Latest newsletter #150 Click to read online

The rights of women

Endeavour Forum Inc. is a women's organisation which affirms that men and women are equal but different, not equal and identical. However, sex differences should not be used as an excuse to deprive women of human rights. Hence we are not only concerned about the protection of pregnant women so that they are not coerced by economic or other pressures into aborting their unborn babies, we are also concerned about the rights of women to enjoy full equality under the law. Just as we are opposed to same-sex marriage, we are also opposed to coercion of girls and women forced to marry against their will someone chosen by their parents.

The horrendous rape of the 23-year-old Indian student - and the failure of police to investigate rape and other incidents of violence against women has highlighted the male chauvinism that still exists in India despite its democratic constitution and the prominence of women leaders such as former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi, long-time leader of the Congress Party. There is hope for Indian women because of the country's secular, democratic constitution, but the situation of women reformers in Muslim-majority countries is more fraught. Muslim women face a culture which regards women as temptresses responsible for "fitna" or chaos, and who need to be suppressed to ensure peace and male honour.

Cultures can evolve for the better, but Muslim women also confront the political ideology of Islam with its inherent misogyny operating under the guise of religion with state-sanctioned Sharia laws promulgated as the unalterable edicts of Allah. Under Pakistan's religious laws, a woman who is raped requires four male eyewitnesses to substantiate her claim otherwise she can be treated as an adulteress and punished accordingly. Unlike western feminists who mostly remain silent about these abuses, we will continue to speak out about the plight of women in Muslim countries.

Women's rights are also violated in China with its one- child-policy (OCP) and compulsory abortion and/or sterilization for infringements. China's OCP has not only re- sulted in the deaths of unborn babies and the brutalization of their mothers, but a spike in the incidence of breast cancer. One of many studies reports: "...Fundamental changes in reproductive patterns brought about by China's OCP probably contributed most to the incidence boom in the middle- age group [of breast cancer]" Fan L, Zheng Y, et al: 'Breast cancer in a transitional society over 18 years: trends and present status in Shanghai, China. Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, 2009; 117 (2): 409-416'.

A national disgrace is that Australian Aid is funding abortion services overseas - $5.5 million to Marie Stopes Inter- national, $9.5 million to International Planned Parenthood Federation, and $6.5 million to the UN Fund for Populaton 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. Australia is pretending to help the developing world by funding the killing of its children.

Pregnant women are entitled to full disclosure of the increased risk of breast cancer caused by induced abortion, and of the greater risk of premature birth of their infants in subsequent pregnancies. Premature birth is the major risk factor for morbidity and mortality in the newborn; numerous studies show the risk of cerebral palsy is directly linked to prematurity. The abortion industry also fights hard to prevent women from seeing their unborn on ultrasound so that they can see what - or rather who - is being aborted.

The good news is that in coming months two events will give pro-life, pro-family activists and people of good will the information and fellowship to recharge their pro-life, pro- woman and pro-family energies. Flyers for these two events are enclosed in this Newsletter.

In April there is the Life Coalition Dinner with a great line-up of speakers and the presentation of the Charles Francis Award which recognizes achievement in pro-life work by an individual or group within the Victorian community. Please make an effort to attend the Life Coalition Dinner and when booking indicate you wish to be at the Endeavour Forum Inc. table. This assists our fund-raising.

The other great event in May is the World Congress of Families VII which has a terrific line-up of international and Australian speakers. This is the first time this event has been held in the southern hemisphere and the first time in an English-speaking country. So let's try and make it a suc- cess. Please note that the early bird reduction of 20% off the cost of registration is extended to 28th March.

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