties signed by those countries, in accordance with the plain meaning of the treaty, while respecting countries’ declarations and reservations — and NOT take words with an obvious meaning, twist them into something nonsensical, and ramrod them down a signatory country’s throat, all while demonstrating a blatant disregard for a country’s reservations and express conditions for its submission to a treaty’s authority.

Thankfully, the Vatican has struck back, noting that contrary to the view that regulation of abortion could constitute “torture,” the practice of late-term abortion is a much more obvious example of torture. In addition, several UN committee members have clarified they hold a more reasoned position than Ms. Gaer. Nevertheless, it’s troubling that the U.S. representative’s extreme views are being moderated by non-U.S. representatives to the committee. The United States has historically held a very grounded position with regard to international human rights. Though it has already shown cracks and signs of change, Ms. Gaer should not be permitted to further smear that position on the world stage.

In the Fight for Life: NAACP v. Radiance Foundation

by Lela Mayfield

May 1, 2014

This week, the media have been focused on Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his recent (highly racist) remarks caught on tape by his girlfriend. As the account goes, Sterling is now banned for life from the NBA and may have his ownership of the team revoked.

Until this unseemly incident, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) planned to award Sterling with the “Lifetime Achievement Award.” This is an interesting situation for two reasons; according to a recent Time Magazine interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who used to work for Sterling) this rant was actually nothing new for him, and if Sterling has indeed had a history of vocalizing his racism, then why would the NAACP award this man with a “Lifetime Achievement Award?”  Is it really possible that no one else on the award committee knew of his history of distasteful rhetoric?

The other reason that this is quite an intriguing scenario is that the NAACP is ensnared in another situation that has not seen the light of day in the mainstream media. I’m referring to the lawsuit brought by the NAACP against the Radiance Foundation.

The Radiance Foundation is a Christian pro-life organization founded and run by Ryan and Bethany Bomberger. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about not only abortion, but the importance of fathers and adoption and also to show the disproportionate trends of abortion in the black community and its lasting impacts.

The Real Controversy…

Last year, Ryan Bomberger wrote an article detailing the support that the NAACP has given to Planned Parenthood. In the article he parodied the NAACP acronym by saying the acronym should stand for the National Association for the Abortion of Colored People. Given the NAACP’s avid support for and laud of Planned Parenthood, he’s not incorrect. After receiving a Google alert about the article, the NAACP then sued Bomberger (who is also black) for misleading the public and trademark infringement. The 4th Circuit judge has ruled in favor of the NAACP.

The Irony…

How can the NAACP justify almost giving an award to a man who has had a history of racism, but sue a man who is only seeking to defend and support millions of black children in the womb? But I suppose this really shouldn’t come as a surprise given the NAACP’s history of praise for an organization (Planned Parenthood) completely anathema to the main purpose of the Association, the Advancement of Colored People. One really starts to wonder the motives of the NAACP. Contemplating giving an award to a known racist, and praising an organization started by a known eugenicist, while then suing a man who seeks to defend the lives of millions of black children, is all quite confusing and contrary to the initial purpose of the NAACP.  What would Dr. King say today? It makes little sense for a group created to assist and support people of color to attack a pro-life ministry working to save the lives of millions of these very same people. 

Another Maternal RU-486 Fatality - This Time in Ital

by Chris Gacek

April 21, 2014

The Family Research Council has tracked safety news about the abortion drug, mifepristone (RU-486; also, Mifeprex®), since its approval as an abortifacient in 2000 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is with sadness that we learned on April 11 of another fatality from the use of the RU-486 abortion regimen. (RU-486 is the first drug administered in a two-drug abortion-producing regimen in which the second drug is misoprostol (Cytotec®).)

An Italian news source (The Local) carried an online article about the death of a 37-year-old woman who was treated at theMartiniHospital inTurin. The woman had taken the mifepristone but only started to experience difficulties four hours after taking the misoprostol – which she did two days after taking the first pills. The misoprostol is needed to induce forceful uterine contractions to expel the dead baby (a human embryo at that point) and other tissue from the uterus.

After taking the misoprostol, she complained of not being able to breathe normally. Shortly, thereafter, she began to experience atrial fibrillation, an irregular, rapid heartbeat. Her heart then stopped and could not be revived. She was in good health and the mother of a four-year-old boy.

I believe there have been about 15 cases of death following the use of the mifepristone abortion regime of which we are aware. Nations likeChinaare not even on the adverse event reporting grid, and the drug is used heavily in the PRC. Hemorrhage, infection, and incomplete abortions are common failures of all chemical abortion regimens.

LifeNews has posted an excellent story on this Italian death that contains more information on the safety of RU-486. Also, in May 2012 the Family Research Council published a paper containing a safety profile for the mifepristone-misoprostol regimen from 2000-12.

Chinese Woman Speaks Out: “It is better to be a criminal in China than a pregnant mother”

by Arina Grossu

April 16, 2014

Steven Mosher from the Population Research Institute recently received this anonymous letter from a grieving mother in China who said, “It is better to be a criminal in China than a pregnant mother.”

She went on to talk about the discrimination against women that takes place if a woman has an “illegal” child in violation of the one-child policy. A woman who simply wants to be a mother is treated worse than a criminal:

•She is not allowed to apply for a job without a “Family Planning Certificate” proving that she does not have any “illegal” children, whereas a released criminal can.

• In some cities, the Family Planning Bureau operates outside the law and can illegally arrest and detain without an arrest warrant. The Family Planning Bureau is not authorized to carry out such arrests but it does so anyway. Criminals do not go through this injustice.

•She cannot take legal action because no people’s court will handle cases involving family planning issues.

•She is not allowed to hire an attorney although by law she has that right and criminals enjoy that right.

•She is forced to pay 20 or 30 Yuan a night in prison awaiting trial, although by law a suspected criminal pays nothing.

•The law protects the unborn child of a criminal, even if that criminal has been sentenced to death. The authorities wait until the child has been born before carrying out the sentence. A pregnant woman with an “illegal” child does not have such legal protection.

•Criminals are permitted to communicate with their family. On the other hand, a pregnant woman and her family members can be held incommunicado by the Family Planning Bureau indefinitely.

•If a woman and her family are unable to pay the fine for conceiving an illegal child, the child will be forcibly aborted or, if born, will be sold. She can also be forcibly sterilized.

It is a tragedy that pregnant women whose only “crime” is wanting to keep their children are treated so inhumanely in China. If a woman is too poor to pay a fine for having more than one child, she is subjected to cruel treatment that destroys the life of both the mother and her child. Even criminals have more rights in China than pregnant women. To read the full letter go to Population Research Institute.

New Video: 45 Birthdays

by Carrie Russell

January 9, 2014

16,000 lives are saved each year when a mother views the ultrasound of her unborn child at a Pregnancy Resource Center. This means that, thanks to these ultrasounds, there are 45 birthdays being celebrated everyday.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.): ‘There is a law prohibiting the federal funding of abortions, but it is being done anyway’

by Bethany Brock

December 6, 2013

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to respond to the on-demand abortions found in Obamacare exchange healthcare plans in spite of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion.

The president made a promise that he would adhere to the Hyde principle, and that means that you do not fund even a plan that includes abortion,” said the Representative.

Federal funding of Obamacare for healthcare plans that include abortions overrides the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), an amendment that Smith helped pass in 1983. FEHB states that the Office of Personal Management (OPM) cannot administer any plan that includes abortion, except in very limited cases. 

OPM has no choice but to obey the clear letter of the law.  That’s not what they’ve done,” Smith said.

There are 112 Obamacare plans that are offered to all of our Congressional staff in Washington and across the country and to members of Congress. Ninety percent of them, 103 of those plans out of 112, fund abortion on demand.”

Smith explained, “Those federal tax dollars will be going into forms of subsidies that will be buying these plans that include abortion on demand. It is outrageous in the extreme. There is a law prohibiting the federal funding of abortions, but it is being done anyway.”

He continued, “It is very difficult when you have a lawless president, executive branch, attorney general, and a justice department that is absolutely willing and complacent in the lawlessness to enforce federal statutes.

I’ve been in Congress 33 years and have never felt that our executive branch was out of control like this.” Smith said that even in past administrations there was always a sense that the rule of law was being adhered to. “Not so with these folk in the White House and our President. They do whatever they want. They break the law with impunity and this is a classic example.”

Smith recently introduced H.R. 7, a bill that proposes to completely remove abortion from Obamacare exchange plans and to repeal Obamacare. “We need to pass that and stay with that until it is the law of the land. I believe strongly and have voted repeatedly with the Republican leadership to repeal Obamacare itself.”

Click here to listen to the entire interview.

The frosting can’t cover it up

by Family Research Council

October 17, 2013

Yesterday Planned Parenthood wished itself a Happy 97th Birthday. Its Facebook page and Twitter feed featured the image of a single candle, atop a frosted and sprinkled cupcake, with the following words: “97 years ago the first Planned Parenthood clinic opened in Brooklyn,New York. Today, we celebrate the 3 million patients that come to us every year for high-quality, affordable health care.”

The American Life League took the meme head-on, with a counter-candle and a counterfactual of its own: “Planned Parenthood is celebrating its 97th birthday. But the 6,300,000 babies aborted in its facilities won’t even have one.”

Predictably, Twitter lit up in loud, 140-character disagreements on the subject. Such disagreement isn’t surprising. Our nation remains deeply divided on the merits of the Planned Parenthood business, but there’s quite a bit going on below the frosting-fight.

So, before you take a bite out of that cupcake, or even fling frosting at “the other side,” here are a few things to consider about Planned Parenthood:

  • Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education. It uses millions of taxpayer dollars to create explicit books, videos, social media pages, curriculum and campaigns that promote sexual experimentation which leads to an increased need for contraception and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment.” (Source: Alliance Defending Freedom)
  • [I]n 2010 Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed 329,445 abortions. In 2009, the number of abortions was 332,278 and in 2008 the number was 324,008. The Guttmacher Institute (originally founded to be the research arm of Planned Parenthood but later becoming an independent body) reports that the total number of abortions in the United States in 2008 was 1,210,000. Therefore in 2008, PPFA provided approximately 27 percent of abortions in the United States.” (Source: America’s Abortion Provider: What Everyone Should Know About Planned Parenthood)
  • According to estimates, a first trimester non-subsidized abortion costs approximately $550. As reported in their 2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions, yielding approximately $181,000,000 in revenue—solely from abortions performed that year. In contrast, Planned Parenthood made 841 adoption referrals in 2010… In the annual report for fiscal year 2010, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of 18.5 million dollars… PPFA’s 2010 annual report indicates that it received approximately 46 percent of its income from federal, state and local government grants and contracts. In other words, taxpayer dollars fund nearly half of PPFA’s budget. In 2010, $487,400,000 was paid to PPFA by the government. Another $233,800,000 of PPFA’s budget came from contributions and gifts.” (Source: America’s Abortion Provider: What Everyone Should Know About Planned Parenthood)
  • Planned Parenthood keeps medical standards low to keep overhead low. This puts women at risk. Hundreds of medical complaints have been filed against the organization, and many women have suffered botched abortions or died because of their practices. Medical citations include: non-medical personnel performing medical functions, failing to disinfect and remove blood stains from tables between abortions, using abortion pills after their expiration date, reusing unsanitary sponges to clean instruments, allowing fetal matter and frozen blood to build up on freezers.” (Source: Alliance Defending Freedom)

That is just the beginning. We haven’t even begun to discuss the psychological, emotional, and physical trauma that many a woman faces after trusting Planned Parenthood with the life-altering decision to abort her child.

There is a better way to help women. “A Passion to Serve” illustrates that reality.

If you, or someone you know, are facing a difficult, unexpected pregnancy, there are thousands of people who are prepared to help you. People are reading and waiting to take your phone call.

Don’t get fooled by the pretty little cupcake. There’s so much hiding under the frosting.

Their Blood Cries Out

by Family Research Council

September 30, 2013

Washington Post opinion writer Colbert King has noted the lack of concern surrounding the heartbreaking recent attacks on Christians in Nigeria and other places in the developing world.  In the name of Islam, members of groups such as Boko Haram have mercilessly attacked innocents for the crime of following Jesus or simply not knowing the name of Mohammed’s mother.

King is no conservative, but he is a man of conscience who is disgusted by his journalist colleagues’ failure to report the massive and persistent attacks professing Christians experience in country after country. It is not in vogue to talk about Christians dying.  To the contrary, even our National Park Service has gone out of their way to note the supposedly wonderful position that Islam grants to women.

The blood of martyrs spills across the globe daily. Any kind of religious persecution, including that which is directed against Muslims (often by other Muslims).

Too often, the face of the Islamic martyr is that of a deceived young man pulling the trigger of a gun in the face of innocents at a mall. The face of the Christian martyr is that of men, women, and children fleeing a bloodthirsty hate. Suicide bombers kill so regularly across the Muslim world that it barely passes for news. Often their target is Christians. King Théoden in the Lord of the Rings trilogy asked the question “What can men do against such reckless hate?”  For LOTR aficionados the reply from Aragorn is one of the epic lines in the movie “Ride out and meet them.” Aragorn quickly adds, not for death and glory, but “for your people.

Death is not something that should be lauded. Muslim “martyrs” around the world are murdering in the name of Islam. They seek death and glory. We as Christians must be aware of our “people” who are dying, advocate and pray for them and support groups ministering to them. As we face the evil of a lost world let us remember our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us stand up for them in every way possible. But let us not forget the Scriptural injunction to pray for our enemies. Pray for those who are evil, that the great Gospel of Christ may penetrate the lost souls of these ravaging lions and turn them into lambs of Christ.

They Should be Blushing Crimson at the U of Alabama

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 19, 2013

This week’s story out of the University of Alabama about what apparently are racially segregated sororities and fraternities at that institution has left this bona fide and perhaps naive Yankee a bit stunned. The Crimson Tide’s “Greek system remains segregated,” according to university president Dr. Judy L. Bonner. News reports note that pressure to keep the Greeks segregated comes, in part, from alumni. Many of them are, one can assume, parents of the current pledges.

In the era of “The Blind Side” and the presidency of a man of color, the notion that this kind of thing could happen seems remarkable. Yet old bigotries die hard, old stereotypes are difficult to break, and old ignorance resists the freshness of truth.

Racism is a sin against God: “The God who made the world and all things in it … He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:24-28). If every human being is made in the image and likeness of his or her Creator, every person possesses the dignity of equal and great value before Him. Unless the dictionary recently has been creatively edited, “every” is an encompassing term, inclusive of all of that to which it refers.

Every square has edges. Every beach has water. And every race and ethnicity is equally loved and prized by the Lord of the universe.

Racism is also unpatriotic at the most fundamental level. Abraham Lincoln called human equality “the central idea” of the American republic: Our Creator has endowed each individual with rights from which he or she, by virtue of being human, cannot be alienated. This argument animated the Revolution, the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. Profoundly unrealized for generations of slaves and imperfectly realized for many of their ancestors and others, it remains our country’s salient contribution to the eternal contest for human dignity. It is what makes, or should make, us proud to be Americans.

The idea that some students are being denied entry into a university’s Greek system because of race should be repulsive to every citizen of our country and, for Christians, lead to a renewed commitment to pursue racial reconciliation. Either Jesus truly loves all the little children of the world, or the Bible is a lie. Since it’s not, let’s better live it out.

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