Review of the year: fight against the “throwaway culture”

A new pro-abortion White House administration in early 2021 ended four years of simple but important executive-level advances for the pro-life movement. President Joe Biden quickly overturned many of the pro-life policies of former President Donald Trump. But the lasting victory of Trump’s conservative Supreme Court choices has raised hopes for the end of Roe vs. Wade. Tensions have grown at the state level as pro-life lawmakers reacted to a domestic political climate hostile to unborn babies. Meanwhile, abortion and euthanasia have progressed internationally.

Biden administration advances abortion

Two days after his inauguration, President Biden issued a statement pledging to codify a woman’s right to abortion into law. This promise has yet to be kept, but its administration has done a lot to reduce protections for babies.

In January, Biden signed a presidential memorandum revoking the Mexico City policy, which had blocked federal funds from going to international health groups that offer abortions. That same memorandum also withdrew the United States from the Geneva Consensus, an international pro-life declaration, and initiated the process of overturning Trump’s Title X rule that prevented abortion providers from obtaining dollars. federal authorities for family planning.

In April, Biden’s Food and Drug Administration dealt another blow, announcing it would not impose a requirement for providers to dispense the abortion pill in person. This opened the floodgates for pro-abortion websites to continue mailing abortion drugs to women. Over the next several months, the Biden administration continued to make its stance on abortion known, releasing a $ 6 trillion budget proposal in June without the Hyde Amendment, a long-standing measure blocking money. of taxpayers to fund the abortion industry.

Abortion advocates were not satisfied with these advances. Advocacy group We Testify complained that it took the Biden administration 224 days to use the word Abortion in a notable public statement. “We don’t need more evasive White House statements that further stigmatize abortion,” the group said. noted on its website.

A fight at the state level

Effectively excluded at the federal level but simultaneously empowered by Trump’s conservative judicial candidates, pro-life activists have shifted their tack and focused their attention on state law.

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute called the 2021 legislative session the most “damaging” to the pro-abortion cause in decades. As of April 29, states had introduced 536 pro-life bills, and 61 had become law. At the same time, in 2011, the previous record year, states had enacted just 42 pro-life laws.

Arkansas passed one of the toughest bills in March, even protecting babies conceived through rape or incest, with one exception if a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life. Gov. Asa Hutchinson acknowledged that the law challenged Supreme Court precedents, but said: “It is the intention of the legislation to pave the way for the Supreme Court to overturn current case law.”

The biggest wave pro-life law passed in Texas two months later. Using a controversial delivery mechanism, it protects babies from abortions once they have a detectable heartbeat, usually around six weeks gestation. The law entered into force in September and would have halved
the number of abortions in the state. This prompted an influx of clients to some of the state’s pregnancy centers, where staff saw women who were sometimes angry, sometimes relieved that they couldn’t get an abortion after the first few weeks of pregnancy. The Supreme Court has allowed the law to remain in force as legal battles continue in the lower courts. South Carolina lawmakers also passed a heartbeat law in February, but it has not come into force due to an ongoing litigation.

Abortion at the Supreme Court

In the fall, lawsuits over the Texas heartbeat law raced through the Supreme Court, which held oral arguments exactly two months after the rule came into effect. But the hearings focused on technical details – just a sideshow of the main abortion-related event in the High Court this year.

The Supreme Court shocked pro-life and pro-abortion activists when it announced in May that it would take charge Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case of a Mississippi law protecting babies from abortion after 15 weeks of gestation. The judges agreed to determine “whether all pre-viability bans on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s July brief called on Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade and give back to states the power to regulate abortion before the stage of pregnancy when a baby can survive outside the womb.

Pro-life activists saw the court’s agreement to hear the case as a signal of a potential desire to end its decades-old messy abortion precedent. Pro-abortion activists thought the same, but with trepidation: Organizers of the 2021 Women’s March renamed the October nationwide protests as “abortion justice,” a response to Texas’ law on abortion. heartbeats and arguments in Dobbs.

In the pleadings of December 1, the more moderate judges implied a desire to go against Roe deer‘s and allow Mississippi law to stand. At the very least, a pro-abortion advocate’s reference to a “baby” has demonstrated the effect ultrasound technology has had on national consciousness.

The pro-abortion wave in Latin America

In an amicus brief submitted to Dobbs case, South African Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng for the United Nations warned that the overthrow Roe deer
could have “catastrophic implications” for so-called abortion rights around the world. “We know that politically, what happens in the United States … has an impact on precedents elsewhere in the world”, Mofokeng Recount
The Guardian.

Pro-life groups in Latin America have felt the reality of this statement over the past year, but not in the way that Mofokeng was concerned with. In the last days of 2020, Argentina became the largest country in Latin America to legalize abortion. The pro-lifers blamed the change on “international monetary pressure and political pressure.” Some have speculated that the timing of the bill’s passage matched the results of the U.S. election when it became clear that the new Biden administration would financially support international abortion groups.

In September, Mexico’s Supreme Court released rulings that will prevent Mexican states from enforcing pro-life laws and make it easier to pass pro-abortion laws. The timing of this case coincided with meetings between Mexican government officials and US pro-abortion Vice President Kamala Harris.

But at least one pro-life victory has come to Latin America in 2021: Honduras passed a bipartisan constitutional amendment to prevent lawmakers from legalizing abortion in the future. The pro-lifers there expect pressure from the United States to overthrow the country’s position, but it would take a tough three-quarters majority in the National Congress.

Euthanasia in the world

In a radio interview in September, Pope Francis coupled
abortion with euthanasia as a sign of “throwaway culture”, describing the growing legalization of euthanasia as “one of the tragedies of European culture today”.

This year, Portugal’s parliament twice passed a law that would legalize euthanasia in the country, but the bill has been blocked for months by presidential vetoes and concerns from the country’s Constitutional Court. The practice proceeded more easily elsewhere. Between March and September, three of Australia’s six states legalized euthanasia for people with terminal illnesses. The country expects a vote on a bill in New South Wales, the only state remaining without legal euthanasia, in early 2022.

In March, Spain also legalized euthanasia, but jumped on the slippery slope, allowing the procedure even for people who are not about to die but who suffer from “serious chronic illness”. In Canada, where euthanasia has been legal for terminally ill people since 2016, a new bill has been passed that removes the requirement that a patient’s death be “reasonably foreseeable”. People with disabilities across the country fear that this change in the law will make it easier for culture to throw them away when they become troublesome.

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