President Donald Trump called for a federal ban on “the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb” during the State of the Union address on Tuesday, doubling down on his criticism of a new law expanding abortion rights in New York.
“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” Trump said Tuesday. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”
His remarks further amplified the national debate over later abortion, an issue that Trump has suggested he plans to focus on in the 2020 election.
New York’s new law, the Reproductive Health Act, expanded abortion rights to allow a woman to get an abortion after 24 weeks if her health, not just her life, is threatened and if the fetus would be unable to survive outside the womb. Advocates have said the law is a necessary protection for women who otherwise have limited options in the face of health risks or serious fetal problems. Proponents have also framed it as a safeguard against a newly conservative Supreme Court that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that effectively legalized abortion nationwide.
But anti-abortion advocates have criticized the law as an “extreme” expansion of abortion access that gives medical professionals too much discretion, and have falsely claimed that such legislation is tantamount to infanticide. Trump echoed that sentiment Tuesday, earning praise from groups such as Americans United for Life, which said Trump “may be the most pro-life president in American history.”
“There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days,” Trump said. “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world.”
But the New York law does not expand later abortion access to any woman with a healthy, risk-free pregnancy, and medical experts say that arguments that abortions will take place “moments from birth” are inaccurate.
“They’re using these theoretical extreme examples to try to scare people,” says Dr. Kristyn Brandi, an obstetrician-gynecologist and a board member from Physicians for Reproductive Health. She said concerns about women getting abortions while in labor are unfounded.
“It’s not something that any person would come seeking, and it’s not something that any doctor would provide,” she says.
The vast majority of abortions (90%) take place during the first trimester of pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that advocates for reproductive rights. Nine percent of abortions take place after the first trimester, and just 1% take place at 21 weeks or later, according to the Institute.
“No one wanted to meet my ‘living, feeling, beautiful baby’ more than me. No one is sadder that he ‘will never get the chance to share his love and dreams with the world’ than I am,” Missy Kurzweil, one of dozens of women who signed an open letter Tuesday about their later abortions, tells TIME. “My choice to have a later abortion was an act of love to ease my child’s suffering. Shame on Trump for exploiting that love to appeal to his base.”
Kurzweil, who lives in New York City, says she had an abortion in the 23rd week of her pregnancy in 2017 after discovering her baby had a rare brain disorder that could have left him living in severe pain. Kurzweil says she made an “impossible choice” with the little information available to her.
“No one wakes up 20 weeks into a gestation period and says, ‘I made a mistake.’ These are wanted pregnancies,” says Kurzweil, 33. “It really was this choice of quality of life and what is a livable life? And what are the things that would be manageable, and how much pain is sustainable?”
Trump’s call for a federal ban on later abortion because of fetal pain is based on model legislation created by the anti-abortion group National Right to Life, which praised Trump on Tuesday and said he “once again demonstrated the paramount importance of protecting mothers and their unborn children.”
There are 17 states that ban abortion about 20 weeks post-fertilization “on the grounds that the fetus can feel pain at that point in gestation,” according to the Guttmacher Institute. But scientific research has found that “fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” which begins around the 28th week.
“The evidence is not very clear that there’s an exact moment when the fetus can feel pain,” says Dr. Daniel Grossman, director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. “There is good evidence that it can’t feel pain before the first trimester. I think that if you’re using the fetal pain argument to justify bans at 20 weeks, there really isn’t medical evidence supporting that.”
During his address, Trump also falsely claimed that Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam “stated he would execute a baby after birth.” While that’s not true, Trump was referring to Northam’s defense of a proposed Virginia bill that would have reduced restrictions to allow for abortions later in pregnancy if a woman’s health was threatened. Controversy erupted over whether the bill, which has been tabled, would allow a woman to get an abortion while going into labor
Northam, a pediatric neurologist, defended the bill and explained in an interview how he would handle a situation in which a woman went into labor during a pregnancy involving “severe deformities” or a “fetus that’s nonviable.”
“The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired,” Northam told the radio station WTOP. “And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
Republicans immediately accused Northam of supporting infanticide. Northam’s office said his remarks were taken out of context and were only meant to explain what physicians would do in the event of a “nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe fetal abnormalities.”
Northam’s office did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. (Separately, Northam is now facing calls to step down over a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page and findings that he dressed in blackface at least once.)
China: Police Loot Church, Bury Bibles, Detain Members As Persecution Escalates
China's total Christian population is now thought to number anywhere between 25 million and 100 million people.
Chinese authorities have launched yet another brutal attack on Christianity, looting the donations box of a church, buying Bibles, and detaining the senior pastor before shuttering the building.
The raid, led by the deputy governor of Zhecheng county and involving armed SWAT and anti-riot police, took place at True Jesus Church in Anping town.
According to Bitter Winter, 60 vehicles, surrounded the church with the police blocking off all the intersections leading the building. Authorities claimed that the church was in contact with foreign countries and was thus engaging in illegal activity. They ordered an immediate shut down by any means possible.
Anticipating the raid, 60 church members attempted to prevent authorities from entering the building by overturning benches at the entrance. Despite their efforts, 100 plainclothes officers stormed into the building, immediately broke into the donations box, and demanded to know where the church funds were held.
"As soon as they entered the church, they smashed the donation box and pocketed the money, which totaled thousands of RMB," said one member of the congregation. "They also questioned us about where all of our church's money was kept."
Then, officials ordered the officers to remove all surveillance cameras located inside the building, before mercilessly beating members of the congregation. "Fifteen believers were beaten to the ground, moaning in pain," Bitter Winter noted.
One believer, who was in her sixties, was beaten so badly by the authorities that she suffered two cracked ribs. Another elderly church member who attempted to help her was also beaten. The outlet also reported that officers slapped the face of a paralyzed believer in her seventies and knocked several others unconscious for at least half an hour.
Before leaving, authorities buried Bibles, hymnbooks and Christian literature in a large pit outside the church.
In an attempt to "Sinicize" Christianity and infuse it with "Chinese characteristics," China has arrested hundreds of pastors and church congregants. Additionally, dozens of churches have been demolished, with officials claiming that curtain buildings must be torn down due to new zoning laws.
In late March, authorities shut down a 1,000-member house church in Beijing, changed the locks and demanded that members in attendance sign a letter stating that they will no longer attend the church.
Last year, authorities in Beijing also banned one of the city's largest house churches, Zion Church, claiming it had refused to register with the government and was thus illegal.
However, the church's pastor, Jin Mingri, said officials never asked his church to register with the government "No [government] department has asked me to register the church in the past 10 years," he said.
Because of these atrocities, China ranks as the 27th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA's 2019 World Watch List.
Chief Imam worships With Christ The King Church Ahead Of 100th Birthday Celebration.
The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu on Sunday, April 21, 2019, joined congregants of the Christ the King Church in Accra in worship ahead of his 100th birthday celebration on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019.
The gesture got a lot of people on social media praising him for promoting unity among the various religious sects in the country.
The Chief Imam had also been joined by the Vice President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and fellow Muslims at the Central Mosque in Abossey Okai for Jummah prayers and a special thanksgiving prayer on Friday, 19th April, 2019.
The special thanksgiving prayer was to thank the Almighty Allah for the blessings He has bestowed on the National Chief Imam.
On Tuesday, April 23, a public lecture would be held to honour the Chief Imam, which would be delivered by Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations General Secretary’s Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel.
He will speak on the theme “Advancement of modern Ghanaian society through peace, tolerance and development.” The special guest for the lecture is the Vice President of the Republic, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
A number of national leaders, including some former Presidents, are also expected to attend.
President Akufo-Addo Assures Of Equitable Distribution Of Infrastructure Across New Regions.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated his commitment towards ensuring that infrastructural projects are equitable distributed across the newly created regions, and not concentrated solely at the regional capitals.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “when I presented the Constitutional Instruments to the heads of delegations of the newly created regions, I indicated that developmental projects will not only be centered at the regional capitals.”
He continued, “There is going to be equitable distribution of regional infrastructure in every region. You, in Atebubu, will also receive your fair share of the infrastructure.”
The President was speaking at an interdenominational church service at Atebubu, in the Bono East Region, on Sunday, 14th April, 2019, when he commenced his 2-day tour of the newly created region.
Addressing the congregation, President Akufo-Addo noted that even though it has taken decades for the Bono East Region to be created, “we believe that God’s time is the best, and God ordained it to be that it should be during Akufo-Addo’s time, as President, that this region is created”.
Affirming his commitment to strengthening the capabilities of the Bono East Region, and, thereby, quicken its pace of development, the President indicated that the building housing the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) will be sited in Techiman, the capital of Bono East.
“The local government staff required to ensure the smooth operation of Bono East region, such as the Regional Chief Director, Regional Planning Officer, and the Regional Budget Officer, are already in place in Techiman. I will present eight vehicles to the Bono East Regional RCC on Monday, when I arrive at Techiman,” he added.
The President admonished the congregation and residents of Atebubu and the Bono East Region, in its entirety, to support the new regional Minister, Hon. Kofi Amoakohene, who will, in turn, work to bring growth and development to the region.
Whilst in on his tour of the Bono East Region, President Akufo-Addo paid a courtesy call on the Amantin hene, Nana Owusu Acheaw Obrempong II, Atebubu hene; Yeji manhene, Nana Pemapem Yaw Kabrese V; and the Supreme Leader of the Tijaniyya Muslim Council of Ghana, His Eminence Sheikh Khalifa Ahmad Abulfaid Abdulai Maikano Jallo.
The President commissioned a National Health Insurance Authority office in Atebubu, and also commissioned a newly constructed female ward at the Atebubu Government Hospital.
A Portion Of Adentan Footbridges On The N4 Highway Is 82% Complete.
According to www.georgebritton.com, a contracted construction company, First Sky Construction Company Limited is expected to fork out the construction of the one of the footbridges on the N4 Highway, precisely, Madina to Adentan Highway, as work is 82% complete.
First Sky Construction Company Limited(First Sky Limited) last year signed a contractual agreement with the Ghana Highways Authority, funded and inspected by the Government of the Republic of Ghana to construct ramps to footbridges at the Adenta-Ritz Junction(CH.8+204)
The signed and documented contractual agreement comes at the back after residents of Adentan-Madina amassed in their numbers to stage an unwarranted and uncontrollable demonstration to advocate for the construction of the footbridges on N4 Highway
A total of 195 persons, including children and students, have since the beginning of this year been killed on the multiple highway with a speed limit of 100 kilometer per hour, according to the residents due primarily to the unavailability of safe crossing facilities on the road.
Lack of safety measures on the highway for pedestrians, nonfunctional street and traffic lights have been identified as the cause of most of the knockdowns on the highway constructed 11 years ago by the government.
These deaths triggered a campaign early this year for the six uncompleted footbridges as well as the street and traffic lights to be fixed but the government appeared adamant despite the cries of the residents.
Currently, the Adentan - Ritz Junction portion of the project, stretching about 9.5 km, is 92% completed with footbridge ramp, news men at georgebritton.com can undoubtedly confirm that to its readers.
The Resident Engineer, Mr Shamsu Deen Isah, told www.goergebritton.com that the projects were at different levels of development because every contractor had their individual work programme, which is within the timeframe they had been given to work.
He said a contractor may decide to complete with one side of the road before the other side while some may want to do both sides concurrently so one should not expect to see the same level of development at all sites of the projects.
Mr Shamsu revealed that, all contractors experienced some challenges, which led to the redesigning of the six projects, adding that, the levels of redesigning varied for each contractor, which partially interrupted the progress of work.
Mr Shamsu Deen Isah stated that, inasmuch as those challenges existed, all contractors would complete work as scheduled with some finishing earlier than the six months duration and others finishing right on time.
Though footbridge projects are capital intensive, government hopes to construct many more footbridge and access routes across the country. However, Good roads are essential for the development of a country. Today, the government is building more and more roads to gain access to the remotest parts of the country, which is welcome.
In spite of the phenomenal growth of virtual connectivity resulting from flourishing telecommunications, a good and reliable transport network remains key to national development.
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