Tag archives: foreign affairs

No, Amnesty International: Ukrainian Refugees Do Not Need Abortion

by Arielle Del Turco

April 27, 2022

Even as the world watches in shock and horror while the Russian military targets Ukrainian civilians, certain activists are taking advantage of global concern for Ukraine to push radical agendas. On March 17, the same day that survivors were being rescued from the wreckage of the Mariupol theater bombing, Amnesty International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation joined dozens of European organizations in signing a statement urging the countries helping Ukrainian refugees to prioritize—of all things—abortion.

The “Call to Action” recommends that European Union (EU) countries “take swift and effective measures to facilitate and support urgent access to early medical abortion” for refugees. It singles out Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia as countries with strong pro-life protections who are taking in Ukrainian refugees and calls on the EU to provide “urgent political support, guidance and technical assistance” to the governments of these countries “to facilitate the removal of legal and policy barriers that are impeding the provision of essential sexual and reproductive health care.”

While the Russian military continues to kill thousands in Ukraine, Amnesty International and Planned Parenthood are campaigning for more abortions, which will kill even more innocent Ukrainians.

The coercive tone taken by European activists is far from unusual. Many Western elites are quick to criticize Poland, Hungary, and other Central and Eastern European countries that, after gaining independence from the oppression of communist regimes, have worked to protect life in the womb. These same countries have been a shining example of hospitality to Ukrainian refugees; governments are taking unprecedented steps to welcome Ukrainians, and many citizens are opening their homes to refugees. These countries are the heroes in this story, but the Call to Action is treating them like villains because they value both women and unborn children.

The reality is that pregnant Ukrainian women and unborn children do need increased assistance. Within Ukraine, there has been a spike in premature births, and the stress of war is taking a physical toll on pregnant women. Some doctors have guided their patients through labor at home when fighting made it impossible to travel to the hospital. The difficulty for doctors to access certain medication or medical equipment also poses a risk to women and children’s well-being.

Thankfully, some are already working to support expectant mothers. Private organizations and even UN agencies are sending medical kits into Ukraine designed to help midwives support mothers giving birth. This is increasingly necessary, as births are often taking place in homes, shelters, and other less-than-ideal situations. Even hospitals aren’t always safe; Russian forces have attacked over 100 hospitals and medical facilities. The bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol produced one of the war’s most striking images; it showed a pregnant woman on a stretcher gripping her bloodied belly as she was carried across rubble. Sadly, neither she nor her baby survived.

A writer for WIRED asserted that among Ukrainian women, “Pregnancies that were previously desired may no longer feel sustainable.” This view illustrates a failure to uphold human dignity. In times of war, the birth of a child is a sign of hope for the future. As Ukrainian Ivan Korol, whose baby girl was born in a bomb shelter this February, said, “Last night under the roar in Gostomei, my wife gave birth to me a daughter, like a star in the dark in such a difficult time!”

Indeed, pregnant Ukrainian women, whether they remain in the country or flee as refugees, are encountering many challenges that could not have been foreseen a few months ago. They need Western countries and NGOs to offer robust assistance—food, shelter, and medical attention—not pressure to kill their own children.

Amnesty International knows the gravity of the situation faced by Ukrainians. Their own investigators document allegations of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers. This is valuable work. However, it’s beyond comprehension that during these ongoing tragedies, Amnesty International and other European organizations that purport to care about human rights would seize the opportunity to criticize democratic countries over their social policy. Human rights groups should be focused on ensuring accountability for the many human rights violations Russia is committing in Ukraine, not pressuring other countries to violate the right to life.

Russia is bombing maternity hospitals—an act that is recognized as especially egregious because it kills both mothers and children. Our response should not double down on that death and destruction by encouraging mothers to kill their own unborn children. Rather, we should do everything in our power to save lives, including the most vulnerable lives—those in the womb.

Ukraine, Russia, and Who to Believe

by Arielle Del Turco , Joseph Backholm

April 4, 2022

Most people believe journalists will lie to them. According to Gallup, only 36 percent of Americans have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the media and there are lots of reasons why.

Most recently, the legacy media has finally decided to admit it really was Hunter Biden’s laptop found in a pawnshop loaded with incriminating information, including incriminating information about Joe Biden, just before the 2020 election. When the media partnered with the Biden campaign to claim it was Russian disinformation, they weren’t telling the truth.

They also told the nation a high school kid from Kentucky, Nick Sandmann, was racist because they didn’t like the look on his face, they said border patrol was whipping Haitian immigrants on horseback when they weren’t, and described riots they were sympathetic to as “fiery but mostly peaceful protests.” Big media has earned every bit of skepticism they receive.

As a result, many have viewed coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine skeptically. More than one month since the start of the unprovoked invasion, Russia has been brutal. Russian troops have attacked hospitals, including maternity hospitals, residential areas and apartment buildings, and refugee evacuation routes. A bombing of a Ukrainian theater where civilians were sheltering is estimated to have killed 300 people. Overwhelming public evidence and intelligence sources led Secretary of State Antony Blinken to officially declare that Russia is committing war crimes.

It is in situations like these that mistrust of the media can go too far. Rather than express shock and sympathy, there is almost a temptation to explain away the legacy media’s narrative. Some of us have become so cynical we assume everything we are being told is false. If they tell us Russia is the bad guy, they must be the good guy. If they tell us Ukraine is an innocent victim of a ruthless dictator, they must be the ruthless dictator.

We saw something similar, but different, happen recently when right-wing pundit Dave Rubin announced, along with his same-sex partner, that they are expecting two babies through surrogacy. In the past, Rubin tended to align more with the Left but developed an appreciation for the dangers of wokeness and stood up to the Left’s attempts to silence speech and punish those they disagree with. Upon his announcement, many conservatives, including professing social conservatives at Prager University and Glenn Beck’s Blaze TV, were quick to congratulate Rubin, apparently out of personal affection. It’s one thing to wish Dave Rubin well in life despite choices we disagree with—it’s another thing to celebrate decisions and developments we know to be wrong because the person doing the wrong thing is someone we generally like.

Which leads to the larger point.

As Christians, we must evaluate the truthfulness of a claim or the goodness of an action without regard to tribal identification or our personal feelings about the people involved. This is what the Apostle Peter refers to as being soberminded. We often think of sobriety as the opposite of drunkenness, but alcohol is not the only thing that can impair our mental capacity. Our emotions can be just as intoxicating. Peter warned us about the danger of emotional intoxication when he instructed us to, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Mental intoxication makes it easy for others to deceive us and makes it easy for us to deceive ourselves.

Sober-mindedness is an underrated yet important qualification for leadership in the church (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 2:2). Someone who determines what is true based on how they feel is poorly equipped to lead people, especially the people of God.  

In other contexts, we immediately recognize the folly of focusing more on the messenger than the message. One common, and appropriate, criticism of Critical Race Theory (CRT) is that it calls us to consider someone’s racial identity before we consider the merits of their arguments. CRT discounts the perspectives of white people because they are white and it elevates the perspectives of non-white people based on the belief that lived experience gives non-white people a prioritized perspective.

This is both an irrational and unbiblical way of evaluating information. It goes without saying that people of all skin pigmentations are capable of being right and wrong and it is their ability to think and reason that determines their credibility, not their skin color. In the same way, our personal feelings towards something must not sway an objective assessment of truth and reality. Of course, it’s possible we might grow to dislike people we know to be untrustworthy, but it will always be true that those we love can say something false just as someone we dislike can say something true. The truth is the truth, even if someone who has lied in the past says it. These days, we tend to focus on the identity of the people involved more than the claims themselves to our own demise.

All this is important to keep in mind as we consume information and take in perspectives.

Yes, the mainstream, legacy media has said a lot of things that weren’t true. A lot. But that does not mean everything they say is false. We should not allow our personal frustration with someone’s willingness to misrepresent the truth prevent us from always looking for the truth. It is critical that we approach the situation of Ukraine with sober-mindedness and discernment. We must avoid the trap of calling good evil and evil good based on distrust of the media.

If we find ourselves trying to ignore information we might otherwise believe because of who it would force us to agree with, we may be more focused on fighting personal or partisan battles than trying to find the truth. That’s a dangerous place to be.

Despite War, Progressive Priorities Remain Unchanged

by Joseph Backholm

March 18, 2022

Emergency situations often have the effect of rearranging our priorities. When horrible things happen—even if they happen in faraway places and don’t personally affect us—they can remind us of what is most important. Weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, it does not appear that the Left is spending much time engaging in self-reflection.

Modern progressivism is built on the belief that psychological safety is a fundamental right. As a result, it has sought to leverage the power of the government to protect people from ideas, people, or situations that would make them unhappy or uncomfortable. This is why, in the minds of many progressives, the possibility of people being called the “wrong” pronouns, for example, merits government intervention in the form of restrictive speech codes.

Ironically, the result of these ideological commitments is that the most prosperous, comfortable, and privileged people in human history are also some of the most ungrateful. One might think a war outbreak would provide some helpful—if not sobering—perspective. Families being torn apart could even make us grateful for our lesser problems, and images of real violence might motivate us to permanently abandon the silly suggestion that peaceful speech that expresses an unwanted or unpopular opinion is violence.

Sadly, this does not appear to be the case.

Only hours after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the head of British Intelligence took to Twitter to say, “With the tragedy and destruction unfolding so distressingly in Ukraine, we should remember the values and hard won freedoms that distinguish us from Putin, none more than LGBT+ rights.” It seems strange to be thinking about progressive gender ideology hours after a war breaks out. But evidently, virtue signaling was at the top of the to-do list for Britain’s top spy. Perhaps he was concerned the visibility of real victims might diminish the victim status of others?

That’s exactly what should happen.

A few days later, President Biden used the State of the Union to make sure people knew he had not forgotten the importance of identity politics. He lamented the “onslaught” of “anti-transgender” laws, referring to legislation in many states that would prevent the chemical and surgical castration of children who experience gender dysphoria.

Two days later, Vice President Kamala Harris likewise took a moment to show her support for the Equality Act, tweeting, “Let’s send the Equality Act to President Biden’s desk. We must increase protections for LGBTQ+ Americans across the country. The onslaught of state bills targeting transgender Americans and their families is wrong.” The Equality Act would, among other things, make sure men are allowed to participate in programs and opportunities previously reserved for women; anyone who dissents from these policies would be ineligible for government contracts or education funding.  

About the same time, CBS News ran a story expressing sadness that “Transgender acceptance in Ukraine is not widespread” and shared the concerns that a Ukrainian man who identifies as a woman would not be able to leave the country because men are being asked to stay and fight. For progressives in the media and those serving in Western governments, the point is clear: They will not let a war distract them from what they deem to be more important matters.

Still, the sexual revolution is not the only cause the war in Ukraine threatens to distract from. Their environmental agenda remain top of mind as well.

John Kerry, the former senator and secretary of state who currently serves as President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, expressed his hopes that Russia, despite their invasion of Ukraine, would “stay on track” with their commitments to combating climate change. Likewise, The Atlantic ran an article lamenting the environmental damage that would result from a nuclear war. 

These priorities are not merely academic. In fact, concerns over environmental impact appear to be driving the Biden administration’s reluctance to stop purchasing Russian energy. Officials don’t want to increase domestic production now for the same reasons they reduced domestic production in the first place. They believe reducing emissions is worth the cost, even if it is a human cost. As a result, they would rather send money to Russia during their invasion of Ukraine than abandon their emissions goals.

This tells us a lot about their worldview. Progressives aren’t going to let a war disrupt their efforts to help men pretend that they are women because they see the issues as similarly important. Likewise, they aren’t going to stop sending Russia money if it means increasing energy production because they see reducing carbon as a way of saving a life.

The universal condemnation of the Russian invasion shows us that there is still some moral common ground in the United States, but the Left’s continued prioritization of their policy agenda, even in the midst of a war, is revealing. If war does not inspire self-reflection, nothing will.

Guatemala Declared Pro-Life Capital of Latin America

by David Closson

March 11, 2022

The international pro-life movement achieved a significant victory this week in Guatemala. On Wednesday, March 9, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei celebrated the Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family (CIVF) proclaiming his nation the “pro-life capital of Latin America.” Joined by his cabinet, members of the Guatemalan Congress, religious leaders, and a large international delegation, Giammattei vowed to protect life from conception to natural death and promised to fight for families in his nation.

In conjunction with the ceremony, Giammattei also unveiled a monument in the presidential palace and declared that March 9 would henceforth be known as the National Day of Life in Guatemala.

Guatemala’s designation as the “pro-life capital of Latin America” comes at a pivotal time for the international pro-life movement, as many countries in the region are rethinking their abortion laws. For example, in early 2021, Argentina’s government legalized abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and in September 2021, Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down pro-life laws in two states. Most recently, in a February 21 ruling, Colombia’s high court legalized abortion through the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Thus, Guatemala’s decision to embrace and champion the pro-life values of its people is significant. Just this week, President Giammattei complained that countries like Guatemala often face pressure from the United States and other Western nations to expand legal abortion and adopt gender ideology as a condition of receiving certain forms of international aid and assistance. Giammattei’s decision to resist cultural imperialism is a remarkable display of courage. Last fall, he courageously added his country to the Geneva Consensus Declaration, joining 35 other countries in asserting that there is no international right to abortion and that abortion should never be promoted as a form of family planning. (Conversely, President Joe Biden withdrew the United States from the declaration in January 2021.)

In conjunction with the festivities at the palace, the Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family hosted the “International Summit of Pro-Life Organizations.” The summit brought together leaders from across Ibero-America as well as 75 representatives from pro-life organizations in the United States, including Family Research Council (FRC). These meetings were held alongside CIVF’s annual gathering of pro-family, pro-life organizations from across Latin America and Spain.

As part of the summit, I hosted a panel with leaders from Students for Life, National Right to Life, Global Life Campaign, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Americans United for Life. The topic of the panel was challenges facing the pro-life movement. During my remarks, I argued that a lack of a biblical worldview and apathy toward the Bible’s teaching on life are additional challenges facing the pro-life movement. I exhorted the delegates to continue fighting for life and encouraging pastors within their sphere of influence to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word, including how it relates to the issue of abortion.

FRC was able to equip attendees of the summit with resources that apply a biblical worldview to a wide range of relevant issues, including the sanctity of human life.

FRC’s Quena Gonzalez participated in a panel discussion on how to advocate for pro-life policies. Quena encouraged the delegates to be motivated by Micah 6:8, which instructs believers to “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” with our God. As Quena explained, “Our love for God motivates us to advocate for justice. Our love of neighbor motivates us to advocate for policies that allow all Americans, not just Christians, to thrive. And our love for the governments whom we seek to influence—the administration, members of Congress, etc.—leads us to see in each of them the imago Dei, the image of God, and to speak the truth to them in love.”

Speakers at the CIVF’s sixth annual meeting included President Giammattei, Shirley Rivera (president of the Congress of Guatemala), Luis Lam (ambassador of Guatemala to the United Nations), Angela Gandra (Brazil’s secretary of the family), Michael Farris (president of Alliance Defending Freedom), and Valerie Huber (president of The Institute for Women’s Health). The CIVF was founded in 2017 in response to the growing need to engage government and policy leaders in Latin and Central America on issues that affect life and family.

Huber, who helped spearhead the Geneva Consensus Declaration during the Trump administration, praised President Giammattei for signing it last October. By joining the declaration, Huber noted that Giammattei “reminded the world that Guatemala has the sovereign right to implement policies consistent with their own national laws and cultural context without external pressuring and meddling… from other countries, international bodies, or from outside special interest groups.”

The CIVF’s meeting concluded after hearing remarks from Mario Bucaro (Guatemala’s foreign minister), Gerardo Amarilla (Uruguay’s deputy minister of environment), and other Latin American leaders. The event concluded with CIVF releasing the Guatemala 2022 Declaration which affirmed the family as foundational for the flourishing of societies in Latin America and stated the organization’s intent to continue engaging political and religious leaders in the region on policies related to life and family.  

While those of us in the United States await the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, we should be grateful for the courageous leadership of leaders around the world such as President Alejandro Giammattei. Following the official ceremony and statue unveiling on Wednesday, I had an opportunity to personally thank Giammattei on behalf of Family Research Council for his leadership in positioning Guatemala as a leader in the international pro-life movement. Giammattei’s stand for life and family in the face of intense pressure deserves our admiration and respect. May courage breed more courage, and may all of us who care about the dignity and value of the unborn look to Guatemala’s example.

I joined Tony Perkins on Washington Watch to discuss the historic declaration of Guatemala as the “pro-life capital of Latin America.” You can listen to the interview here.

**To see where other countries stack up on abortion around the world, see our map and publication.

Real Men Don’t Bomb Women and Children. They Protect Them.

by Arielle Del Turco

March 10, 2022

Throughout his career, Russian President Vladimir Putin has cultivated the image of a “strong man,” in both the political and physical sense. He has projected a powerful masculine image for himself while reasserting Russian influence on the world stage.

Numerous photos published by the Kremlin show a shirtless Putin doing stereotypically manly outdoorsy things. Images of him hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and submerging himself in icy waters for the Orthodox observance of the Epiphany are accompanied by the Russian state media’s glowing reports of how physically fit the president is. Sure, Putin knows international audiences poke fun at these stunts, but he says he sees “no need to hide.”

Yet, with Putin’s unprovoked invasion into peaceful neighboring Ukraine, the humor of Putin’s self-made macho image is fading. Writing for WORLD, Andrew Walker points out, “Putin’s masculinity is one of cavalier ruthlessness and vainglory—one using raw strength to self-aggrandize, bully, destroy, denigrate, and suppress.”

Standing in stark contrast to the Russian president’s shirtless wilderness photoshoots is comedy actor turned politician, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Before the Russian invasion, Zelensky was a relatively unknown figure on the world stage. But now, he has risen to the task of being a wartime leader with determination, good humor, and fearlessness. Standing in the dark streets of Kyiv as the invasion was underway, Zelensky recorded a video on his smartphone reassuring his people and warning his adversaries that “We are here.”

The risks to his own life are great, but thus far, Zelensky has refused to leave. In an address from his office, he said, “I stay in Kyiv. On Bankova Street. I’m not hiding. And I’m not afraid of anyone. As much as it takes to win this Patriotic War of ours.” This is a strength and courage that Putin’s vacation pics can’t replicate.

Zelensky’s unwavering and passionate communications to his fellow Ukrainians and the outside world have earned him countless comparisons to Winston Churchill. His leadership has rallied Ukrainians to fight back against the Russian onslaught and stirred the hearts of world leaders to act. Neither Zelensky’s politics nor his lifestyle are a perfect model of masculinity. Yet, as he leads his country’s struggle to fight back against one of the most powerful militaries on earth, people around the world are drawn to his powerful example of what masculinity can look like when channeled in the right direction. He has shown he is willing to sacrifice his life for the good of his people and country after being offered an easy way out.

Instead of modeling sacrificial leadership, Putin chose to put the lives of his troops on the line—for some, perhaps even unknowingly—to assault a neighboring sovereign country without a legitimate cause. At home, Putin’s state media obscures the truth about the war he started in Ukraine, and authorities are severely cracking down on the Russians who are brave enough to protest it.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are ruthlessly targeting residential areas for missile attacks. Over the weekend, Russian forces fired mortar shells toward a bridge civilians were using to flee. Four people died, including an eight-year-old child. That’s what Putin is doing to his own soldiers and the innocent people of Ukraine. This is not masculine strength—it’s cruelty.

While Putin’s military indiscriminately harms women and children, Ukraine is making provisions for their safety. Ukraine instituted a policy that allows women and children to flee across the border but expects men to stay and fight. Extra concern for women and children will be all the more important as some fear increased vulnerability for women in the wake of Russia’s invasion and reports of abuses by Russian soldiers.

Of course, many Ukrainian women have been courageously volunteering to fight. Grandmas, members of parliament, teachers, and many others have taken up arms to defend Ukraine. Even so, the Ukrainian government isn’t placing the bulk of the burden to fight onto women, and that is appropriate. A culture expecting men to protect and defend women and children is an impactful display of healthy masculinity.

Zelensky, like the Ukrainian people, has inspired the world with unexpected bravery and resolve in the face of a seemingly impossible situation. In doing so, he provides a clear alternative to Putin’s faux, destructive masculinity. Real men don’t bomb women and children. They protect them.

A Selfie-Taking, Hashtagging Teenage Administration

by Rob Schwarzwalder

May 13, 2014

In a biting, perceptive, and troubling-because-it’s-true op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, Eliot Cohen writes of an Executive Branch governed as much by immaturity as Left-wing conviction. As he notes, “The Obama administration is not alone. The teenage temperament infects our politics on both sides of the aisle, not to mention our great universities and leading corporations.”

The particular danger imposed by the Obama Administration is that it leads (or is supposed to lead) the greatest nation in world history; such leadership demands what Cohen calls “the old, adult virtues—gravitas, sobriety, perseverance and constancy.”

A President who takes a “selfie” at the funeral of an international statesman and who sniffingly refers to the burgeoning Russian threat as “a regional power” simply doesn’t know how to take American foreign policy and national security seriously. In fairness, of course, when you’re busy transforming America, who has time for international affairs?

Read Cohen’s insightful piece here

Archives