The significance of Senator John Madigan's bill
Babette Francis - ONLINE Opinion, 15 April 2013
Senator John Madigan's Bill banning the Medicare funding of sex-selective abortions - Health Insurance Amendment (Medicare Funding for Certain Types of Abortions) Bill 2013 is very timely in view of the budgetary constraints Treasurer Wayne Swan is struggling with. The abortion industry and their feminist camp followers of course decry the existence of sex-selective abortions in Australia, but there is little doubt about the high incidence of the gendercide abortions of female fetuses in China and India which have resulted in alarming disparities in male/female population ratios in those countries.
Instead of raiding superannuation piggy banks, Treasurer Swan should cut Australian funding for abortion services in our overseas aid. We give $5.5 million to Marie Stopes International, $9.5 million to International Planned Parenthood Federation and $6.5 million to the UN Fund for Population activities. UNFPA is active in China and has been implicated in the abuses endemic in China's One Child Policy. Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, has announced that over the next four years an additional $70 million will go to UNFPA.
On July 31 last year, Samuel B. Casey, Managing Director & General Counsel, Law of Life Project, Washington, D.C., filed a complaint against the People's Republic of China to the UN Conference on the Status of Women, Human Rights Section, UN Women, New York, on behalf of the Coalition to End Violence Against Pregnant Women. The Coalition includes the following non-government organisations:
All Girls Allowed
Women for Life International Inc
Canada Silent No More
Endeavour Forum Inc
The 20-page Complaint states that the Coalition to End Violence Against Pregnant Women wish to make a formal complaint against The People's Republic of China, including without limitation its National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC), for violating Women's Human Rights, Freedom, and Liberty, and women's right to choose to bring a child to birth.
There are numerous reports of pregnant women being tortured and forced into 'family planning clinics' to have their children forcibly killed by means of dismemberment, decapitation, poisoning or vacuuming the child out of their womb unwillingly. China is known to have a rigid propaganda campaign including stiff financial penalties and other material consequences as punishment for giving birth to a child without a birth permit. These cruel practices, policies, and patterns are degrading and inhumane to women and children and families, cause great harm and injustice, and constitute crimes against humanity.
It is also widely reported that women are kidnapped from their homes and forced/coerced into having abortions and government-compelled sterilizations. All of these violations occurred in, and are occurring today in the People's Republic of China, pursuant to an official policy of the People's Republic of China, administered by the NPFPC, known as the One Child Policy. The Complaint states:
We condemn China's One Child Policy that effectively authorizes, condones and has otherwise caused millions of forced abortions, forced sterilizations and confiscatory fines and penalties for violation of this policy in grave violation of human rights that egregiously discriminates against women, and denies women the freedom of reproductive choice to let their children live, without persecution or government penalties, job loss or other repercussions.
To illustrate the nature of the human rights violations about which the Coalition complains the names of some of the women victims, the dates and circumstances of the violations are summarized and described. A detailed description, photographs and documentation of 17 cases of the violence against pregnant women: kidnapping, arrests, imprisonment, torture, forced abortions, forced insertion of IUDs, horrific disposal of viable infants.
Based in part on the cases described, the Coalition urged the United Nations and its Commission on the Status of Women, Human Rights Division, to take immediate action to investigate these atrocities against women and children in China, report on its findings and recommend whatever steps are needed to stop the Chinese Government from continuing its barbaric violence against pregnant women, their pre-born children, and their spouses, friends and others, including the attorneys, who try to help them.
The Complaint invokes Articles l, 2 and 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, and the Preamble and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and concludes:
On July 5, the Wall Street Journal reported that a group of scholars and entrepreneurs in China have issued an open letter calling upon the government to change the One-Child Policy. Businessman James Liang said, 'From an economic perspective, the one-child policy is irrational. From a human rights perspective, it's even less rational.....
The Law of Population and Family Planning for the purpose of population control, along with relevant provisions on Population and Family Planning Regulations, not only violates the principal and spirit of our Constitution and laws, but also dissatisfies the needs for the sustainable socio-economic development. We believe that, under the premise of full respects for citizens' birth and family rights, and by focusing on citizens' reproductive health right as a core, an interest-oriented reproductive mechanism shall be formulated to guide our citizens to freely and also responsibly carry out fertility. This should be the fundamental spirit to amend the existing Law of Population and Family Planning, which requires stressing the service functionality of the government, forbidding forced abortion, prohibiting any infringement of citizens' rights and freedom in the name of family planning.
The Coalition to end violence Against Pregnant Women concurred with the European Parliament, and the above-quoted Chinese scholars and entrepreneurs, that China's official policy of forced abortion, forced sterilization, confiscatory fines, excessive use of police force and overall violation against women and their children that derives from China's inhumane One Child Policy needs to be fully investigated and ultimately condemned by the Commission on the Status of Women "as violating every human right for which the United Nations ought to stand. The women and children of China are neither safe nor secure so long as this heinous policy is permitted to exist".
As a follow-on to the official Complaint and further publicise the plight of pregnant Chinese women, Endeavour Forum Inc. organised an NGO "Parallel Event" at the Commission on the Status of Women meeting in New York in March this year. The presenter was Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, who screened It's a Girl, a powerful documentary about gendercide and forced abortion in China and India.
Reggie said "The preference for sons in China has encouraged gendercide (the selective abortion of girls). Now, there are 37 million more men than women living in China today. This gender imbalance drives human trafficking and sexual slavery. And China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world. This is the true war against women. We call upon China's incoming president, Xi Jinping, immediately to abandon all coercive population control and to end this bloody reign of terror."
Littlejohn also spoke about WRWF's "Save a Girl" Campaign, in which fieldworkers identify women pregnant with girls and encourage them not to abort or abandon their daughters. WRWF gives these women a monthly stipend for a year, to help support these girls. "We are saving lives and ending gendercide, one baby girl at a time," Littlejohn stated. "It is astonishing how little it takes to save a life in China. We need support to expand this highly effective campaign."
Samuel Casey informs members of the Coaltion to end Violence Against Pregnant Women that receipt of our Complaint has been acknowledged by UN Women. It will no doubt go through a tortuous process of being "investigated" by a series of committees. Whether the victims of China's One Child Policy will ever receive a modicum of justice is an open question.
The Australian Senate's Finance & Public Administration Committee is holding an inquiry into Senator Madigan's Bill and has invited submissions. Hopefully the Bill will receive an expeditious passage and Australian taxpayers can stop funding forced abortions in China.