Abortion Advocates Bash Pro-Life Reps. for Lobbying Uruguay Vote

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Advocates Bash Pro-Life Reps. for Lobbying Uruguay Vote

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 14, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in the United States and Uruguay are condemning the actions of a group of pro-life Congressmen who lobbied the Uruguay Senate to vote against a bill that would have made the South American country the first apart from Cuba to legalize abortion.

Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who is considered the top pro-life Congressman, said he hoped he played a small part in stopping Uruguay from "the same costly mistake” the U.S. did when it allowed legal abortions 31 year ago and "legalized the violent murder of unborn children.”

That’s what Smith wrote to members of the country’s Senate, and his letter isn’t going over well with Uruguayan Sen. Monica Xavier, one of the sponsors of the bill that would have legalized abortion.

Xavier told the Associated Press that she has filed a complaint with the foreign ministry. Meanwhile, Sen. Reynaldo Gargano called Smith’s letter "an act of gross meddling.”

Imagine, Gargano told The Associated Press, "if we had sent a similar letter concerning the war on Iraq. … This was totally improper.”

Smith dismissed their criticism and said he regularly talks to legislators from other countries about numerous political issues.

"Lawmakers have a duty to talk to each other on human rights," Smith told AP.

Smith also said it was critical to counter the work of pro-abortion groups, who went to Uruguay to lobby for the bill. Catholics for a Free Choice president Frances Kissling, traveled to Uruguay several months ago and spoke before the Senate.

Raimundo Rojas, the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for the National Right to Life Committee, said he’s not surprised by the reaction.

Rojas called Xavier "an extremist pro-abortion legislator, who is very bitter about" the outcome of the vote. Days before the vote, Xavier was quoted in Uruguayan newspapers saying the vote was a "done deal."

Rojas said Xavier’s comments were hypocritical in light of pro-abortion groups that are infiltrating "other Latin American countries legislatures and promot[ing] pro-abortion laws against the will of the people in those countries."

"These are the same pro-abortion groups that send NGOs to the United Nations and help write UN resolutions that would force abortion on demand on all countries of the world," Rojas said.

Abortion advocacy groups joined the senators in condemning the letter, which also contained signatures from pro-life Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN), Todd Akin (R-MO), Steve King (R-IA), Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA).

Angeles Cabria, of the Latin America at the International Women’s Health Coalition, told AP that the "letter was a flagrant involvement in another country’s constitutional issues."

Pro-life advocates also traveled to Uruguay to lobby the Senate not to pass the abortion bill.

Norma McCorvey, the former Roe of Roe v. Wade, went to the South American nation late last year to urge a no vote.

Testifying about the tragic effects of abortion, she told the Senate Health Commission about the harmful psychological and physical affects of abortion on women. McCorvey was accompanied by Janette and Reed Olson, head of Focus on the Family’s International Division; and Clayton Trotter, General Counsel for The Justice Foundation, which represents her legal effort to overturn Roe v. Wade.

McCorvey said she was happy the country’s legislators voted down the proposal.

"Children will not be killed in their mothers’ wombs, and women will not be maimed in Uruguay," she said.

The country’s Senate rejected the bill on May 5 with a 17-13 vote and President Jorge Batlle said he already told the Vatican he would veto the bill if approved.