Posted on | January 9, 2014 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
Only four weeks after the notorious Estrela-Report’s spectacular defeat in the European Parliament’s plenary session of 10 December, the EU’s abortionist-homosexualist lobby launches a new attempt to get at least some form of approval for its sinister agenda from the European Parliament. This time they seek to instrumentalize the European Commission to provide the occasion for a surprise attack.
On 16 January the plenary agenda of the EP includes a Commission statement on “Non-discrimination in the framework of sexual and reproductive health and rights”, i.e. a statement to be made by a representative of the European Commission. As it appears, the S&D group wants to use his opportunity to achieve a new resolution on sexual health (presumably with the same or similar content as the defeated Estrela-Report) by requesting the use of a procedure foreseen by Rule 110 of the EP Rules. Indeed, Rule 110 states that “Members of the Commission, the Council and the European Council may at any time ask the President of Parliament for permission to make a statement.” A resolution might be added at a later stage: “When placing a statement with debate on its agenda, Parliament shall decide whether or not to wind up the debate with a resolution.”
In other terms, the S&D group does not accept that citizens don’t want the Estrela-Agenda. For them he promotion of abortion, the undermining of freedom of conscience, and the imposition of compulsory sex education programs is the absolute top priority.
What can ordinary citizens do to defend themselves against these repeated attacks by a decadent and disconnected caste of politicians? All those who have written to their MEPs to make them vote against the Estrela-Report should again do so. And all who disagree with the homosexualist-abortionist agenda should use the upcoming elections to vote against the politicians who support it.
More information is available here.
Postscript: It now emerges that what is behind this initiative of the S&D Group to ask the Commission for a statement on “reproductive health” is an attempt to “internationalize” the intra-Spanish debate on a new abortion law. As was reported in a previous post on this blog, the Spanish government is planning to repeal the ultra-radical abortion law that was pushed through by the anti-life Zapatero administration some years ago, and which was the first law in Europe to define abortion as a “right”. The new law, though not ideal, would mark an important step into the right direction. Instead of defining abortion as a “right”, it would clarify that abortion is a grave injustice that can be tolerated only under exceptional circumstances. This new law would also be of great symbolic importance: it would demonstrate that there it is not the natural course of events that abortion laws become more and more radical, but that a turn-around is possible. Progress is on the side of life, not on the side of child-killing.
No wonder that the retrograde PSOE-marxists are angry and scared. For them the Zapatero-era, where the concepts of marriage and parenthood were distorted beyond recognizability, abortion was made available on demand, and school curricula contained compulsory courses on masturbation, was the apogee of civilisation. Their strategy is now to attack their own country from the outside, using the anti-life lobby of the European Parliament as partners.
Posted on | January 9, 2014 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has decided to hear the case of Adelina Parillo v. Italy (no 46470/11), which has serious implications for the question of the legal status enjoyed by the human embryo.
The case concerns a woman who in 2002, at the age of 48, decided together with her husband to have children by means of medically assisted procreation (MAP). Five embryos were created for this purpose and frozen for future implantation, the applicant suffering from endometriosis. In 2003, the applicant lost her husband and gave up the idea of having one of the embryos implanted. Eight years later, in 2011, dissatisfied that Article 13 of the Italian Act 40/2004 (Act 40) forbids the destruction of human embryos (including through scientific research), the applicant applied directly to the ECtHR, without exhaustion of national remedies. She alleges that her “property rights” over the five frozen embryos (Article 1 of Protocol No. 1) and her “right to private life” (Article 8) have been breached by this law which prohibits her from “donating” the embryos to scientific researchers, “obliging her to keep them in a state of cryopreservation until they were no longer viable”.
Claiming a right of “property” over the embryos implies that they are mere things, and not persons or subjects of law.
The fact that the ECtHR has agreed to even consider this case is alarming, given the Court’s long-standing failure in providing due protection to the human embryo’s right to life, which was in recent years supplanted by incremental efforts to construe a “right to abortion” through the backdoor, using the “right to respect for one’s private life” as a pretext. As I write this, no one is able to predict to which levels the ECtHR might still push its juridical aberrances.
An important precedent was set in the case Vo vs. France, in which the Court was asked to decide whether it was sufficient for France to protect the life of an unborn child not through criminal law, but solely by providing the mother a possibility of bringing civil action against a medical practitioner whose malpractice had caused here to lose the child with which she was pregnant. In that case, the Court made the following rather bizarre statement:
84. At European level, the Court observes that there is no consensus on the nature and status of the embryo and/or foetus (see paragraphs 39-40 above), although they are beginning to receive some protection in the light of scientific progress and the potential consequences of research into genetic engineering, medically assisted procreation or embryo experimentation. At best, it may be regarded as common ground between States that the embryo/foetus belongs to the human race. The potentiality of that being and its capacity to become a person – enjoying protection under the civil law, moreover, in many States, such as France, in the context of inheritance and gifts, and also in the United Kingdom (see paragraph 72 above) – require protection in the name of human dignity, without making it a “person” with the “right to life” for the purposes of Article 2.
This statement is rather strange, as there certainly is scientific consensus that the human embryo is a human being that, having a unique and distinct genetic identity, cannot be considered a part of its mother. But if it is a human being, there should be no room for doubt that it also is a bearer of human rights, including the most fundamental of all human rights, which is the right to life.
But that conclusion apparently did not square with the decision the judges wanted to make. Therefore, they decided to introduce a completely new criterion: “personhood”. In other words, to enjoy the right to life (or any other human right) it is no longer sufficient to be a human being. Instead, one must qualify as a “person”.
One might have expected that, if being a “person” is the key to being a bearer of human rights (which henceforth should more appropriately be called “person rights”), the Court would spare no effort to find a criterion that would allow it to distinguish “persons” from “non-persons”. But the Court made no such effort. Instead, it wrote the following:
85. Having regard to the foregoing, the Court is convinced that it is neither desirable, nor even possible as matters stand, to answer in the abstract the question whether the unborn child is a person for the purposes of Article 2 of the Convention (“personne” in the French text).
Admittedly, while it is self-evident that the unborn child is a human being, the criterion of “personhood” appears rather arbitrary: given its rather “philosophical” nature, anyone can define it as he chooses. And precisely this may have been the reason why the Court has decided to use it: it can be manipulated so as to avoid the (perhaps unwelcome, but under normal circumstances unavoidable) conclusion that the unborn child is a bearer of human rights, and that abortion therefore is a human rights violation.
But the subterfuge used by the Court is patently absurd. First of all, if one carefully reads Article 2 in other languages than French, it quickly becomes clear that the authors of the Convention had no intention at all to distinguish between “human beings” and “persons”. The decision is based upon the wilful misinterpretation of one single linguistic version of the Convention, while all other linguistic versions were arbitrarily set aside.
Secondly, one is tempted to wonder why it would be “undesirable” to answer the question whether an unborn child is a “person”. Given the unclear meaning of the term, it may be impossible – but undesirable?? Was the Court afraid of the practical consequences that the answer to this question might have implied?
Thirdly, one would also like to understand the meaning of the words “in the abstract” in this context: does the Court believe that the “personhood” (and hence the entitlement to a right to life) of an unborn child should be examined on a case-by-case basis?? If no, what other meaning can the words “in the abstract” possibly have?
The Vo Decision leaves a very bad haut-gout: quite obviously, the judges first made the “political” decision to avoid a judgment that would imply that the unborn child must be considered as a bearer of human rights, as that would inevitably have had implication for the abortion issue. And after having made that “political” decision, they went looking for seemingly “legal” arguments that would lend support to that decision. What a travesty! This is precisely what judges should never do – especially when the “legal” reasoning they finally manage to come up with is as moronic as the two paragraphs quoted above…
With the Vo decision the ECtHR has thus once and for all times forfeited its credibility as an impartial and highly qualified human rights institution that has the willingness and capability to base is decisions on sound legal reasoning. What followed since hat day was a seemingly endless series of equally misguided decisions, so that at least we don’t have any illusion that this Court will ever make a positive contribution to the protection of human rights in Europe. The best we can reasonably hope for is that it abstains from inflicting further damage to the human rights idea.
But this at least is something we have the right to expect. If, according to the Vo Decision, “it is (not) possible as matters stand, to answer in the abstract the question whether the unborn child is a person”, then a national legislator must have, without the shadow of a doubt, have a wide margin of discretion to answer this question as he thinks fit, and to legislate accordingly. In the case at hand, Parrillo v. Italy, the Italian law is clearly based on the assumption that the human embryo is not a “thing”, but a person.
Should the ECtHR uphold the applicant’s allegation that her “property rights” have been violated, then this would be the first case in which a human rights court would define a human being as a “thing” that could be the object of someone else’s property rights. I hope that this would be the very last decision this wretched Court is allowed to make before it is dissolved…
Posted on | January 9, 2014 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
In a recent press conference on the implementation of the EU’s newly adopted research framework programme “Horizon 2020″, Research Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was asked by a journalist how the Commission was going to respond to the Citizen’s Initiative “One of Us”, through which 1.9 million citizens asked the Commission to exclude from EU funding research projects that involve the destruction of human embryos.
The Commissioner’s answer was that the Commission does not see any need to take into account what citizens are asking for. As she pointed out, the Commission finds it sufficient to abide by a set of rules that was already included in the previous framework programme, and which blocked the EU from funding projects that did not abide by the legislation of the Member State in which they are carried out.
Now, it is certainly a great achievement, isn’t it, for the EU not to finance activities that are illegal in the Member State where they are carried out – thank you, Commissioner, for this generous concession! Upon listening to you, one might think that the Commission had seriously contemplated the funding of such illegal activities, and that we all should be grateful that finally it was decided not to do so…
But that is, as Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn must be aware, obviously not a sufficient response to what the petition has asked for. In the EU, the destruction of human embryos for research purposes is a highly controversial issue – there are some Member States in which such research activities are illegal, whereas others have legalized it. The Commission’s stated policy not only fails to prevent the ethically controversial research from taking place, but, by obliging Member States with high ethical standards to co-finance activities that can only take place in the countries that have adopted the lowest ethical standards, it actually creates an uneven playing field to the advantage of the latter. In doing so, it exerts economic pressure on Member States to lower their ethical standards: they are in any case obliged to put their citizen’s money into this Frankenstein-style research, but they can only benefit from that money if they accept to apply lower ethical standards. In other words, the Commission very openly encourages a race to the (ethical) bottom.
While these implications should be fairly obvious, Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn prefers to play stupid. But does she seriously believe that citizen’s will be misled? Her assertions that “all projects must undergo a rigorous ethical review” cannot even be regarded as “lip-service” – they are just plainly ridiculous and completely devoid of any credibility.
The story will certainly not end here. The organizers of the citizens’ initiative will certainly not consider that this is an appropriate way of dealing with their petition, and they will continue to press for a research policy that is based on sound moral principles. Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn’s mandate ends this year, and it is likely that a different person will assume responsibility for the EU’s research policy as from summer 2014. The issues raised by the citizens’ initiative are likely to re-appear in the electoral campaign preceding the elections to the European Parliament in May, as well as in the hearings preceding the nomination of any future Research Commissioner.
But the issue raises an institutional question that, reaching far beyond the individual case of “One of Us”, has important implications for all present and future citizens’ initiatives: is the European Commission completely free to not endorse a successful Citizen’s Initiative??? Can it turn down a legislative proposal that has been endorsed by more than a million citizens without giving any reasons at all, or by offering an intellectually feeble reasoning such as the one proffered by Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn in the present case, which is just as good as offering no reasons at all?
The relevant legislation, Regulation No 211/2011, is not very explicit on this point. What it says is that within 3 months after having received the submission of a successful citizens’ initiative, the Commission must “set out in a communication its legal and political conclusions on the citizens’ initiative, the action it intends to take, if any, and its reasons for taking or not taking that action”.
At a first glance, this rather sounds as if, from a purely legal point of view, the Commission were under no obligation at all to launch a legislative procedure that might lead to the adoption of the measures that “One of Us” has proposed. But at a second glance it seems clear that the Commission cannot simply refuse to take action without giving any reason at all – and this in turn implies that, if the whole procedure is not to be turned into a farce, it would be inadmissible for the Commission to base its decision on “reasons” that survive no scrutiny. In other words, it is arguable that the reasoning offered by the Commission must be open to review, and that, if the Commission finds no compelling arguments for not doing what the successful citizens’ initiative has been asking for, it is under an obligation to take action.
There is thus some margin of discretion for the Commission, but it cannot be unlimited. If it were limited, then it would not make any sense for anyone to make the effort of organizing a citizens’ initiatives and collect 1 million statements of support. It would suffice to write a letter to the Commission in which one sets out a proposal: if the Commission likes the idea, it will transform it into a legislative proposal – if it doesn’t, it will abstain from doing so. But the purpose of a “citizens’ initiative” precisely is to bypass the Commission’s exclusive right to make legislative proposals, and to give a “right of initiative” to citizens. If the Commission had a right to veto a successful initiative, the newly created possibility of launching EU-wide citizens’ initiative would entirely lose its sense – and one fails to see why any citizen would still want to launch such an initiative.
The way in which the Commission handles “One of Us” is therefore an important test for the EU’s ambitions to reduce its democratic deficit. If the initiative is not correctly handled, this will affect not only “One of Us”, but the idea of citizens’ participation in general. But Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn’s misguided and arrogant reply makes us fear the worst.
You can listen to Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn’s press conference here. The issue of stem cell research comes up at min 5:15.
Posted on | December 24, 2013 by Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
Despite media sources reporting “outrage” and “opposition” to protest Spain’s new abortion laws. Aside from a few disreputable youths that got in the face of spanish police and were unfortunately hurt as a result, no one in Spain is complaining. In fact, most people think the reforms are quite sensible. And then there are the millions of Spaniards who are happy that their politicians have listened to them. They were able to bring over 1 million people in the streets of Madrid in 2009 in the lead up to Zapatero’s liberal overhaul of Spain’s laws. Now they are finally vindicated. You can see them in a picture in a Guardian article of all places!
Posted on | December 22, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
Some days ago I wrote that I was not going to write any further posts on the European Parliament’s vote to reject the so-called “Estrela-Report”, but somehow I am not able to live up to this good intention. Already yesterday I had to revisit this subject, and today there is again news that I should briefly comment upon. I can’t help it. But I do hope that the Estrela-hype will soon be over on this blog.
The importance of this pro-life victory is best illustrated by the angry and aggressive reactions it provoked within the abortion-lobby, which for decade had been able to advance the anti-life agenda slowly but steadily and without much public scrutiny, by small steps. Many of those small steps came in the form of legally non-binding documents for which the Estrela-Report was a perfect example: although the content was radical, they usually did not meet much resistance, because there was not much media coverage (and if there was, it usually was very friendly). But this situation has changed now. Sparked by radical legislation in several Member States (such as Spain under Prime Minister Zapatero, or France under President Hollande), there is growing awareness among citizens that seemingly “harmless” non-binding documents such as the Estrela-Report are not as inconsequential as they might seem, and that there is a need to fight against them from the very first outset. In addition, the successful citizen’s initiative “One of Us” has for the first time resulted in a Europe-wide mobilisation of the “senior pars” of society. The tide might be turning, and issues like the right to life, marriage, and the family, are now in the spotlight of political debate at the EU, even though the EU has no competence for them. Indeed, these issues might become decisive for the outcome of the upcoming European elections. This is clearly not in the interest of the abortionist/homosexualist lobbies, which, despite being heavily subsidized by the European Commission and the governments of certain Member States, in reality do not represent more than a few thousand people. They have been successful as long as they could work unnoticed in the penumbrae of the EU’s institutions, but they cannot be successful when normal citizens (i.e. those with normal jobs and normal families) become aware of what they are doing.
Despite relating to a legally non-binding text, the Estrela-Report was the European Parliament’s most important vote in the last five years, and the abortionist/homosexualist lobby (it always comes in a package!) has lost it. It suffices to see the faces, and listen to the reactions, of Edite Estrela, Mikael Gustafsson (just look at this video!!!), or Ulrike Lunacek, to understand how devastating a blow this is to them.
A further indicator of the importance of the Estrela vote are the abortionist/homosexualist lobby’s desperate attempts to get it reversed, or at least to relativize it, on the base of the most absurd and childish arguments.
On the website of the “European Parliamentary Forum for Population and Development” (EPF, which isthe rather euphemistic name for a coalition of pro-abortion lobbies such as IPPF, Marie Stopes International, and similar groups), one can read the following:
Distorted vote on the Estrela report: the European Parliament shows continued support for SRHR
BRUSSELS, 19 December – Following last week’s news that the European Parliament voted against an anti-choice position but also resolved not to endorse the progressive Estrela report on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), it has emerged that the voting results were seriously affected by several technical errors.
Originally it was declared that the joint European People’s Party (EPP)/European Conservative and Reformists (ECR) alternative resolution had passed by a margin of seven votes replacing the Estrela report. But this figure has now been revised following the correction of errors in last week’s vote. It was revealed that an equal number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted for and against the alternative EPP/ECR resolution where a number of MEPs votes were recorded incorrectly, or not recorded at all. Had these votes been correctly recorded, the EPP/ECR resolution would have been rejected, enabling a move to vote on the Estrela Report. In addition, as reported by several MEPs and the recording of the plenary session, the simultaneous interpretation of the statement of, Edite Estrela calling to vote against the EPP/ECR resolution prior to the vote was misleading.
Sadly, according to the rules of procedures, the vote as confirmed during the plenary last Tuesday still stands in spite of this news.
While only a few votes were recorded inaccurately, the fact that this would have been sufficient to change the outcome in favour of SRHR reveals the true depth and breadth of support for SRHR across many political groups in the European Parliament. (…)
On some other websites one even can read calls for the vote to be repeated. There also is a Youtube video to document how the simultaneous interpretation of Mrs. Estrela’s speech (which was in Portuguese) into German and French (the two most important mother tongues in Europe) was incorrect and thus misleading. While Mrs. Estrela in fact invited the House to “vote against the two alternative motions so that my draft report can be adopted”, the French and German interprets translated her words as saying that MEPs should “vote in favour of the alternative motion”.
As the video shows, there can be no doubt that the simultaneous interpretations were indeed incorrect. Nevertheless, the claim that this could be used as a basis for calling into question the validity (or at least the political importance) of the vote is so outlandish that I even tend to find it amusing rather than annoying. Indeed, these childishly silly arguments not only bear witness to a very poor understanding of democratic parliamentary procedures, but they are even self-defeating:
1. Firstly, it should be noted that what is decisive in the European Parliament is of course the actual vote, not any statements made after the vote. If it were otherwise, every vote would always be open to manipulation by the losing side. This is what we are seeing now.
2. In the case at hand, there is only one MEP who can credibly claim that (obviously due to some misunderstanding or lack of attention) he voted differently than he had intended. That MEP is Michael “Blitzkrieg” Cashman, who (for quite obvious reasons) in the days and weeks preceding the vote had been one of the most active supporters of the Estrela-Report, but who apparently hit the wrong button when it was time to cast his vote. With regard to the other “corrections of votes” one rather has the impression that the MEPs concerned were put under strong pressure by their peers or group leaders to make such statements. But this is precisely the reason why such statements, while they may be put on record, have no legal relevance.
3. Coming to speak of the translation error, it should in the first place be noted that Mrs. Estrela was the only MEP who was allowed to take the floor immediately before the vote took place. This actually constituted an unfair advantage in favour of the pro-abortion lobby: in which other Parliament is it possible to give the floor only to the supporters, but not to the opponents, of a motion on which a vote is to be taken? It is absolutely ridiculous and disingenuous for the abortion lobby to complain ex post about an unfair advantage from which it benefited.
4. Besides, this discussion relates not to a mistake in the voting procedure, but to mistakes in the translation of the oral intervention of one MEP. Now, as any insider of the European Parliament must know perfectly well, such translation mistakes happen all the time. All plenary speeches are translated into all 21 official EU languages, and it would be completely absurd to expect that there never are any translation errors. On the contrary, a realistic assumption is that such errors occur with regard to the translation of each and every single oral intervention made by any MEP in any discussion. If such translation errors were a reason to cast doubt on the validity of a parliamentary vote, then there probably is not a single vote in the entire history of the European Parliament that could be considered valid.
5. It is therefore utterly inappropriate to speak, as the EPF website does, of votes that were “not correctly recorded” or “not recorded at all”. This is real nonsense. If anything, some votes were not correctly cast by the MEPs who cast them. But that is the responsibility of those MEPs, not of some dark ( probably “ultra-conservative”? “reactionary”?? “fundamentalist religious”???) forces, or of the Parliament’s administration. It is thus deeply disingenuous and irresponsible for EPF and other abortionist groups to indulge in conspiration theories or vaguely insinuate some kind of wrong-doing and manipulation, solely because they are angry about a lost vote. Clearly, they should learn to be more respectful with regard to democracy.
6. But the argument, besides being disingenuous, is also self-defeating. What it completely fails to take into account is that the erroneous translations were listened to not only by supporters, but also by opponents, of Mrs. Estrela’s highly controversial report. Those opponents of course had the intention of doing the opposite of what Mrs. Estrela asked them to do, i.e. to vote ‘yes’ when she called for a ‘no’ and to vote ‘no’ when she called for a ‘yes’. Quite obviously, the translation error was just as likely to mislead them as it was likely to mislead the supporters of Mrs. Estrela’s abortionist agenda.
7. However, not all MEPs were equally likely to be misled. Who would have listened to the French and German translations, if not the MEPs from the French and German-speaking countries? But if one takes a closer look at the vote, one discovers that the outcome was a draw with regard to the votes cast by MEPs from Austria (9-9) and Luxembourg (3-3), whereas a majority of MEPs from Germany (41-51), France (31-34), and francophone Belgium (1-10, based on the assumption that MEPs with French given names are francophone) voted against the alternative motion, i.e. in accordance with the recommendation made by Mrs. Estrela.
8. Thus, under the assumption that all French and German-speaking MEPs were misled by the errors of translation, then the votes for Germany, France and Belgium would have to be turned around, which means that there would have been 22 additional votes in favour of the alternative motion (i.e., against Estrela). If not all, but only some, MEPs were misled, then that increase in anti-Estrela votes would be less. But in no case would the absence of the translation error have led to a better result for the Estrela report. In other words, if the vote was “distorted”, it was distorted in favour of the Estrela-Report, not in its disfavour.
9. The only assumption under which the wrong translation of Mrs. Estrela’s short speech might possibly have resulted in a distortion of the vote to the disadvantage of the Estrela-Report is thus that pro-life MEPs are (on average) less easy to mislead, i.e. more intelligent, than abortionist/homosexualist MEPs. Is that what EPF is really trying to tell us?
And what does it imply for the substance of the respective positions? If pro-life politicians appear to be more intelligent than abortionist/homosexualist MEPs, then the conclusion that imposes itself is that the pro-life position must be more intelligent than the abortionist/homosexualist agenda the Estrela-Report stands for.
I am thus glad that the more intelligent position has, albeit narrowly, prevailed. And I do hope that in the coming years the European Parliament will adopt many more such smart decisions.
Posted on | December 21, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
Hate speech encourages hate crime. A few days after Edite Estrela’s aggressive and inappropriate reaction to the European Parliament’s vote that defeated her pro-abortion and anti-conscientious-objection motion, a mob of feminist storm-troopers, dressed up in the style of the Russian punk band “Pussy Riot”, forced their way into St. Petronius’ Basilica in the heart of the Italian city of Bologna, where they shouted out their frustration and anger at the defeat.
It is a strange coincidence that this should happen on the same day on which the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee (i.e. the Committee on Civil Liberties) adopted yet another controversial draft, the so-called “Lunacek-Report”, which among other things calls for the rigorous persecution of so-called “hate-crimes”. Or maybe it is not a coincidence: after all, the only “hate-crimes” that, according to the Lunacek-Report, deserve persecution are those directed against “LGBTI persons”. Hate speech and violence that affect other social groups seem to be, if at all, considerably lessworthy of attention…
According to available statistics, the most frequent victims of group-biased hate speech violence in the EU are the Catholic Church and its faithful. With this I do not refer to “normal” cases of theft or vandalism, but to incidents in which anti-Christian hatred is the primary motivation.
In many cases, the perpetrators of such crimes are self-styled women’s rights or gay rights activists. For them, such incidents are an easy way to gain public attention. The risk of criminal prosecution, let alone meaningful sanctions, appears to be very small. Besides the incident in Bologna, recent cases in the EU include the assault of gay rights activists against the Archbishop of Brussels and the desecration of a Church in Rome. In Latin America, similar incidents were recently reported from Santiago de Chile and from the Argentinian cities of Buenos Aires, La Plata, San Juan del Cuyo and Posadas.
Neither Edite Estrela nor Ulrike Lunacek (the drafter of the controversial report that bears her name) have so far commented on these hate-crimes committed by pro-abortion groups and LGBT-rights activists. But their silence is telling.
Posted on | December 21, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
The small Principality of Liechtenstein, a micro-state locked in between Austria and Switzerland, is one of the last European countries to maintain a near-to-total ban on abortion. This is due not least to the brave stance of Prince Hans Adam II. and his son Hereditary Prince Aloys II, who have both consistently vetoed all attempts of liberalisation.
The latest attempt was a legal initiative to exempt from prosecution women who have abortion abroad. Given the smallness of the country, which is not more than 15 km long and 10 km broad, this would have left the ban on abortion theoretically intact, but factually ineffective. But the Parliament has rejected this proposal, preserving the Principality as a champion of human rights in Europe.
Besides preventing liberal abortion laws from being adopted, the princely family is known for using its private funds to very generously help pregnant women in distress, not only in Liechtenstein itself, but also in adjacent regions of Switzerland and Austria.
Posted on | December 20, 2013 by Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
If you thought Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty is being treated unfairly by A&E, then you have to get a load of what is happening in Italy with regards to media treatment of dissenting views on homosexuality.
The government has just issued a new set of guidelines for journalists for how to treat “LGBT” people. The guidelines, funded by the Council of Europe, dictate what terms and images must be used by the media when treating LGBT subjects. Journalists who do not comply are threatened with legal and professional penalties. They are instructed not to use negative sexual images from gay pride events and to refrain from employing terms like “natural family”, “traditional family” and “gay marriage”. The guidelines explain that those terms are discriminatory and that marriage and family alone will do.
Italian media covered the guidelines but was not as incensed as might have been expected. Perhaps this is the chilling effect on freedom of speech that was expected all along. One of the ministers who was in charge of promulgating the guidelines said she was overall pleased with how major newspapers and other media reacted.
The tone of the guidelines is educational. They start with the basic notion that “sex” is not the same thing as “gender”, the latter being a mental state and the former being merely anatomical, and then proceed to explain the ins and outs of homosexual jargon with colorful and detailed explanations. “Coming out” is explained as a long process of self-awareness and awakening — not to be confused with “being outed” against one’s will. The term “gay woman” journalists are told is disparaging, and should be substituted with “lesbian” which is more respectful. But things get tricky pretty quickly after that.
The guidelines delve into the subtle differences and nuances of what constitutes a transsexual male to female (Mtf) or transsexual female to male (Ftm), transgender as an umbrella term for everyone who is in-between two genders either anatomically or psychologically, and transvestitism, drag kings and drag queens and the list goes on. The document says the biggest mistake commonly made by Italian journalists is that all these “trans” should be preceded by the feminine article (la trans) and not by the masculine (il trans).
The document also contains perplexing moments, like when it laments the indifference of Italians to gay women. The author reports that no disparaging terms have been coined specifically for lesbians while there are a dozen disparaging terms for male homosexuals in the language in which Dante once wrote.
But the objective of it all is clear. Restricting freedom of speech is not enough. The ultimate goal is thought control.
Media and Politicians want to impose same-sex “marriage” – but citizens fight back. The case of Estonia
Posted on | December 18, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
The controversial “Lunacek-Report” was rubberstamped in yesterday’s session of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties and will probably be voted in one of the Parliament’s plenary sessions in January. The support of Socialists, Communists, and Greens for this radical paper is not really surprising (after all these groups are known to have embraced same-sex “marriage”, homosexual adoption, etc. as part of their social agenda) – but with regard to the Conservative and Christian Democrat members of the committee one is tempted to wonder whether they have really understood what they have raised their hands for. The experience with the Estrela-Report should have taught them to be more watchful.
On the same day, I had the occasion of meeting Mr. Varro Vooglaid from Estonia, who gave a talk on how civil society in his country managed to prevent the government from tabling a bill that would have introduced same-sex “marriage” in the small Baltic Republic. This happened earlier this year, but it received practically no media coverage outside Estonia.
Mr. Vooglaid’s talk was very encouraging, because it showed that even in a deeply secularized and predominantly agnostic society like Estonia (where two thirds of the population have no religion) there is actually no support for the homosexualist re-definition of marriage. “The LGBT-lobby would want to make us believe that it is a grassroots movement with broad support within Estonia. But in fact it isn’t. It has virtually no support among normal citizens, but is artificially kept alive by funding from the European Commission, some Northern European governments (especially Sweden), and two or three donors such as, in particular, George Soros’ ‘Open Society Foundation’. One could define it as the newest form of imperialism.”
The Estonian constitution foresees neither referendums nor citizens’ initiatives – democracy is limited to casting a ballot in national elections every four years, and leaving alone the politicians the rest of the time. People are not used to getting involved in direct democracy. When Mr. Vooglaid and his friends launched a popular petition that requested the Government to abstain from any attempt of providing a particular legal status to same-sex relationships, this was therefore something completely new and unprecedented in Estonian politics.
The petition immediately triggered angry reactions from the political establishment – with a high-ranking advisor and spokesperson of the country’s president going as far as saying that in her opinion “this petition shows a high level of intolerance, and could even be viewed as an attempt to incite hatred”.
Get that? Somebody starts a petition that, in civil and polite words, simply asks the country’s law makers to leave the law as it is – and gets accused of committing “hate crime”! In other words, only those who want to change the law have the right to express themselves and promote their point of view, whereas peaceful citizens who, acting peacefully and within the law, ask for nothing else than to leave the existing law unchanged are vilified and evicted from public debate.
Obviously, it didn’t stop there. The LGBT-lobby took the most extreme measures to prevent the initiative from being successful: it publicly invited people to send back empty statements of support in order to cause, as was explicitly stated, financial loss to the organisers (who had engaged themselves to assume the mailing cost for any statement that was sent back to them). They wrote letters to the organizers’ employers, asking them to dismiss them from their jobs (Mr. Vooglaid is a lecturer for legal philosophy at Tartu University). They threatened to bring criminal charges on the basis of a law that prohibits “incitement to hate”. (Incitement to hate?? The petition simply asked the government not to change the current law! Once more, one sees how the LGBT lobby tries to use the law to intimidate everyone who opposes their agenda even in the most civil and polite way…) They even mobilized the Consumer Protection Board to investigate whether collecting signatures to defend marriage and the family was an unlawful activity that could be subject to heavy financial sanctions.
Of course, all this activity of the LGBT-lobby had no legal basis and could itself with right be described as “hate crime”. But the political establishment and mass media turned a blind eye. (The lesson to be learned – for example in the context of the so-called “Lunacek-Report” is that any law that provides specific protection to “sexual minorities” will eventually lead to double standards in the application of human rights, and undermine the rights and freedoms of all those who do not belong to those minorities…)
The self-set target of the organizing committee was to collect 10.000 statements of support, which already is much in a country of merely 1.4 million inhabitants. But instead of 10.000, they received 38.000 signatures – and they could have received more, had not many citizens lacked courage. Many of the statements came back with hand-written comments, such as the following: “I agree with your petition and would like to support it – but am afraid that, as a public servant, I might be exposed to sanctions if I openly adhere to it”….
As one can see once again, the LGBT-lobby mainly works with bullying and intimidation. But one does not change people’s true opinion by bullying them.
38.000 signatures for a citizens’ initiative are unprecedented in Estonia. The government reacted by saying that for the time being they had no intention of proposing any legislation to formally recognize same-sex relationships.
- A full account of the story on LifeSiteNews
- Interview with Varro Vooglaid (English, with Polish subtitles)
- A video on the initiative (Estonian, with English subtitles). As he hands over 38.000 signatures to the President of the Estonian Parliament, Varro Voglaid delivers an impressive lecture on citizenship and democracy.
Posted on | December 13, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
After the defeat of the Estrela Report, the time has come to turn our attention to the next attempt of radical and extremist groups in the European Parliament to embellish their agenda, and provide it with the appearance of legitimation, by the use of human rights vocabulary.
This new attempt comes in the guise of another “initiative report” (i.e. a motion for a resolution on matters falling outside the European Parliament’s competences and will therefore not be legally binding), this time authored by Ulrike Lunacek, an openly lesbian politician from Austria, who also is the co-chair of the European Parliament’s gay and lesbian caucus. No wonder, therefore, that the draft takes a rather peculiar approach towards human rights, which strongly reminds of similar attempts of manipulating human rights through absurd re-interpretations, such as the so-called “Yogyakarta Principles”.
The political strategy underlying this approach, which can be described as the systematic “queering” of human rights, is a dialectic masterpiece.
Not so long ago, the argument simply was that gays and lesbians, despite their un-normal sexual appetites, should nevertheless not be deprived of their human rights, as these rights are universal and apply to everyone irrespective of his or her merits. I just wonder whether anyone ever doubted it, but of course it is true: human rights are universal, and nobody must be deprived of them.
But then comes the second step of the “queering” strategy. A small transformation takes place: instead of affirming the principle of universality of human rights by saying that homosexuals, too, are entitled to them, the slogan now is: “LGBT Rights are Human Rights”. In other words, the universality of human rights is silently set aside, and the specific political agenda of a specific pressure group is now proclaimed to be “human rights” that enjoy absolute priority over the rights and interests of everyone else. Gays and lesbians are now defined as a group that is specifically worthy of consideration and protection, and the call for “equality” is now turned into a call for privilege, as if it were particularly meritorious to have a sexual appetite for persons of the same sex.
The Lunacek-Report has the purpose of turning this “queered” approach to human rights into the new basis of the EU’s human rights policy. If adopted, this new approach would fundamentally alter Europe’s understanding of human rights, replacing them with the particular agenda of one special-interest group: Europe is to become a big Wonderland where all wishes of lesbians and gays enjoy the status of law.
For example, the Lunacek draft calls on the EU Member States to specifically “register and investigate hate crimes against LGBTI people, and adopt criminal legislation prohibiting incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity”. At the same time, it invites Member States to guarantee the rights to freedom of assembly and expression “particularly with regards to pride marches and similar events”, and asks them to “refrain from adopting laws … which restrict freedom of expression in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity”.
Of course, we all are against hatred, and we all are in favour of freedom of expression. But the question is: should not all people be protected against hatred? Should not all enjoy the freedom of assembly and expression? Should limitations to those freedoms, if and where they are found necessary, not apply in the same way to all citizens? Are homosexuals and transsexuals more deserving of protection against hate crime than normal citizens? Is their freedom of expression more important than everyone else’s, or should they have a greater freedom to express their opinions than other people have? If not, why does Mrs. Lunacek not propose a general framework that gives equal potection to all citizens???
This is not merely a theoretical question. Indeed, while the European Parliament discusses a text that would provide special protections for homosexuals and lesbians against hate crimes and restrictions of freedom of expression, the reality “on the ground” is not that these particular groups are particularly vulnerable. Quite on the contrary, there is an increasing quantity of incidents that show how the lesbian and gay community, in close co-operation with radical feminist and pro-abortionist lobbies, are among the most virulently aggressive and intolerant perpetrators of hate crimes to be found in contemporary societies.
Is there any need for evidence? Then look at this video, which was recently placed on YouTube:
An extraordinary demonstration has taken place in San Juan, a provincial city in Argentina. In brief, a gathering of 7000 feminists attempted to attack a cathedral, which was defended by 1500 men. The men did not attempt to physically attack the women, but linked arms and formed a barrier. And the feminist women? They spat on the men, sprayed them with aerosol spray paint, performed lewd acts in front of them, draped their underwear over them and generally behaved as if they had been seized by some primitive or savage spirit.
During the attack some men were visibly weeping. None of them retaliated against the abuses heaped on them.
Strangely, this kind of incident is never reported in any of the mainstream media – perhaps because it does not square with the narrative of who are the eternal victims of oppression, and who are the perpetrators?
True, this happened in Argentina. But similar things happen in Europe. For example, look at this YouTube video, which shows a violent attack of fanaticized LGBT-activists (pretending to protest “homophobia”) against the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Mgr. André-Joseph Léonard, while he was giving a lecture in a university auditorium:
Looking at this, one is tempted to wonder whether the EU really needs only a “roadmap against homophobia” (as the Lunacek Report suggests), or whether it would not more appropriate to fight hate crimes and violence in general, including when they are committed by self-appointed “fighters against homophobia”…
By the way, this is not the only such assault of which Mgr. Léonard has recently been a victim. In fact, it happens regularly. While the above video dates from April 2013, the following image depicts a similar incident that took place in Brussels in October 2013:
Yet another example is an incident that occurred in 2005, when gay “equality” activists forced their way into the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, where they staged a parody of a Catholic wedding ceremony between persons of the same sex. The incident involved the disruption of a religious service, the desecration of the Cathedral, and the use of physical violence against an elderly priest who was knocked down so that he briefly lost consciousness -all this under the pretext of campaigning against “homophobia”. See this video:
In August 2013, the very same group of “equality” activists, who call themselves „Act Up“ and claim to be an HIV/Aids – awareness raising lobby, has vandalized the premises of the Jérôme-Lejeune-Foundation. The Foundation researches genetically triggered mental handicap and offers concrete help to patients and their families. It is also engaged working towards a greater protection of unborn children. “Act Up” receives funding from the French government. It justified its attack by saying that the Jérôme-Lejeune-Foundation was “homophobic”, as it had supported the „Manif Pour Tous“ – a French mass movement against the legalisation of gay marriage and gay adoption.
Another incident worth reporting here was the assault of a group of 100 fanaticized youths against a Catholic school in Spain. The assailants devastated the building, shouting: “Where are the priests? We’re going to burn them at the stake!”
One could, if need be, quote many more such incidents. For those interested, the Vienna-based “Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians” collects and publishes relevant documentation. (And with this I mean the documentation of real cases, not a bogus survey like the one that the Lunacek Report references as its one and only source of information…)
Very often, such hate crimes are perpetrated by homosexuals, or those who, like “Act Up”, claim to speak on their behalf. A recent case concerns a well-known priest in Croatia who, having released a youtube video explaining on the basis of John Paul II’s theology of the body why Croatians should support the pro-marriage referendum taking place on December 1st, received death threats.
Indeed, physical violence, intimidation and hate speech appear by now to have become one of the main communication strategies of the international LGBT-movement in the EU and world-wide. Whoever dares to disagree with, or to publicly criticise, the gay life-style, or to oppose legislation by which it would be put on a par with marriage, risks to become victim of similar attacks – at best, it will be limited to verbal violence and name-calling, at worst, it includes physical assaults. The common denominator appears to be that there is a consistent strategy of so-called LGBT rights activists to prevent the debate on homosexuality from taking place in a serene and fact-oriented atmosphere.
Also, with regard to so-called “gay-pride” events, which according to Mrs. Lunacek’s draft report are equally deserving of specific protection, one cannot help but noticing that they usually degrade into provocative exhibitions of sexuality that in the view of many citizens are not “colourful” or “enriching”, but disgusting and disrespectful of human dignity and, quite irrespective of the “sexual orientation” that is being advertised, simple unsuitable for the public sphere. In addition, these manifestations often include mockery and hatred against perceived opponents of “gay rights”.
The same is true about other forms of expression used by the LGBT community, for example this shameful caricature:
The question I would want to ask is: is this what is meant by “freedom of expression in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity”? Is it particularly deserving of protection – perhaps more than any communication that would subject gays and lesbians to similar insults?
Given her pretensions to be an assiduous fighter for tolerance and against hate speech, it is tempting to take a closer look at Mrs. Lunacek’s own discourse. As it turns out, she does not seem to suffer from great inhibitions against using name-calling and hate speech when it comes to dealing with opponents of her controversial agenda. The latest example is a short video which she herself has found suitable to put on the internet, as a reaction to the vote by which a majority of the European Parliament dismissed the controversial “Estrela-Report” on “sexual rights”:
There is a glaring lack of substantial argument in this video – but the usual litany of left-liberal hate speech: opponents are “ultra-conservative”, “stupid”, “reactionary”, “ultra-reactionary”, “shameful”, etc. (in the German version of the same video). Admittedly, there is no direct incitement to violence – but apart from this, her rhetoric certainly qualifies her as a hate speaker. (Similar, even worse, insults were proffered by her colleague Edite Estrela – see my last post).
All this leads me to the conclusion that what underpins the Lunacek-Report is an extremely unbalanced and self-serving understanding of human rights, which are tuned into special privileges and protections for gays and lesbians.
But what the EU needs are THE SAME HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL, not privileges for some.
Posted on | December 12, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
When, immediately following the vote in which her controversial report was rejected in this Tuesday’s plenary session of the European Parliament, MEP Edite Estrela was allowed to take the floor, the expectation was that she would – as people normally do in such situations – graciously admit defeat, thanking those who had voted in favour of her draft and reaching out to those who hadn’t. She might, for example have said that next time she is asked to draft a text on sexual and reproductive health she would try to come forward with a wording that finds broad support.
But instead, we were the witnesses of a complete loss of self-control – an ugly scene for which there is no precedent in the entire history of the European Parliament. In a short speech drivelling with hatred and frustration, Mrs. Estrela fired abuse at all those who had dared to vote against her draft. In that moment, I even felt sorry for her – yet it was the moment when the mask fell: this kind of hate speech is typical for those who have no reasonable argument to defend their positions, and who therefore have no other choice than to attack those whose positions they do not share on personal grounds. Here are her words:
“I lament the fact that, because of a few votes, hypocrisy and obscurantism have prevailed over the legitimate rights of women”.
These words provoked protests, but she continued:
“You can shout all you like, but I will not shut up. I’m not scared of you. I know I’m right. I lament the fact that in 2013 the Parliament should adopt a more conservative position than the one it had in 2002, when it adopted another report on this issue. I lament the fact that the most extremist and fundamentalist movements should have prevailed over the will of members…. President, I will ask for my name to be withdrawn from the resolution that has been approved.”
Mrs. Estrela closed her shameful intervention by calling the outcome of a democratic vote shameful:
“… I am certain that in the forthcoming elections in 2014 European voters will not fail to remember this shameful vote.”
You can find a video of Mrs. Estrela’s derailment, and the reply by conservative MEP Nuno Melo, here (in original and English).
Although Mrs. Estrela’s outburst is disgraceful, it also is revealing. It illustrates not only Mrs. Estrela’s personal attitude, but more generally the attitude and strategy of those who are promoting the abortionist/homosexualist agenda in politics and the mass media. In particular, the following points are noteworthy:
- Firstly, the complete lack of argument. Those who dare expressing a different opinion are vilified as “obscurants”, “fundamentalists”, “hypocrites”, or whatever else comes to mind. Of course, it is never explained why it is “hypocritical” or “obscurantist” to say that the EU should not excess the remits of its competences. Rational argument is not the playing field in which Mrs. Estrela and her ilk are likely to win.
- Secondly, the contempt for democracy: Mrs. Estrela’s draft report had been rejected by a majority of MEPs – but never mind, this majority are dubbed as “extremists”, while the defeated minority, in Mrs. Estrela’s view, should be understood to be the “mainstream” of society. Strangely, Mrs. Estrela appears to have no problem with the fact that this “mainstream” includes not only unrepenting communists (including the successors of the former State Parties of the Soviet bloc, such as the representatives of the German movement “Die Linke”, the Czech “KSCM”, etc.), but also problematic figures like Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who, not so very long ago, won notoriety as an open advocate of legalizing paedophile sex…
- Thirdly, the politicisation of the debate, which leads to its stultification. Positions are either “progressive” or “conservative”, but it does not seem to occur to Mrs. Estrela that they could also be right or wrong. Does one have to vote for a report that undercuts parental rights and freedom of conscience, only because that is dubbed as “progressive”?
- Fourthly, the extremely serious, but at the same time completely unsubstantiated attacks against the democratic procedure that has been followed: Mrs. Estrela suggests that “the most extremist movements” have “prevailed over the will of members (of Parliament)” – but was not the will of members expressed by the votes they cast? If there was any irregularity, which was it? And by what token can the vote that was taken be called “shameful”?
- Fifthly and lastly, this impressive combination of aggressiveness and squeamishness: Mrs. Estrela first uses provocative and completely inappropriate words, and when that causes protests she immediately starts posturing as a “victim of intimidation”. This posturing has for many years been the strategy of the LGBT-lobby, but, given its success in that context, it now seems to be the strategy of choice that the political left will use on every occasion.
It is regrettable that Mrs. Estrela’s misbehaviour has been applauded by other members of her political group, and that the group’s chairman, Mr. Swoboda, has missed the opportunity of calling her to order. Politics is also a question of style, and Mrs. Estrela’s lack of good education disqualifies her and her entire political group. If I were in Mrs. Estrela’s shoes, my hope would not be that European voters remember this shameful scene, but rather that they forget it.
Maybe, given the absence of any argument in Mrs. Estrela’s short speech, let me quickly explain what hypocrisy really is.
Hypocrites are people who describe themselves as pro-choice, but who want to undercut the right of other people to act according to their consciences.
Hypocrites are people who use a report on human rights to undercut the right to life of the unborn child, thus depriving of all legal protection the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.
Hypocrites are persons who say they want to work for sexual health, whereas in reality they want to inculcate in children precisely the kind of sexual behavior that makes the biggest contribution to the spreading of AIDS and other sexually transmissible diseases.
Hypocrites are persons who say they want to advocate “sexual education”, whereas in reality they want to reduce that education to technical information on condoms and abortion, brazenly setting aside all moral aspects of sexuality.
Hypocrites are persons who seem to abide by the rules of democracy as long as they seem to win, but who, on the occasion of a lost vote, call the outcome “shameful” and describe the majority of parliamentarians as “extremists”.
Hypocrites are persons who use deliberate lies to advance their political agenda.
Hypocrites, in other words, are … like Edite Estrela.
And with this, I promise, I will stop writing about the inglorious Estrela-Report. There are new subjects to cover.
Posted on | December 11, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
A world-wide outburst of indignation among gay-rights activists and mainstream media has been provoked by the Supreme Court of India’s decision to overturn a decision of the Delhi High Court of 2009, in which the latter had held the prohibition of homosexual intercourse in Sec. 377 of the Indian Penal Code to be unconstitutional.
The storm-troopers of political correctness, beginning with the BBC, but not ending with Amnesty International, are in fury. But have they actually read the judgment? For the convenience of our readers I attach a link to the decision, so that everybody may read it and draw his own conclusions. It is 93 pages long and soundly reasoned – so maybe it would be worthwhile to read it before making angry, and maybe rather unfounded, comments.
From my point of view, the following points deserve attention:
- First, the Supreme Court does not say that there is any obligation for the legislator to maintain Sec. 377 in force. It only says that the provision is not in contradiction with the Constitution. The legislator therefore possesses a margin of discretion whether or not to repeal it. The provision could therefore be repealed if there is a legislative majority for such a step.
- Secondly, the Supreme Court finds that the impugned provision is as such not discriminatory: “Section 377 IPC does not criminalize a particular people or identity or orientation. It merely identifies certain acts which if committed would constitute an offence. Such a prohibition regulates sexual conduct regardless of gender identity and orientation.” (see § 38 of the decision)
- Thirdly, the Supreme Court does not even exclude that the application of the provision might lead, at least in some cases, to discriminations or unjustifiable harassment of homosexuals. What it does say is that such discrimination and harassment must be proven by whoever makes such allegations. This was not the case here. As the Court points out, the complainant (an NGO advocating “gay rights”) “had not laid foundation to support its challenge”. The petition “was singularly laconic inasmuch as … it miserably failed to furnish the particulars of the incidents of discriminatory attitude exhibited by the State agencies towards sexual minorities and consequential denial of basic human rights to them”. (cf. §39)
In my opinion, this is a sober and well-reasoned approach towards “discrimination”, which other law courts around the world could learn from. Without making many words, it dismisses the fallacy of saying that the heterosexual and the homosexual act are “equal” und must therefore be treated equally. By consequence, it requires petitioners to bases allegations of discrimination” on something else than the mere fact that homosexual acts are not treated in the same way as heterosexual acts. This does not mean that there is no possibility for them to bring forward charges of “discrimination”, but it does mean that such charges must be duly substantiated.
European Parliament dismisses Estrela-Report: A triumph for human rights and democracy, and a resounding defeat for the abortion and gay rights lobbies!!!
Posted on | December 10, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
10 December is World Human Rights Day. It is a beautiful coincident that on this day the European Parliament has rejected the so-called Estrela-Report.
One might say that today’s vote was not important, given that the controversial draft, if adopted, would not have had any legal effect anyway, given that the issues it dealt with clearly fell outside the EU’s competence. But that would mean to grossly misunderstand and underestimate the importance of what has happened today, even if it is only a symbolic victory.
Prior to the vote that took place this morning two groups of MEPs had tabled two different alternative motions. The first, which went into much detail to rebut the absurd and preposterous claims about “human rights” in Mrs. Estrela’s draft report, was rejected, but a second one, which briefly and clearly states that the EU has no competence to impose on its Member States any of the measures called for by Mrs. Estrela, was adopted by 334 against 327 votes, with 35 abstentions. This meant that it was not anymore necessary to vote on Mrs. Estrela’s controversial draft, as it had been implicitly rejected through the adoption of the alternative motion.
The text that was thus adopted has the following wording:
“The European Parliament,
– having regard to Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union concerning public health and in particular paragraph 7 thereof, which states that ‘Union action shall respect the responsibilities of the Member States for the definition of their health policy and for the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care’,
– having regard to the Programme of Action of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and to the Programme of Action of the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women,
A. whereas the Cairo ICPD Programme of Action gives a definition of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR);
1. Notes that the formulation and implementation of policies on SRHR and on sexual education in schools is a competence of the Member States;
2. Notes that, even though it is a competence of the Member States to formulate and implement policies on health and on education, the EU can contribute to the promotion of best practices among Member States;
3. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and national parliaments of the Member States, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and the UN Secretary-General”
And the official press release by the EPP (European People’s Party) group drily states the following:
“Plenary Session Press release – Women’s rights/Equal opportunities − 10-12-2013 – 14:39
Parliament on Tuesday passed a non-binding resolution on sexual and reproductive health and rights tabled by the EPP and ECR groups which states that: “The formulation and implementation of policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights and on sex education in schools is a competence of the member states.” The resolution was adopted by 334 votes to 327, with 35 abstentions.
A non-binding resolution tabled by the Women’s Rights Committee fell. This resolution was controversial. It was originally tabled in October but referred back to the committee for further discussion. The committee then made some adjustments, without altering the substance of text, and re-tabled it for a vote at the December plenary session. However, this text was lost when the EPP-ECR resolution was adopted.”
This may sound unspectacular, but I think that this outcome is even better than a simple and unqualified rejection of the Estrela draft. It makes a clear statement regarding the limits of the EU’s competence, and forestalls future attempts to use the European Parliament as a platform for the promotion of controversial agendas that, dressed up with thick layers of pompous “human rights” rhetoric, actually have to do neither with the EU nor with human rights. This sets an important precedent that will have to be taken into account at future occasions, for example when the similarly controversial “Lunacek-Report on LGBT Rights” will have to be voted in one of the European Parliament’s next sessions.
It is true that the rejection of the Estrela-Report will not change the law of the land in any EU Member State, just as its adoption wouldn’t have done. Nonetheless, today’s vote is a great victory for the pro-life cause, for the respect of human rights (in their true and authentic sense), and for democracy. It might be that years from now we will remember this day as a turn of the tide. It might be that this victory is of similar importance as the cannonade of Valmy, of which Goethe wrote: “this is history in the making, and you can say you’ve been there”.
Why is it so important?
Firstly, because for twenty years or more the abortionist and LGBT-lobbies could use the EU and the UN to advance their respective agendas without being observed. The EU institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg, and the UN bureaucracies in New York and Geneva, are very far remote from the lives of ordinary citizens, and therefore receive very little attention from the mass media. At the same time, these bureaucracies have been very accessible to certain lobby groups, provided that those groups shared and supported the UN and EU bureaucrats’ own political agenda, which consisted in promoting abortion and “gay rights”. The EU and UN pretended to be listening to “civil society”, but in fact they only held a dialogue with a fake “civil society” that they had themselves created for that purpose. Real citizens had no access to this secluded world, nor did they get much information of what was going on there. This lead to a situation where, for several decades, the abortionist and homosexualist lobbies, in close co-operation with like-minded UN and EU staff, were able to fabricate what they aptly described as “rights by stealth”: they were re-writing human rights, and nobody seemed to notice it, or to oppose them.
The outcome of the Estrela vote shows that this strategy is no longer likely to be successful. There was a massive mobilisation of real citizens who have become aware of what is going on and who have written to their MEPs, asking them to vote against the Estrela draft. The defeat of the Estrela report evidences the emergence of a genuine civil society – one that consists of real citizens, not of slick lobby groups.
And this leads to my second point: what was decisive for today’s vote was that the opponents of the Estrela draft had a much greater capability of mobilizing real citizens than the supporters. There was a multiplicity of on-line petitions, each signed by thousands of individual citizens with their names and addresses. There was a Facebook-site that received more than 4000 likes in less than 3 days. There were more than 200 citizens demonstrating outside the Parliament building. There was a massive amount of letters that citizens sent to MEPs – allegedly hundreds of thousands. MEP Rachida Dati from France, on her blog, wrote of a “rain of e-mails pouring into our inboxes, behind each of which there is a concerned or angry citizen who must be listened to”.
Indeed, they must. Politicians in the EU begin to realize that the pro-life cause is socially relevant. This was already evidenced by the 1,9 million signatures collected by the citizens’ initiative “One of Us” – the most successful European citizen’s initiative so far.
By contrast, who provided support to the Estrela draft? Only the usual suspects, i.e. a number of self-serving lobby groups with no substantial backing from real citizens. Among them one finds the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International – two organizations providing abortions and contraception services at a commercial scale, and who heavily rely on government funding. No wonder that they supported the Estrela draft, which for them included the promise of future EU funding. But which citizens do they represent (except the paid photo models that figure on their glossy brochures)? Another example is the European Humanist Federation (EHF) with its various branches such as the UK-based “National Secularist Society”: these groups absurdly claim that the opposition to the Estrela Report were “ultra-conservative” and “religious extremists”, who “represented only a tiny proportion of EU citizens”. But whom do they themselves represent? The number of citizens who, each one by himself, wrote letters to MEPs to protest against the Estrela draft very likely by far outsizes the total membership of EHF and all its affiliates! If this is a “tiny proportion of EU citizens”, how would EHF describe itself? They are not exactly mainstream, are they?
Another staunch supporter of Mrs. Estrela’s controversial approach to sexual rights is ILGA-Europe, a wannabe “non-governmental organization” that receives 70% of its budget directly from the European Commission, and the rest from three private donors (the most important among them being George Soros). This is no wonder, given that ILGA held its own stake in the Estrela Report, which called for compulsory sexual education that should, on the one hand, be “non-judgmental” while, on the other hand, “convey a positive image of homosexuals” ( – a perfect paradox, it seems, but at the same time a clear attempt of depriving parents of their rights to educate their children according to their own moral convictions). Again, one is tempted to wonder: does this group have any significant membership that it can claim to represent? If not, should the European Commission not be asked to stop funding ILGA-Europe?
The most egregious example of fake “civil society” is perhaps “Catholics for a Free Choice” (CFC), a group that clearly is neither Catholic (in fact, it is virulently anti-Catholic!) nor “for a free choice” (given its opposition to the freedom of conscience of healthcare providers), and which has already long ago been found out to be “not a membership organization” but, as one observer aptly described it, to consist of “not more than one man and one fax machine”. Frankly, if I were asked to build a coalition to promote “abortion as a human right”, I would probably not want CFC to be part of it: they are just too obviously lacking credibility.
And finally, you have Amnesty International, about whom I wrote a blog entry just a few days ago. Amnesty still lives on the credibility it accumulated decades ago, when its focus was set on saving the lives of political prisoners of conscience. But this capital of credibility is now being rapidly depleted: the fact that Mrs. Estrela was able to cite Amnesty as one of her supporters, that was no convincing argument to sway the Parliament in favour of her draft report, but further tarnish on Amnesty’s already tarnished reputation.
The defeat of the Estrela Report can therefore be seen as a big victory of real citizens over a fake “civil society” – a small coalition of lobby groups that, as it now appears, represent nothing but their own particular vested interests. And it appears that these real citizens, encouraged by today’s victory, will continue making their voices heard on other occasions. The day may be near when Europe’s political elite and mass media will begin to understand that civil society wants neither abortion nor same-sex marriage. The feminism and sexual revolution of the 1960s looks increasingly outdated – parties that support this agenda will lose elections they otherwise might win. What citizens really support is the culture of life, not the culture of death the Estrela report stands for. The upcoming European elections in May 2014 are a good occasion to bring this message home.
And this leads me to my third point: today’s victory will be an encouragement for all who contributed to it. At the beginning, it seemed hardly worthwhile, and indeed impossible, to prevent the Estrela-Report from being adopted. And yet it was achieved. In fact I think what provided the strongest motivation for citizens to fight against this report was the arrogance and recklessness with which it was promoted. It started with the fact that the representative of Planned Parenthood, Vicky Claeys, loudly bragged about her role in having drafted the motion. It continued with the profoundly anti-democratic methods with which socialist, communist, green, and liberal, politicians sought to force the Report through the Parliament – preventing a debate in the plenary assembly, seeking to prevent a vote on the proposal to refer the draft back to Committee, excluding the possibility of tabling new amendments after the report had been referred back, and so forth. This has angered not only many citizens, but also some parliamentarians – and it might be that this was the decisive factor that finally tilted the outcome of the vote. One MEP today, immediately after the vote, described Mrs. Estrela as “a democrat of convenience – respectful of democracy only as long as she is winning”. This description is very suitable – but he might well have extended it to many other supporters of the defeated report, in particular Mr. Mikael Gustafsson, the chairman of the Parliament’s Committee for Gender Equality, whose eagerness to get the report adopted as quickly as possible led him to handle the procedure somewhat carelessly.
Nothing is more motivating than success. Today’s triumph of human rights and democracy makes appetite for more.
P.S.: Shortly after the vote it emerged that Michael “Blitzkrieg” Cashman had voted in favour of the alternative motion, i.e. against the Estrela draft. That was surely not his intention; he must have hit the wrong key, the poor chap. Was the blitz too quick? For his consolation let it be said that the outcome of the vote, albeit narrow, was not narrow enough for this little mistake to be decisive.
P.P. S. You can find a detailed voting list here - make good use of it, e.g. by thanking the MEPs who voted in favour of the alternative motion (indicated by the green upward thumb).
Posted on | December 10, 2013 by Rebecca Oas, Ph.D
“The European voters won’t forget the shameful vote of today.”
So spoke Portuguese socialist European Parliament member Edite Estrela after the announcement that her pro-abortion report had been rejected by her fellow parliamentarians. Accusing her colleagues of “hypocrisy and obscurantism,” she threatened that their constituents would be displeased by their votes.
Eager to hold their representatives accountable, multiple Twitter users on both sides of the issue soon tweeted links to the official vote tallies. They also linked to the VoteWatch Europe website, which further analyzes the votes by showing which voters were “loyal” or “rebels” to their political party.
While 92% of parliamentarians voted along party lines, one very unexpected “rebel” appeared in the official record: Michael Cashman, a MEP from the UK and co-president of the European Parliament’s LGBT intergroup.
Cashman was recorded as voting “yes” to the alternative resolution that was adopted instead of the Estrela report.
The final vote counts were 334 in favor of the alternative resolution, 327 against it, and 35 abstentions.
Cashman, who co-wrote a post blasting the outcome of the vote, has been outspoken in support of the Estrela report since the beginning.
No doubt interested in clearing up any potential accusations of hypocrisy or rebellion, Cashman tweeted that his listed vote was in error:
“I am absolutely clear I have voted against alternative resolution to #estrela report and have asked plenary services to investigate #srhr”
For the present, the official record says otherwise. Even if Cashman’s vote is ultimately moved to the “no” side, it will not change the outcome – but until the matter is cleared up one way or the other, Edite Estrela might want to aim her accusations of hypocrisy at her allies rather than her opponents.
Including one whose mistake might have inadvertently landed him on the right side of history.
Posted on | December 7, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
10th December is the day on which, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It is therefore commemorated as the “World Human Rights Day”. In the days and weeks preceding it, you will frequently meet information stands run by “Amnesty International” (AI), where you can buy candles or similar gimmicks with the organization’s logo (a lit candle with barbed wire around it), or you will be approached by activists asking you for donations. Some of these activists might be idealists who do this in their free time, whereas others are students or low-wage employees who do this for a small salary.
My advice to you is: do not buy their candles, do not give them one cent. Instead, if you are not in a hurry, tell them – politely but clearly – why you think that “Amnesty International” is not worthy of support.
The reason why Amnesty International should not be supported is that it no longer is the organization it used to be.
True, in its outward communication the organization still uses the imagery of its earlier days: political dissidents and prisoners of conscience sitting behind barbed wire, exposed to torture, humiliation, forced labour, starvation, the death penalty, etc., all of them unknown to, or forgotten by, the free world. By donating to Amnesty International, you are led to believe, you could help drawing worldwide attention to the fate of these prisoners of conscience, thus exerting political pressure on their thugs and torturers, and, ultimately, contribute to saving their lives and getting them released.
Well, this is what Amnesty may have done in the past, but it is not what they are doing today. The images of “prisoners of conscience” behind barbed wire are nothing but a smoke screen, helping to convince people like you to donate and – more important – to preserve the organization’s positive public image and credibility. In a certain sense, one might say that Amnesty is nowadays trying to take a free-ride, exploiting the credibility of true human rights heroes such as Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Andrey Sakharov, and others.
It is true that decades ago, Amnesty did a lot to help these dissidents, and this is why the organization is today still believed to be a leading human rights NGO. But in reality, the Amnesty’s focus has shifted. It has given up its initial focus on prisoners of conscience; instead it is now promoting a so-called “holistic” view of human rights that squares well with the controversial social agenda of the UN and its specialized agencies. The cornerstone of this new agenda are so-called “sexual and reproductive rights”, which in the UN newspeak is a code word for promoting abortion, artificial conception, homosexuality, homosexual “parenting”, etc.
What is the reason for this change of focus? This is difficult to answer. It is well documented that the shift was silently prepared and then suddenly pushed through by the organization’s management -against the will of many (if not most) of the organization’s members. And I guess that the explanation is that so-called “sexual and reproductive rights” is the field of action where an NGO like Amnesty can make big money (which enables it to pay big salaries). Promoting abortion as a “human right” makes Amnesty eligible for donations not only from the usual self-styled “philanthropes” such as George Soros or Bill Gates, but also from the abortion industry itself, or for political institutions such as the EU (is it by chance that Amnesty was allowed to have its desks even within the European Commission’s own premises, despite the fact that the EU is obliged to remain neutral on issues such as abortion??). All are keen to exploit the well-known trademark “Amnesty International”, which was, however, acquired with activities that are very different from what the organization is doing nowadays.
The latest evidence for Amnesty’s moral abdication is a letter sent by a representative of the organization to several Members of the European Parliament, begging them to vote in favour of the controversial “Estrela-Report”, on which we already reported already on several occasions. The report, which provokes outrage and disgust among many citizens, is due to be voted at the Parliament’s plenary session next week.
Here are some excerpts from Amnesty’s letter:
This is interesting for three reasons.
First, it shows that the “Estrela-Report” has not the purpose of promoting the health of women and girls in Europe. Instead, it is part of a much larger strategy to hijack the “ICPD+20″ agenda at the UN in a renewed effort to transform “sexual health” into a concept that encompasses “access to abortion”, “gay rights”, surrogate motherhood, etc. – although this was clearly not part of the consensus found at Cairo in 1994.
Second, it is strange to see how in certain quarters people can get upset about citizens writing complaint letters to their MEPs (which, according to them, is “religious harassment”), while at the same time they find it normal and acceptable that a multi-million business like “Amnesty” does the same. But whom does Amnesty represent – except the vested interest of its senior management and some major donors? Does this not show that some of our politicians have a somewhat distorted perception of “civil society”, attaching disproportionate importance to the opinions of such groups as Amnesty, while at the same time ignoring the concerns of real citizens?
Third, it evidences how Amnesty is in fact advocating the exact opposite of what one might expect it to be advocating. Instead of protecting human rights, Amnesty negates – and indeed seeks to undermine – the most fundamental human right of the most vulnerable members of society, i.e. the right to life of the unborn child. And instead of providing support to “prisoners of conscience”, it now advocates that tens of thousands of doctors and nurses should be forced to act against their consciences. The new “prisoners of conscience” are the conscientious objectors against abortion – but Amnesty, instead of defending them, has joint in with their persecutors.
Amnesty International is no more credible as a human rights organization. It has become part of the abortion industry. It should be re-baptized into “Abortion International”.
Posted on | December 5, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
I normally don’t post caricatures from other websites, but I simply couldn’t resist this one…
(It comes from www.jungefreiheit.de)
“Estrela-Report” now without compulsory paedophilia, but still promoting massive human rights violations.
Posted on | December 4, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
Here is the newest update on the European Parliament’s controversial “Estrela-Report” on so-called sexual and reproductive health and rights.
It seems that the public pressure, not least by this blog, has had some effect. Allegedly, Members of the European Parliament have already received more than 80.000 protest e-mails! (Excellent! Keep the pressure high!! There still is one week to go. Writing to your MEP is not “harassment”, but your right as a citizen.)
The proponents of the report, stemming mostly from left and extreme-left parties, in their determination to get the report adopted at whatever cost, are not ashamed of disrespecting not only the long-established parliamentary customs, but even the basic rules of fair procedure. When the inept proposal, after having been rejected by the Parliament’s plenary assembly, was debated for a second time in the Committee from which it emanated, the Committee’s president (Mikael Gustafsson, a Swedish communist) decided that no new amendments could be tabled.
However, he did allow some of the controversial content of the report to be removed. This was probably done not out of conviction, but for tactical reasons: he is hoping that the removal of language promoting compulsory education on masturbation for 0-4 year old toddlers, or of language relating to a pretended “right of single women or lesbians to have access to artificial fertilization” would clear the way for the proposal to be adopted.
The strategy of the report’s proponents apparently is: first you try to get the Plenary adopt (if possible without debate) a text promoting at least six massive human rights violations – and when despite all your efforts to foreclose debate you are confronted with protests, you simply remove three of the six human rights violations, leaving you with the remaining three. And of course, you pretend this is a “reasonable compromise”.
But of course it is not. Even in its downgraded version the Estrela-Report is completely unacceptable for at least the following reasons:
• It promotes abortion without any restriction. In doing so, it disrespects not only the right to life as set out in Art. 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 2 of the European Human Rights Convention (ECHR), but also contradicts its own point of reference, the ICPD Programme of Action, which explicitly states that abortion should in no way be promoted as a means of family planning.
• By urging Member States to legalize abortion (and criticizing those not doing so) it disrespects their sovereignty both under EU Law and under the ICPD Programme of Action, which both clearly state that legislating on abortion and similar matters is the competence of the Member States, not the EU.
• It assaults the right of medical practitioners to freely practice their profession according to their conscience. In doing so, it contradicts Article 18 of the UDHR, Article 9 of the ECHR, and Resolution 1763 (2010) of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.
• In calling for “compulsory” standards for sexual education to be administered to children in contradiction to their parent’s moral and philosophical convictions, it violates the right of parents to be their children’s first and primordial educators. This right is universally recognized as human right, set out, inter alia, in Article 2 of the First Protocol of the European Human Rights Convention.
The Estrela-Report thus is not a “reasonable compromise”, but a repeated and intentional assault on human rights. Any politician voting in favour of it, and any NGO promoting it, are fighting against human rights.
Posted on | December 4, 2013 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D.
It is a long standing myth, often rehashed by those who want abortion to be legalized under all and any conditions, that thousands of women die as a consequence of “unsafe” abortions each year, and that legalizing abortion would mean that abortions become “safe”, so that legalization would save the lives of many women.
The error in this equation is that “legal” abortions are “safe”.
As the daily newspaper “Der Standard” reports today, the Public Prosecutors’ Office at the Vienna District Court holds a very different opinion.
In 2012, following a decade-long series of complaints relating to at least 16 incidents in which women had suffered severe injuries as a consequence of botched abortions, the public health authorities of the Austrian capital saw themselves obliged to intervene, imposing a ban from further practising her profession on a female abortionist, and closing down her ordination.
In all the cases under investigation, the abortions had been “legal” under Austrian law. But apparently they were not safe.
The Public Prosecutors’ Office has today released a press statement according which it has been decided that a criminal investigation against the clumsy abortionist will be discontinued. The investigation related to a case in which the pregnant woman’s uterus had been perforated.
The decision was accompanied with the explanation that the Public Prosecutors’ Office relied on the opinion of an independent medical expert, according which “injuries such as the perforation of the uterus are a normal risk that is associated with every abortion”. Therefore, the investigation could not lead to a finding of medical malpractice.
Ladies, think twice before you go for a “safe” abortion!
Posted on | December 3, 2013 by Wendy Wright
China’s top filmmaker has released an open letter on his blog admitting he and his wife have three children. Why the fuss? Their two sons and daughter were not pre-approved by family planning officials.
Zhang Yimou and his wife “sincerely apologize to the public for the negative impact this event has caused.”
Officials had dispatched teams to track him down after he recently went missing.
Local family planning officials launched an investigation in May when reports surfaced online of Zhang’s multiple children. Jiangsu province, where they live, fines parents with 2 “extra” children up to five to eight times their combined annual income.
Zhang produced the spectacular Beijing Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies. His films “Raise the Red Lantern” and “To Live” (about a man who just wants to live a simple life) have won international acclaim.
In the past few years, pictures of babies forcibly aborted have exposed China’s brutal practices. But this latest news is drawing attention to the draconian practices of officials who use family planning to control populations.
Reaction online within China is revealing the angst over the abusive policy limiting the children people can have. The Wall Street Journal reports some believe Zhan is blameless for wanting children, and others see this as a privilege afforded the rich and powerful.
“In Chinese society, if you have money, you have power. You can have as many kids as you want. Common people have it the toughest,” wrote one person.
“If I had three children,” wrote another, “my children wouldn’t be able to register for a hukou, and my wife and I would probably lose our jobs.” Hukou is a household registration system to control where people can live.
China’s powerful family planning agents punish violators of the one-child policy – which requires pre-approval before conceiving a child – with jail, losing jobs, forced sterilizations and abortions and heavy fines. Sometimes family members are imprisoned and houses bulldozed.
China recently slightly revised its invasive one-child policy to allow adults who are only-children to have a second child. This will have little effect on the impending demographic crash with too few workers, or people to provide for the elderly.
Zhang said he would accept any punishment.
Posted on | December 2, 2013 by Rebecca Oas, Ph.D
A recent study found that 78% of transgender people in Ireland have considered suicide, and news sources are using this finding to call attention to Ireland’s lack of a law recognizing gender identity. As the Irish Times points out:
“Transgender people have a gender identity or expression different to the one they were born with. They are not legally recognised in Ireland – Ireland is the last State in Europe not to allow transgender people to have their birth certificate reissued in their preferred gender, although Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has committed to such legislation.”
The Irish study was modeled after a similar one published last year in the UK.
This UK study reported that 84% of transgender participants had contemplated suicide and 53% had engaged in some form of self-harm. In comparison, the Irish transgender study reported a suicide contemplation rate of 78%, and a 44% rate of self-harm.
The UK passed its Gender Recognition Act in 2004.
“This report, like its UK counterpart – The UK Trans Mental Health Study 2012 – is the only report to comprehensively provide an indication of the mental health and wellbeing of the trans population.”
Indications, like statistics, require context. However poor the mental health metrics might be for transgender people in Ireland, they could still be worse – just look at the UK. But you won’t find that in the leading news reports.« go back — keep looking »