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Monday, May 20, 2024 - 07:10 AM


First Published in 1994


A party that can't even define the word "woman" would have a field day with "human rights." That's what Republican Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been warning people since the latest Russian sanctions bill flew through the House and landed at the Senate's door. Just because Congress wants to help Ukraine stop the senseless killing doesn't mean it should open the door to senseless killing of another kind: abortion.

"Somebody ought to read the bills, don't you think?" the Kentucky conservative fired back when reporters hounded him for holding up the vote. "If you don't define what human-rights abuses are, you set up something so wide open that... a president [could] sanction anyone in the world for anything they feel like," Paul argued.

While everyone agrees it's time to put tighter sanctions on Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine, Paul's beef is with the way the policy to punish Russia is being rewritten, the Global Magnitsky Act. Back when the late John McCain was alive, it was one of those rare pieces of legislation that people on both sides of the aisle supported. Under the original language, Congress used it to target "gross" violations of human rights -- obvious crimes like torture or inhumane treatment.

But in the race to punish Putin, Democrats have managed to sneak a single word into the reauthorization that could change the global landscape on life -- forever. In their latest version of the Magnitsky Act, President Joe Biden's party wants to broaden the definition from "gross" violations of human rights to "serious" violations -- opening the door, many conservatives worry, for radical Democrats to abuse the policy.

If a country promotes life by restricting abortion, for example, is that a "serious" violation of human rights? A party that calls "reproductive health" a basic human right would say so. What about a nation that doesn't recognize same-sex marriage or embrace the fantasy of transgenderism? Under a president who's decided "transgender rights are human rights," Rand Paul's objections are more than valid. And yet, some senators are in such a hurry to get these sanctions out the door that they seem willing to sign over this expanded power to Biden.

"We've just told them they need to put the definition in there of what a human rights abuse is," Paul insisted to his impatient colleagues. "But we won't let them pass it unless they put it in there -- so they're either going to put it in there or they're going to be here for a week doing it." Other senators are just as worked up about where this reauthorization could lead, offering every kind of fix -- from Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) standalone bill with the original language to Mike Lee's (R-Utah) amendment.

As everyone should know by now, the GOP's concern (shared by eight House Republicans who voted against the bill) isn't hypothetical. Language is one of the most powerful weapons in the Left's political toolbox. Just this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) unleashed a 210-page set of guidelines that calls abortion for any reason -- right up until the moment of birth -- an international human right. "The WHO document recommends 'full decriminalization of abortion' and the scrapping of laws and regulations that 'prohibit abortion based on gestational limits' and 'restrict abortion' on any grounds."

In other words, if you're a pro-life nation -- or you try to limit abortion in any way -- you're violating human rights, WHO says. "[That's not] where the rest of the world is," FRC's Mary Szoch explained on "Washington Watch." In our new report comparing abortion laws around the world, we found that more than half of all nations protect life in all cases or with a handful of specific exceptions like rape, incest, and fetal anomaly. "What this tells us that over 50 percent of countries are actually protecting unborn children. And only three percent of countries allow the kind of tragedy, the exploitation of the unborn child in the womb, the destruction of life in the same manner as the World Health Organization is promoting. And those countries, of course, include North Korea, China, and the United States."

And in case COVID didn't prove it, WHO could care less about people's health, arguing that the gestational age limits shouldn't matter for the mother. "That's just false," Szoch pushed back. "We know that early second-trimester abortions have a 15 times higher mortality rate than early abortions. We know that abortions after the point of viability have a 76 times greater mortality rate than early abortions. So what the World Health Organization is promoting is abortions that will result in not just the death of an unborn child, but the death of many more mothers as well." Science has made it abundantly clear that abortion is dangerous for women -- but, like the other inconvenient truths that hurt their narrative, the Left is sweeping that under the rug.

Meanwhile, unlimited abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy isn't even what Americans want. It's the extremist view. Only a handful -- six percent -- agree with WHO and fringe Democrats that you should be able to take a baby's life seconds away from birth. And yet, our State Department under the Biden administration would almost certainly use WHO's guidelines to twist the arms of other governments -- or go so far as to link our overseas funding to these policies, like we witnessed from Barack Obama.

Back then, foreign officials complained about the bullying of the State Department, who wanted to link U.S. aid to their governments' views on social issues. Now, Democrats are poised to do it again by lowering the bar on what a human rights violation actually means. It's time for the Left to abandon this stalking horse -- or else the protection of real human rights, like life and liberty, will continue to suffer.