From Ireland to Africa: What Happened in the Pro-Life Movement in 2017

No matter where you turn, it's been a significant year for the pro-life movement.

By Liberty McArtor Published on December 31, 2017

Irish pro-lifers are battling efforts to legalize abortion. In Iceland, 100 percent of pregnant women who screen positive for Down syndrome get abortions. Here in the U.S., Planned Parenthood is under federal investigation.

No matter where you turn, it’s been a significant year for the pro-life movement. Here’s a look at a few of 2017’s biggest pro-life moments.

The U.S. 

Department of Justice Announces Planned Parenthood Investigation

Fox News reported in December that the Department of Justice will investigate Planned Parenthood. 

The investigation comes after the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) secretly recorded Planned Parenthood officials and partners. The videos, released starting in 2015, show them discussing the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue. As a result, both the House and Senate investigated Planned Parenthood. Both houses asked the DOJ to conduct a federal investigation. 

For more on the DOJ’s investigation and the evidence against Planned Parenthood, read this National Review report.

Trump Helps Defund Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is fighting tooth and nail to stay open after the horror exposed in CMP’s undercover videos. Meanwhile, pro-life activists are calling for the 100-year-old organization’s defunding. President Donald Trump took a major step toward that goal in April, when he signed a bill overturning part of the Obama-era HHS mandate. The former rule kept states from defunding abortion facilities. Now, they have more leeway in deciding whether to fund them.

Federal law already prevents taxpayer money from funding abortions directly. But Planned Parenthood still received significant government funding. Its 2015-16 annual report revealed over $500 million dollars in government grants. Meanwhile, its abortions grew by nearly 5,000 from its previous report. Other services it often touts, like cancer screenings, continued shrinking.

In April, The Stream reported on a video released by Live Action. It shows that in the last decade, Planned Parenthood’s annual breast exams dropped by 60 percent. It now does less than 2 percent of the nation’s breast exams. Pap tests have dropped by 77 percent, accounting for less than 1 percent of all pap tests in the nation. Abortions increased by 27 percent between 2004 and 2014. Today, Planned Parenthood performs nearly 35 percent of America’s abortions. And in the last decade, it’s closed 200 of its facilities.


Pro-lifers Fight to Save the 8th

Thanks to the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, abortion is illegal in Ireland, except to save the mother’s life. But some are pushing for the amendment’s repeal. Earlier this year, a Citizens Assembly of 100 people voted in favor of legalizing abortion. Next year, citizens will vote to keep or scrap the amendment.

Niamh Ui Bhriain, a prominent Irish pro-life activist, spoke with The Stream in August. She claimed the Citizens Assembly was biased, not reflecting public opinion. Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy wrote in May that the assembly “wasn’t designed to be representative of people’s views on abortion.” 

“Asked simply if abortion should be available on request, two-thirds (67 per cent) say no,” he wrote of the nation’s attitude toward abortion.

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Still, the pro-choice movement is growing. And Ui Bhriain blames foreign funding. For instance, Open Society Foundations has poured money into pro-choice Irish organizations. One was even ordered to return the money, since receiving foreign funds for political campaigns is illegal. 

But the grassroots “Save the 8th” movement is going strong, Ui Bhriain contended. She believes there’s one reason the pro-choice world is so desperate to dump the Eighth Amendment. “They know pro-lifers the world over can look to Ireland as a real, proven example of why abortion is never necessary.”


Babies With Down Syndrome Are Being Wiped Out

In Iceland, you won’t find many people with Down syndrome. As CBS reported in August, “In Iceland Down syndrome is on the verge of being eradicated.” Why? Because of the prevalence of genetic testing on the island. And 100 percent of pregnant women who test positive for Down syndrome have abortions. 

Icelandic law does not require women to take the test. But it does require doctors to inform them of the test, which most women take. It’s only accurate 85 percent of the time, however. This means some children with Down syndrome are born anyway. Not because they were wanted. But because their mothers received a false negative in the screening. 

The number of children with Down syndrome aborted in Iceland is the most dramatic. But numbers are high around the world. CBS reported that in France, 77 percent of women who receive a positive Down syndrome screening abort their babies. In Denmark, 98 percent. In the United States, 67. 


Pro-Life Activist Plans to Expose Western Pro-Choice Organizations in Documentary

A biomedical scientist and a native of Nigeria, Obianuju Ekeocha advocates for life, particularly in Africa. There, she argues that most people are pro-life and do not want the Western family planning  pushed on them. 

In fact, she plans to expose how Africans are hurt by family planning efforts in a feature-length documentary. She spoke to The Stream in July about the upcoming film. 

“Their voices are some of the world’s ignored and unheard voices,” she said of the women in the documentary. “My hope is that their voices will finally get heard and that people of good will everywhere would demand justice for these women.” She also hopes “Western governments would review and change their approach in dealing with Africa.” 

In a recent email to The Stream, Ekeocha said Strings Attached is in post-production. She hopes for an early 2018 release. Ekeocha will also release her new book, Target Africa, in February of 2018.

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