While there are too many baseless assertions and ridiculously biased characterizations of Human Life International’s (HLI) work in the “report” released this week by Political Research Associates (a far left “progressive think tank” based on Boston, MA) to refute one by one, we feel obliged to get some of the more egregious errors on the record, and let people decide for themselves how much credibility to give to PRA’s release.
PRA writes: “In a stark deviation from African culture, which considers violations of anti-abortion law a personal matter, Human Life International missionaries in Uganda turned in a clinician who performed an abortion for prosecution.”
Leaving aside the only-anecdotally-supported claim about the supposed African cultural view of abortion, here is the story on the man that HLI reported to authorities:
Chapter 4 Section 22 (2) of the Ugandan constitution states, “No person has the right to terminate the life of an unborn child except as may be authorised by law.”
According to the Daily Monitor, the woman was a student at Millennium Universal College, but was expelled when it was discovered that she was two months pregnant. She was six months pregnant at the time of the abortion last Friday.
The medical officer who performed the abortion reportedly brought the unnamed woman to a hospital theatre to perform the abortion, and injected her with drugs causing her to pass out. When the procedure went awry, he brought the woman to St. Anthony Missionary Hospital where doctors were able to save her life.
Sources close to the woman indicate that the woman and the medic were dating, and that he pressured her to procure an abortion for the past four months. Sources say the man tricked her into receiving the injection which was disguised as a malaria treatment. The six-month-old child in her womb was then cut into two pieces, one piece removed and one piece remained inside. One of her fallopian tubes was also cut, and the uterus perforated.
“He took me to the theatre injected me and I slept off,” the woman told the Daily Monitor. “When I woke up I was in great pain and bleeding profusely. When the bleeding could not stop, he carried me to the bathroom. I regained my senses a day later to realize I was in a different hospital.”
“She is very lucky. If we did not have blood in the hospital that day, she would have died because she had over bled,” said Dr. Francis Kasule of St. Anthony Missionary Hospital.
While the abortionist was apprehended by police, pro-lifers in Uganda are wary that justice still may not be done.
Sources indicate that after the arrest, several attempts were made by pro-abortion interests to bury the story in the media, and to encourage the police to drop the case.
“The story came out, but it was not posted on the Daily Monitor’s website. It was the only story that was in the category of national news from the front page but failed to see the light online,” said Father Jonathan Opio, HLI’s country director in Uganda.
“The anti-life crowd likes to use victims of abortion in the press to show how abortion needs to be legalized to be made ‘safe’ for women, and hide stories like this that show the violent and corrupt side of the ‘pro-choice’ industry,” said Dr. Brian Clowes, director of research at HLI, who visited Uganda earlier this year.
HLI can only reiterate Dr. Clowes’ condemnation of the crime itself and the cover-up of crimes against women and children, and ask why PRA’s understanding of “human rights” apparently entails their participation in a media blackout of violence perpetrated against women in the name of “choice.”
In the very same paragraph, PRA claims: “[HLI] campaigns against contraception, a popular practice in Africa, and mirrors anti-LGBT campaign tactics by claiming against evidence that birth control is a Western import.”
As I said in our comments to the UK’s The Guardian, where does one begin with PRA’s denial that Western powers are “importing” birth control (and sterilization and abortion) into Africa?
Perhaps with the Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “No Controversy” campaign, a $4.6 billion dollar effort to do exactly what PRA claims is not happening, led by the British Government and the wealthiest woman in the world? Or with Atlanta-based CARE International (pdf download), which is very active in Africa, and now lists “reproductive health” (including abortion and birth control) as one of the four pillars of emergency relief? Or with US-based International Planned Parenthood Federation and UK-based Marie Stopes International, the two largest abortion providers in Africa, both of which were founded by women who repeatedly proclaimed their desire to stop the poor and “unfit” from reproducing? Or with the US Government’s USAID program, which has given hundreds of millions to anti-natalist organizations in Africa, including funding the facilitators of a campaign to sterilize 700,000 Rwandan men? Space prohibits a full listing of well-funded Western governments and NGOs who together spend billions annually “helping” Africans to control the birth of their children in practice and in law, and who proudly proclaim so on their own web sites. That this well known fact seems to be unknown to PRA is worth noting.
We shall see if PRA corrects the record on this particular claim and revisits the question of who exactly might reasonably be charged with “neocolonialism” in seeking to affect African laws and traditional values. And both of these errors were both in a single paragraph of the 68-page report.
But one error that is particularly inexcusable is PRA’s implication that HLI supports violence against, or even killing, homosexuals. PRA writes: “Human Life International’s regional coordinator Emil Hagamu praised the Ugandan parliament as ‘typically African’ for promoting the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill.”
This in particular demands a correction on the part of PRA, and is emblematic of the dishonesty evident throughout PRA’s report. Mr. Hagamu did say that the Ugandan parliament was “typically African” for its defense of African values; but as a review of the source listed will clearly indicate, he did not say this in reference to Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill, which at some point did allow for capital punishment for homosexual rape, pedophilia and incest, or cases of what the bill called “aggravated homosexuality.” HLI’s stance on the death penalty is entirely consonant that of the Catholic Church, and we in no way promote the death penalty or any violence against homosexuals. If the only way that PRA can imply the contrary is by seriously misrepresenting quotes, that tells the reader more about PRA than it does about HLI.
This is more than a mere error, it is calumny. PRA owes HLI, the readers of its report, and likely the other organizations tarred by the report, many corrections and clarifications, and it owes HLI an apology for implying that we support violence, including the death penalty, against homosexuals.
We await the statement of apology and corrections from PRA, who did not contact us to confirm the many problematic claims in its report.
Stephen Phelan is the director of communications for Human Life International.