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Members of Congress want a vote to protect abortion survivors – will they get one?

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Washington D.C., Apr 15, 2021 / 04:00 am (CNA).

Members of the House are once again trying to bring up a vote on legislation protecting infant survivors of abortions.

On Wednesday, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) filed a discharge petition to force a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; the bill would require infants surviving abortions to receive the same standard of care as other prematurely-born babies.

Not all states publicize data on abortions. According to one data request from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, reported by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, 143 babies survived abortion attempts in the United States between 2003 and 2014; the CDC added that the number may have been an underestimate.

For 2019, Florida reported that two babies survived abortion attempts; between the years 2013 and 2019, 23 babies in Florida were reported to have been born alive during abortions.

The U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) supports the “Born-Alive” legislation.

“There should be no bill easier for Congress to pass than one that makes clear that killing newborn babies is wrong and will not be tolerated,” stated Kat Talalas, assistant director for pro-life communications for the USCCB’s pro-life committee.

“Infants who are born alive after an abortion attempt should be given the same degree of care to preserve their life and health as would be given to any other newborn baby,” Talalas stated.

Members sought to bring up a vote on the legislation in the previous Congress, but Democratic leadership stymied the attempts more than 75 times, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) claimed.

The bill introduced on Wednesday, a version of which was introduced last Congress, requires babies surviving abortion attempts to receive the same standard of care that other children born prematurely would receive. Health care staff present for the botched abortion are required to give the care, and report failure to provide the care to law enforcement.

Failure to give the required care or to report a violation is punishable by fines or up to five years imprisonment under the legislation. Mothers of children who survive abortions and are not resuscitated can have a civil cause of action for the failure to provide the care to their child, and are protected from prosecution under the bill.

In order for the discharge petition to successfully bring up a vote on the bill, however, 218 members need to sign it. In the previous Congress, 205 members – including three Democrats and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) who switched party affiliations in 2019 – signed the discharge petition.

A 2002 law that passed both houses of Congress, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, recognized unborn children as persons but did not include provisions requiring care for infant survivors of abortion.

Cammack is a freshman congresswoman endorsed by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. She recently told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly that, while she was in her mother’s womb, doctors advised her mother to have an abortion due to medical risks from the pregnancy.

“She had something inside of her that told her that everything was going to be okay,” Cammack said of her mother’s decision to choose life. “And that, to me, is the most powerful, impactful thing that really has shaped my views on this.”

As of Wednesday evening, 169 members had signed the new discharge petition.

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House Republicans seek to defund UN agency over abortion concerns

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Washington D.C., Apr 14, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

House Republicans on Tuesday introduced a bill to defund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), alleging its complicity in forced abortions and sterilizations in China.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for the United Nations Population Fund Act” on Tuesday to permanently strip the UNFPA of federal funding. The UNFPA partners with China, and Roy alleged that the organization is complicit in China’s population control program where women have reportedly endured forced abortions and sterilizations. 

More than three dozen members are co-sponsoring Roy’s legislation. 

The Trump administration stopped funding the UNFPA in 2017, citing the fund’s partnership with the Chinese government where “family planning policies still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization practices.”

Last week, President Biden included funding for the UNFPA in his discretionary budget request for the 2022 fiscal year, “including for the repayment of arrears, where applicable.” In January, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the agency would work to make $32.5 million available for the fund in 2021.

Roy on Wednesday said that federal funds should not be subsidizing abortion, directly or indirectly.

“American tax dollars should never directly or indirectly support taking of innocent human life through abortion or the dehumanizing act of involuntary sterilization, and they certainly shouldn’t be used to support the oppressive, America-hating Chinese Communist Party in any way whatsoever,” Roy said. 

“Former President Trump was right to stop funding the UN Population Fund due to their open partnership with the oppressive Chinese regime and their support for China’s atrocious human rights violations. This legislation will continue that policy,” he added.

The UN Population Fund describes itself as the “sexual and reproductive health agency” of the United Nations. 

“Our mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled,” the UNFPA website states.

When the Trump administration defunded the UNFPA, it redirected the funding to the US Agency for International Development for family planning programs in line with the Mexico City Policy. That policy required U.S. family planning and global health assistance to not fund groups promoting or performing abortions. 

Biden revoked the pro-life Mexico City Policy as one of his first acts in office. Previous Democratic presidents have repealed the policy at the outset of their presidencies. 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and many other pro-life organizations support Roy’s bill. 

“The current Administration plans to restart funding UNFPA despite the organization’s consistent support for China’s brutal child policy and the lack of evidence that UNFPA has changed course,” said Thomas McClusky, president of March for Life Action. 

“The United States should support human rights, not fund international groups complicit in their violation.”

White House spokeswoman grilled on fungibility of Title X funding

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary. / EWTN News Nightly YouTube

CNA Staff, Apr 14, 2021 / 14:18 pm (CNA).

Earlier today, EWTN’s White House Correspondent Owen Jensen questioned White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about the proposed reversal of the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule.

 

 

EWTN News Nightly White House Correspondent, Owen Jensen:

So today, as you well know, the Biden administration and HHS started the reversal of the Trump administration’s ban on abortion referrals at Title 10, family planning clinics. For my first question, why does the Biden administration insist that prolife Americans pay for abortions and violate their conscience?

 

White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki:

Well, first, that's not an accurate depiction of what happened. And I know we want to be accurate around here. None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning. That is written into the Public Health Service Act and it specifically states that.

 

Owen Jensen:

Indirect subsidies, money that is fungible that can't be traced… We know that, come on.

 

Jen Psaki:

That is not how it works. That is the law. So I'm stating what the law is and how it is implemented legally by these organizations. And the reason I though... since you give me the opportunity. The reason why the president took these steps is because he believes that advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality can be helped by these actions. And by focusing on advancing equity in the Title X program, we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone. That's how these fundings are used in communities.

 

Owen Jensen:

You talk about equity. If I may interrupt, how is equity, how is it fighting systemic racism when abortion, we well know, disproportionately affects minority children?

 

Jen Psaki:

Again, funding cannot be used from this for abortion, but access to health care. Access to

health care in communities that have been marginalized, underserved, adversely affected by persistent poverty is always going to be something the president fights for.

 

 

 

The proposal from the Biden administration is set to be published April 15. A thirty-day comment period for the public on the proposed changes will then open.

 

Pro-life advocates have criticized the principle of funding abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood, even with prohibitions on the money directly funding abortion. They argue that since money is fungible, the additional funding frees up other funds to go toward abortions.

 

Amazon pulls transgender-critical book before relisting it

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Washington D.C., Apr 14, 2021 / 14:07 pm (CNA).

The online retail giant Amazon delisted a book critical of transgender ideology, before apparently relisting it for sale on Wednesday afternoon.

Maria Keffler, author of “Desist, Detrans, & Detox: Getting Your Child Out of the Gender Cult,” told CNA that her book is a “guidebook” for parents who don’t want to take an “affirmation-only” approach to matters of gender identity. 

“Right now, out in the culture, that’s all that’s being given to parents,” Keffler said. She is co-founder of the Arlington Parent Coalition & Partners for Ethical Care. 

The book was listed for sale on Amazon on April 7, Keffler said, but the listing was removed less than a week later. 

On Wednesday afternoon, however, the book appeared for sale on Amazon’s online Kindle store. 

A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to CNA’s request for comment. 

Amazon had told the publisher of Keffler’s book that it violated guidelines for submitting books with “content that is considered offensive.”

In an email obtained by CNA from Amazon’s Kindle Account Review to Partners for Ethical Care - the publisher and copyright holder for Keffler’s book - Amazon stated: “We have temporarily suspended your KDP account because you have repeatedly submitted books through your account that violate our Content Guidelines as they contain content that is considered offensive.”

According to Partners for Ethical Care, “Amazon did not contact the author or publisher before cancelling the book.”

The delisting of Keffler’s book came less than two months after after Amazon pulled the book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” by scholar Ryan T. Anderson. 

Anderson, who is currently president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said his book had been listed for sale on Amazon for three years after it was published in 2018. His book is a critical look at the transgender movement.

Following the removal of Anderson’s book - which is still not listed for sale on Amazon.com - four Republican senators sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos questioning the removal of Anderson’s book. The four senators were Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

In response, Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, wrote that the company has “chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.”

Keffler argued that proponents of an “affirmation-only approach” to gender identity demonstrate “cult-like” behavior.

She added that her book is well researched, and said, “I would like to know if anyone at Amazon actually read it, and I would like for them to point out what specifically in the book they consider problematic.” 

“I would like to know what is offensive in this book,” she said, adding, “I think it’s a problem Amazon has taken one side on this issue. This is something they need to give better and deeper thought than they have.” 

Both Keffler’s and Anderson’s books remain available for sale by other retailers, including Barnes and Noble.