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President & Publisher………………..J.C. Willke, M.D.
Smashing Pro-Life Victory At UN
by J.C. Willke, MD
Here’s news that few of you have read about. The reason is quite obvious – pro-lifers won. If the pro-abort forces had been victorious, it would have been on the front page and highlighted by all of the media.
It was the fourth and last major UN conference of this century. It was held in Istanbul, Turkey, and entitled “Habitat”. The meeting was programmed to speak about housing throughout the world. Why then were pro-lifers involved? What has our issue to do with housing? Well, very little, except that the UN powers-that-be had an agenda. Yes, there was business to attend to regarding housing, but those questions were addressed and settled in the first week.
It was the second week where it came to a knock-down, drag-out fight. This international meeting of the almost 200 nations in the UN was to make decisions that would set guidelines worldwide. We in the US pay little attention to the UN. In most other countries, however, UN decisions are literally the law of the land and certainly guide the “foreign aid” policies of the Western world.
There were two sides when the battle lines were drawn up. On one side was a huge United States delegation, in close cooperation with Canada and the European Union which is made up of Western European countries. On the other side were the “G-77 countries” (a coalition of 131 developing countries), the pro-life, pro-family lobbyists, the Vatican and the Muslim nations. The Western nations have the money and totally control the UN apparatus. They set the agenda and give aid to those nations who obey what the rich Western countries want.
The Clinton appointees and their UN allies inserted into the document “reproductive health” in six places. They also inserted wording to establish sex clinics in schools worldwide, legalization of homosexual marriages, and a broad “gender” definition that included alternate lifestyles. All of this was in a housing document that had no relation at all to these controversial social proposals.
Pro-life, pro-family forces had blunted the Western nations’ anti-family assault at the Cairo meeting. Partly because of the physical set-up and other rules, some very destructive language had been passed at the Beijing meeting. One result from these meetings was that many nations came to understand the actual meaning of the kinds of wording that the Western nations wanted to insert. Particularly sensitized to this were Muslim nations which, in this meeting, were led very effectively by Saudi Arabia. For instance, “reproductive health”, translated into Arabic, means a safe delivery. Therefore, nations less than totally familiar with the nuances of this English wording had to have the true meaning explained. When this happened, they coalesced and became an effective, functioning alternative to the Western pressure.
There were about 60 pro-life lobbyists in Istanbul, from every continent. An office was set up in a hotel room with a copy machine (over 30,000 copies were made), computer, fax, desk-top publishing, etc. John Smeaton, from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child in London, guided the pro-life activity. Every night, at different secret locations, all available pro-life lobbyists met to plot strategy for the next day, and to pray together. The result of our activities was a firming up of the non-Western nations and a refusal to bow to what in fact became intense bullying, arm-twisting and outright blackmail. One African delegate told us that she was in complete sympathy with our pro-family views, but that if she did not vote with the United States, her country would lose their aid from the US, and they could not afford that. This was repeated by other countries.
The second week was programmed to have a gentle ending. Tuesday was to wrap up all of the discussions. Wednesday was to be a free day to allow full translation of the agreed-upon text. Thursday was to be the adoption of the text, and Friday was to be the formal acceptance and everybody would leave. It didn’t quite work out that way. At the beginning of the second week, all of the housing questions had been answered, but the conference was at total impasse on the proposed radical, social agenda.
The Western nations, who totally controlled the agenda, then adopted a policy to wear the opposition down. The session convened on Wednesday at 11:00 am and was held in formal session until 11:00 PM. During this time essentially nothing happened, and the chair of the president sat empty. But pro-family lobbyists fully understood that the president of the assembly could walk back in at any moment and ask for the assembly to vote on any proposal. This necessitated the pro-life, pro-family phalanx of countries and our people to sit and stay full-time. This was a real problem for small countries. For example, Guatemala sent one delegate, and there was a limit to such a person’s endurance. On Thursday the session reconvened at 11:00 am. Again nothing happened, but everyone stayed until the recess was called at 7:00 am Friday morning. Still no decisions. On Friday, instead of going home, as scheduled, our determined people stayed at their posts. So did the Muslim countries, and so did most of the G-77 nations. The meeting was reconvened at 11:00 am, and again the clock turned around until finally at 2:30 am on Saturday morning the Western nations finally gave up. Totally frustrated and visibly furious, the chief US negotiator accepted the pro-life, pro-family package.
The pro-life victory eliminated the Canadian insistence on an ambiguously defined “families”, which would have conferred equal status on homosexual “families”. It reaffirmed the importance of parental rights. It guaranteed respect for member states’ religious and ethical values. It recognized the family as the basic unit of society. Five of the six references to reproductive health were deleted, with the one remaining hemmed in with such strong protective language that it could not be used to force abortion on a developing country. All references to gender were eliminated, and school-based clinics were deleted.
It was in fact a resounding pro-life victory, or, as Mary Meaney, in her report of this in National Review Magazine, called it, “The Istanbul Miracle”.
Life Issues Today
with Dr. J. C. Willke
San Diego – A Breakthrough
It certainly wasn’t what had been predicted. Mrs. Willke and I weren’t too hopeful when we went to San Diego the week before the Republican Convention where my wife Barbara was an Ohio delegate. At the time, pro-lifers were scoring a resounding victory with the platform, a must-win. Yes, now we hear from the dominant media that win means very little, and that some of the principals “haven’t read it”. But think of the damage to our movement if we had lost! It would have been a front-page story repeated for a week or more.
Another significant factor during the week of the Platform Committee meetings was the pro-life sweep of primary elections in three states. In four Republican Senatorial contests, where a pro-life candidate opposed a pro-abortion candidate, the pro-lifer won. These could mean an increase in pro-life strength in the US Senate next year.
Dole’s choice for Vice President was looking better, because most of those on the publicized short list were pro-lifers. Still, none had much flash and one never knows.
On Friday, the news of Kemp leaked, and on Saturday it was confirmed. Our reaction could only be called jubilant. Jack Kemp is great on the pro-life, pro-family issues. At the time of the Kemp announcement, I was making two presentations, one on euthanasia and the other on the Istanbul UN Conference, to pro-life, pro-family leaders. Several of these leaders did not know Kemp’s position on abortion. Since I had interviewed him three years ago, I circulated copies of that interview. We have also run highlights of the interview in this issue.
With Kemp on the ticket, the total climate changed. Instead of the pervasive pessimism, it was as if giant floodlights had suddenly gone on. Everyone we talked to was delighted. We didn’t hear any negatives. At a meeting of Christian Coalition leaders on Sunday, a straw vote was taken to find that approximately 480 (mostly new delegates) were pleased with Kemp, and only about 20 were not.
And so the convention began. One of my first interviews was with the Washington Post. “Wasn’t I upset that Powell was going to speak?” “No,” I said. “Wasn’t I upset that Molinari was going to speak?” “No, it’s O.K.” He couldn’t comprehend this. “Why was I not upset?” I simply smiled and said, “We won the big one.
We’ve got the Vice President.” That interview was not published, as it was not the reaction he wanted. The interview was prototypical of the press approaching pro-life people throughout the entire convention. They knew there would be a bad fight over abortion. They knew pro-lifers would wreck the Republican Party. They knew that we would boo, walk out, etc. They had been predicting it for months, and now it must happen. But in fact it did not.
There was only one episode of a faint smattering of boos in one section (see “Media Bias”, page 7). But except for that, pro-family people totally confounded the all-knowing media by not fighting.
On Sunday night Barbara and I were pleased to meet briefly with Bob Dole. “How’s it going?” he asked. “Bob,” I said, “you just didn’t hit a home run, you hit a grand-slam with Jack Kemp.” I told him of the straw vote above. He was very pleased. Later in the Convention, I had occasion to speak with many governors, senators, as well as Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes and others. That, along with my acquaintances among office-holders and in the media, made for a constant swirl of meetings, interviews and discussions. Everywhere there was a mood of buoyancy and optimism. That mood only increased as the Convention progressed.
Truly these are history-making times in which we live. Exhilarating and depressing, but certainly exciting. Who knows what will happen. All we know is that we are part of it.
We certainly are at a turning point in the history of the United States. Barbara and I continue to be thrilled to be activists in these tumultuous times in which we live.
Worldwide Conference on Euthanasia
Recently, pro-life leaders and experts in the field of euthanasia from throughout the world gathered in Hilversum, Holland, for an international conference – The Threat of Euthanasia. Hilversum, a picturesque Dutch village, is located near Amsterdam, in the heart of the pro-euthanasia movement.
Conference Chairman John C. Willke, MD, who is also the President of the International Right to Life Federation, opened the proceedings and welcomed presenters and participants. The event was co-hosted by the International Right to Life Federation and Schreeuw om Leven (Cry for Life), a Dutch pro-life, pro-family organization, under the leadership of Bert and Willie Dorenbos. Those gathered resembled a list of who’s who of world pro-life leaders representing the countries of : America, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Zambia and The Netherlands.
Dr. Willke provided a global update on pro-life trends and strategies to fight euthanasia. Greg Smith, President of New South Wales Right to Life of Australia, briefed the audience on the history, current status and future plans to reverse the first ever doctor-assisted euthanasia bill, officially passed into law. Krijn J.P. Haasnoot, MD, President of Holland’s Dutch Physicians’ League, shared what medical doctors, around the world, were doing to fight euthanasia.
Other presenters included: Mrs. Phyllis Bowman, President of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, who highlighted England’s world-leading hospice network. As a result of this superb system, they have been able to keep euthanasia from the shores of the United Kingdom. Brad Mattes, Executive Director of Life Issues Institute, presented a detailed report of the strategies of several pro-life entities working to stop euthanasia in America. Holland’s K.F. Gunning, MD, President of the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life, addressed the looming question of pain and suffering.
Barbara Willke, RN, also representing Life Issues Institute, revealed trends of pro-euthanasia organizations in America. Dr. Bert Dorenbos presented a paper on how new technology can be used to further the cause for life. In addition, he and John Smeaton of England shared practical ways in which this technology can be accessed and effectively used.
Conference participants were able to tour the first and only (to date) hospice in Amsterdam. There’s a tremendous need for such a facility in this large city. It is lovingly providing realistic alternatives to euthanasia, which is widely practiced, but not officially sanctioned, in The Netherlands. Latest
figures report that of the 120,000 Dutch people who die each year, over 20,000 are killed by doctors.
Attendees were also treated to a private concert, held at the Kerbrink, a beautifully restored historic European church. The two hundred-plus voice choir was an inspiration to those gathered to protect innocent life.
The timing of this worldwide gathering was of particular importance due to the increased activity of pro-euthanasia forces around the world and pending court cases in the United States and Canada that will have a profound impact on society.
The contents of each presentation at this conference is currently being prepared for publication and will soon be available.
Jack Kemp on Abortion
Bob Dole’s selection of Jack Kemp as his Vice Presidential running mate took many by surprise. Kemp, who has been on the political scene for years, is still seen as an unknown among many political observers. To help shed light on Mr. Kemp’s position on abortion, we have decided to share with our readers highlights of an interview Dr. Willke did with Mr. Kemp regarding his position. The entire interview ran in our July 1993 issue.
WILLKE: You said, “I am pro-life. I believe strongly in the sanctity of human life. I want to reduce America’s runaway abortion-on-demand. We must aid adoption. It is important for us to move from a legal framework to changing hearts and minds.” Is this an accurate quote?
KEMP: Yes. As Mr. Jefferson said, ‘The God who gave us freedom gave us life.’ Both need to be defended. We must show women that we have compassion for them and for the life of their children, after, as well as before birth. I know you agree, Dr. Willke, that the way you express your defense of human life is as important as the position itself, insofar as convincing people is concerned. I was a strong supporter of the pro-life cause in Congress, and I will continue to advance these views.
WILLKE: What will your political position be on parental consent and notification?
KEMP: Strongly supportive.
WILLKE: A waiting period before an abortion?
KEMP: Absolutely! The Republican Party must not run away from its pro-life position. We must reaffirm our principles of human rights and civil rights for all people.
WILLKE: Clinical regulation of abortion facilities?
KEMP: Yes, of course, emphatically yes.
WILLKE: Assuming you want to protect the unborn, do you have any exceptions?
KEMP: Yes an exception to save her life, when it’s threatened.
WILLKE: What of funding?
KEMP: I have voted for the Hyde Amendment in the past and would have voted for its broader form this year which included rape and incest.
WILLKE: What is your position on rape and incest?
KEMP: My position has always been pro-life. I think it was wise, during the recent debate over the Hyde Amendment, to broaden the bill to support the life of the mother, rape and incest…Otherwise we would have lost the Hyde Amendment completely, opening the door to
WILLKE: In other words you favor achieving what is possible.
KEMP: I think what is possible is very important. I think the pro-life movement, as you yourself have demonstrated, has to find ways of reaching the vast center of the political spectrum without sacrificing basic principles.
WILLKE: What about the Mexico City policy?
KEMP: I was one of the strongest supporters in the Congress of the Mexico City policy. It was the Mexico City policy decision by Reagan that led Senator Bob Kasten and me to put an end to the money going to the UNFPA for population control, infanticide and euthanasia in China.
WILLKE: What about the Big Tent? The Litmus test?
KEMP: I don’t talk about a Big Tent. I talk about inclusion, not exclusion. I talk about making the conservative movement progressive, not reactionary. There are certain things, however, that have a basic ethical, moral, conservative and fundamental principles behind them. Among these in my view are…limited government, lower taxes, free trade, peace through strength, recognition of the family as the basic unit of society and respect for human life.
WILLKE: One of your assets is that you have a certain empathy, a certain communication with and support of minority races, particularly blacks. They voted overwhelming against Bush. Two-thirds of black people oppose abortion, but the black caucus has been solidly pro-abortion. Do you see that relating to our issue in any way?
KEMP: Yes! I haven’t spoken before a lot of African-American groups on the issue of abortion, although I’ve read some of the things your fine organization has turned out. I think it is a travesty that the party of Lincoln only got 10% of the black vote in this last election.
I think the Republican Party cannot compete effectively with the current Democrat president, if it turns its back on people of color.
WILLKE: You have very strong convictions on economic issues. Do these relate to our pro-life issue?
KEMP: I think the economic stability of the family is absolutely critical to rebuilding our party’s attraction in the inner cities and with men and women of color. I’ve always said that children, regardless of race, are our greatest resource. It was the economy that defeated George Bush in my view, not his pro-life position. In fact, this was a plus. So, when I talk about an inclusive party, I think that means accepting and working with men and women with whom I might have disagreements on certain issues. But there is a lode-star to follow. The lode-star for Republicans is Lincoln’s view of the party, not Bill Clinton’s left-wing social positions.
On August 19, 1996 Mr. Kemp was quoted by the New York Post: “Wherever you stand on the issue of abortion…I can’t imagine our nation being that city on the hill if we continue to allow the partial-birth abortion tragedy. ….Liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly agreed to ban the practice in the Congress, and the president vetoed it.”
Bob Dole & Bill Clinton on Abortion
Bob Dole’s position may be best summed up by the remarks that he made, supported by his voting record, at a Family Forum event in Iowa:
“When I am President, my first full day in office will be declared American Family Day. As President, I will rescind every one of those acts of federal coercion that Clinton enacted on his first day in office.
“In a Dole administration, abortion on demand will no longer be the policy of the federal government. As long as we hold the White House, federal agencies will be in the business of licensing drugs that promote life, not death. And our federal tax dollars will not be used to promote abortion overseas.
“As your President, I will sign an executive order to prohibit federal funding for destructive experimentation on living human embryos.
“We can talk all day about children’s issues, as liberals often do. But it will be just that — hollow talk — if we don’t have enough love in our hearts to care for the most innocent among us. All our talk about a less violent, more caring society will come to nothing unless we protect the sanctity of human life. Until the day comes when we overturn Roe v. Wade, why can’t we require parental consent before a minor obtains an abortion? Why can’t we stop partial-birth abortions? Why can’t we get the government out of the business of promoting abortions? The truth is, we can — and with the right leadership in the White House — we will.
“The Oval Office should be a place of moral leadership for America. But, for the past three years, it has not been. The policies of the federal government should be rooted in the values embraced by the American people. But our current President has advocated policies that undermine those values. The executive orders he signed were among the first examples.
“Abortion is not an issue of when life begins, it’s a question of when love begins. It’s a question of what kind of people we are and aspire to become. A spirit of hope is evident across America — in crisis pregnancy centers, in groups finding homes for children, by churches and synagogues caring for unwed mothers, and by teenagers promoting abstinence. This will be the spirit of the Dole administration, for this is the spirit of America.”
An actual count of Mr. Dole’s Senate votes on abortion has been made by two contrasting organizations, which have given almost identical results. The National Abortion Rights Action League attributes 105 pro-life votes to Dole out of a total of 111. The National Right to Life Committee gives him 106 out of 112. These two compilations result in a 95.5% pro-life voting record over the last two decades.
Jack Kemp, as his running mate, has a 100% pro-life voting record.
Bill Clinton’s position on abortion is clear based on his actions as President:
He repealed regulations which prohibited counseling and referral for abortions in federal family planning clinics.
He repealed the Reagan/Bush directives that prohibited abortions in military facilities overseas.
He repealed Reagan/Bush’s Mexico City policy which had denied overseas family planning groups assistance if they “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.”
He directed the Dept. of Health & Human Services and the FDA to expedite licensing of the abortion pill RU 486.
He supported the repeal of the Hyde amendment, but Congress passed it over his objections; however, he did get a rape-incest exception.
He tried to again use your tax money to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia. Congress refused.
Under Reagan and Bush, your tax money had not been used to pay for abortions for government employees. Clinton wanted you to pay for them, but Congress refused.
The Helms Amendment, since 1973, forbids the government to actually pay for abortions overseas. Clinton would like to repeal this amendment.
Health Care — Hillary Clinton’s socialized medicine included making abortion-on-demand a federally mandated, tax paid “service” in every region of every state. It did not pass.
Clinton supported FOCA, the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have wiped out even minor state restrictions on abortions. FOCA did not pass.
He has pushed for international legalization of abortion through the United Nations. And with this, heavy lobbying and specific pressure on underdeveloped countries at the Cairo, Beijing and Turkey conferences.
He supported funding for the United Nations’ fund for population activity. This is the group that supports the coercive abortion policy and program in China.
He supported experimentation on live, embryonic human babies — he appointed a National Institute of Health advisory panel, every member of which supported destructive embryo experimentation.
He has made strongly pro-abortion appointments from the highest to the lowest levels of government.
He vetoed the bill to ban partial-birth, late-term abortions Vice President Al Gore shares Clinton’s strong pro-abortion position.
FDA Panel Moves on RU 486
Recently, an advisory panel to the US Food & Drug Administration recommended the approval of marketing of the French abortion pill, RU 486, in the United States.
Sadly, this predictable, political event bore little relationship to the usual scientific evaluation that we expect from the FDA.
Soon after President Clinton’s inauguration, he announced that one of his goals would be to have RU 486 quickly approved for marketing. The commissioner of the FDA, Dr. David Kessler, announced, contrary to everything that’s ever come out of the FDA, that, when the drug application was submitted, he would see that it would be approved within six months.
The minimum time any life-saving drug has been approved in recent years was 19 months. Typically, other drugs take three to five years. This is not a life-saving drug – it is a life-taking drug.
From the beginning, the advisory panel was stacked with abortion-supporters. Life Issues Institute and 10 other leading national pro-life, pro-family organizations addressed this issue with the FDA in a letter requesting that six of the people on the panel be removed, complete with documentation.
In an unusually rapid reply one week later, the FDA denied that there was any conflict of interest and stated that these people’s previous activities would have no bearing on their judgment. However, three of the six did not participate, likely because of our letter.
There were three that did: The panel chairman, Dr. Ezra Davidson, had signed on to a full-page ad in the Washington Post defending unrestricted abortion and opposing any legislation restricting it. He was a member of the steering committee of Physicians for Choice of Planned Parenthood.
Dr. Diana Petitti also had a public pro-abortion track record.
Dr. Philip Corfman, executive secretary of the panel, was responsible for overseeing the planning and conduct of the hearing. He has been an employee of Planned Parenthood, and was a founding member of a leading pro-RU 486 lobbying organization, the Reproductive Health Technology Project.
The panel reviewed data from two French clinical trials that reported on a total of 2,500 women. It also accepted preliminary results from more recent American trials involving 2,100 women. The American data were preliminary, and have not been thoroughly reviewed nor verified. One of the members of the panel, Dr. Mary Jo O’Sullivan, Professor and Director of Obstetrics at the University of Miami School of Medicine, publicly stated, “I don’t know why this meeting is being held at this time when the data are not finalized.” She pointed to the fact that this has never happened before – that the final data were not due for at least another six months, and that to accept preliminary data on such a controversial drug was unheard-of.
The final approval by the FDA does not have to follow the advisory panel’s recommendations. However, it usually does. Of the eight members of the panel, the final vote was seven in favor, with one abstention. An earlier vote had been six to two to affirm that the French studies had established the efficacy of using RU 486. A third vote, six to two, stated that the benefits outweighed the risks.
Panel member Dr. O’Sullivan, when discussing the risk/benefit ratio, pointedly asked, “Benefit to whom? If you’re talking about the woman, it may be beneficial to her, but it’s of no benefit to the baby whatsoever.”
Another disturbing issue was who should not take the pill. In France the pill cannot be given to those who smoked 10 or more cigarettes a day, had heart and circulation problems, asthma, glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney, liver or adrenal problems, anemia, and if they were over age 35. No recommendation was voted on by this panel as to whether women with such health problems would be excluded in the United States if this drug were licensed.
Another disturbing fact was that the US tests did not examine women 18 and under. The recommended approval does not exclude its use for women 18 and under, further evidence of the unscientific approach that is being taken in licensing this drug.
One of the few good things that came out of the hearing is that advocates of RU 486 wanted approval for use up to nine weeks, or 63 days, after the first day of her last normal menstrual period. The panel, however, recommended that it only be used from 5 to 7 weeks. This means that if she comes in when she is one week overdue for her missed period, the pill can only be used in those next two weeks.
And who would administer it? The panel merely stated that the abortionist who uses the RU 486/Cytotec combination must be able to diagnose and date pregnancy, identify a tubal pregnancy, have ultra-sound available and be able to do an emergency D&C to stop hemorrhage or to complete the abortion. Any doctor with a license to practice medicine could qualify under these recommendations.
Very disturbing was their recommendation that RU 486 must be administered “under the supervision of a physician”. It did not say “given by a physician”. This means that a nurse or physician assistant, rather than a doctor, may be the only person the aborted woman sees.
In short, this panel relied upon the experience of France which has a far more rigid and controlled patient population than the US. The testing that they relied on from France is not comparable to the medical practice in the US.
Media Bias Documented
The Media Research Center is an organization dedicated to policing the media. Its goal is to expose unfair treatment of conservative issues by the press. Recently, they examined three national newspapers and network TV programs, in the evening, morning, and on prime-time. Mr. Tim Graham and Steve Kaminski monitored these media giants to see whether or not there was favoritism for one side or the other on the abortion issue. They investigated four areas.
Using labels to influence opinion. They found that Republicans who favored legal abortions were described as moderate in 116 stories. However, pro-life Republicans were described as far-right, hard right, extreme right. Corresponding terms for abortion advocates such as hard-left or far left were never used.
The political impact of being pro-life. Almost universally, the media predicted that this would be a negative influence. Remember that not a single pro-life incumbent was beaten in the ’94 elections. Even so, back then 48 stories predicted that pro-life advocacy would harm the candidates. How many suggested it would be a plus? Only one.
Ignoring pro-life Democrat politicians not a single pro-life Democrat appeared as a talking head on TV in an abortion story.
The Media Research Center also examined network coverage of the National Republican Convention recently held in San Diego, CA. Here are a few of their observations:
“Just after rape victim Jan Licence’s speech on victim’s rights last night, NBC’s Maria Shriver seemed baffled: ‘But why [speak out] at a Republican convention? So many people have said that they don’t think this ticket, or perhaps this party, is supportive of women’s issues. Why make this stand here?’ Tom Brokaw interviewed Licence later and asked: ‘Do you think–this is a party that is dominated by men and this convention is dominated by men as well…Do you think before tonight they thought very much about what happens in America with rape?’ “
“Here’s how Bryant Gumbel opened the Tuesday Today: ‘Good morning.