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Biden’s Abortion Politics Will Undermine America’s World Standing – The Wall Street Journal

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President Joe Biden speaks before signing an executive order to help safeguard women’s access to abortion and contraception at the White House, July 8.

Photo: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

It isn’t surprising that Biden administration officials strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. But it’s shocking that they’ve denounced it for foreign audiences. By trying to recast the U.S. as the world’s pro-abortion power, officials will weaken the legitimacy of U.S. foreign policy and undermine America’s standing in the world.

America’s ambassador to the United Nations,

Linda Thomas-Greenfield,
issued a statement calling Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization “a cruel, dark and dangerous decision” and asserting: “I have traveled the globe advocating for women’s rights. Now, this decision renders my own country an outlier among developed nations in the world.” Secretary of State

Antony Blinken
insisted that “the State Department will remain fully committed to helping provide access to reproductive health services and advancing reproductive rights around the world.”

Abortion has played a role in foreign policy since 1973, the year the court decided Roe and Congress passed the Helms Amendment, which prohibits federal funds for abortions abroad. President Reagan instituted the “Mexico City Policy,” which required nongovernmental organizations to agree, as a condition of federal funding, that they wouldn’t promote abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. Every subsequent Democratic president has reversed the policy, and every Republican has reinstated it.

This seesaw policy is a consequence of partisan polarization in the wake of Roe. But most polling shows that upward of 60% of Americans support restrictions on abortion that were legally impossible under Roe, especially during the second trimester of pregnancy. Dobbs gives these voters a say in the matter by returning it to the states.

The Biden administration is using national-security institutions as agents of an extreme pro-abortion view. That will erode Americans’s trust in their own government—and, in turn, its standing in the world. It will make it harder to rally broad American support on other matters vital to national survival. Officials who urge Americans to support expensive aid or weapons packages to allies, or actions to deter Chinese and Russian abusers of human rights, shouldn’t be surprised when Americans who oppose abortion respond with cool indifference.

A foreign policy pushing for abortion abroad is also a strategic blunder with long-term consequences. Many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have strict limits on abortion, and even most of the free world is closer to Dobbs than to Roe.

Some Western politicians, such as French President

Emmanuel Macron,
and the European Parliament have joined Mr. Biden in denouncing Dobbs. But their statements reflect more the global solidarity of pro-abortion politicians than diplomatic prudence or even their own nations’ laws and practices.

The laws of most European countries would have been deemed unconstitutional under Roe. According to international abortion advocacy organizations, only Iceland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the U.K. have widely available abortion on request throughout gestation. France and Germany require health justifications or other tragic but rare events such as rape or incest for abortion beyond the first trimester. Many members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization prohibit elective abortion beyond 10 or 12 weeks of gestation. Thus Dobbs permits U.S. states to align their laws more closely with those of American allies.

Moreover, the Biden administration’s full-throated support of abortion is a gift to the West’s opponents. It turns a blind eye to the practices of China and North Korea, whose enthusiasm for abortion is consistent with their inhumane treatment of their people. In China alone there were almost nine million abortions in 2020. Abortion is freely available in state-run hospitals, and the Communist Party has used compulsory abortion as a population-control measure. By supporting an extreme view on abortion, U.S. officials align themselves with Chinese Communist Party officials who have gleefully criticized the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dobbs isn’t a stain on America’s standing in the world. To the contrary, it upholds what the Biden foreign-policy agenda purports to employ as an organizing principle for the free world: democratic self-governance. To defend the decision against the criticism of Canadian Prime Minister

Justin Trudeau
or the Chinese Communist Party is to defend national sovereignty and democracy. America’s top diplomats, regardless of their views on abortion, should applaud the high court for respecting the rule of law, democratic decision making and the merits of debating complex matters that touch on the most important questions of justice and human dignity.

Perhaps Dobbs offers lessons about the merits of stronger federalism at home and robust geopolitical pluralism in the free world. Learning those lessons would strengthen the hands of our diplomats during these tumultuous times.

Mr. Grygiel is a professor of politics at the Catholic University of America. Ms. Heinrichs is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

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Quebec votes: CAQ, PQ leaders head to Fiona-battered Îles-de-la-Madeleine

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Two of Quebec’s main party leaders are heading to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine region, which is in cleanup mode after a battering from post-tropical storm Fiona.

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon announced Sunday that he’d visit the eastern Quebec island chain to see if there was anything his party could do to help.

He told reporters that recovery efforts seemed well underway, but Quebecers hit by natural disasters in the past haven’t gotten the support they needed

Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault is also expected to visit the riding, which his party hopes to win from Plamondon’s party next week.

PQ incumbent Joël Arseneau is working to keep his seat, but is facing a stiff challenge from well-known local mayor and CAQ candidate Jonathan Lapierre,.

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade said her team was also looking at the possibility of making a visit to the islands before Quebecers begin voting in one week’s time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Political Theater in Crimea and Beyond – Foreign Policy

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Flash Points

Themed journeys through our archive.

Politics as Theater

On watching Gogol in Simferopol, and more.


A musician wearing a Soviet militia uniform stands before the entrance of the Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on March 13.

A musician wearing a Soviet militia uniform stands before the entrance of the Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on March 13.
A musician wearing a Soviet militia uniform stands before the entrance of the Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on March 13. Matilde Gattoni for Foreign Policy

On Friday, four regions in occupied Ukraine began voting in Moscow-orchestrated referendums on whether to join Russia. The vote, denounced as a sham by Western and Ukrainian officials, recalls the disputed Crimean referendum in 2014, which Moscow used to justify its annexation of the peninsula.

On the eve of the 2014 vote, journalist Dimiter Kenarov attended a satirical play by Nikolai Gogol in Simferopol, Crimea’s capital. The parallels between the production, which dealt with political corruption, and what he witnessed in the region were not lost on Kenarov. The referendum, he wrote, was “nothing more than theater-of-the-absurd: a group of people pretending to make a choice and others pretending to scrutinize the fairness of that choice, while in fact there was no choice at all.”

Theater, repression, and political freedom are intertwined not just in Crimea, but around the world. This collection of reporting and essays from the FP archives explores these connections, as well as efforts to keep theater in all its forms alive.—Chloe Hadavas

On Friday, four regions in occupied Ukraine began voting in Moscow-orchestrated referendums on whether to join Russia. The vote, denounced as a sham by Western and Ukrainian officials, recalls the disputed Crimean referendum in 2014, which Moscow used to justify its annexation of the peninsula.

On the eve of the 2014 vote, journalist Dimiter Kenarov attended a satirical play by Nikolai Gogol in Simferopol, Crimea’s capital. The parallels between the production, which dealt with political corruption, and what he witnessed in the region were not lost on Kenarov. The referendum, he wrote, was “nothing more than theater-of-the-absurd: a group of people pretending to make a choice and others pretending to scrutinize the fairness of that choice, while in fact there was no choice at all.”

Theater, repression, and political freedom are intertwined not just in Crimea, but around the world. This collection of reporting and essays from the FP archives explores these connections, as well as efforts to keep theater in all its forms alive.—Chloe Hadavas



Boryana Katsarova

Watching Gogol in Simferopol

Life imitates art in Crimea, where nothing seems real anymore except the tears and the vodka, Dimiter Kenarov writes.



People arrive to watch the actress Zsofia Szamosi perform in the play Pali at the Jozsef Katona Theater in Budapest on Jan. 18, 2019.

People arrive to watch the actress Zsofia Szamosi perform in the play Pali at the Jozsef Katona Theater in Budapest on Jan. 18, 2019.

People arrive to watch the actress Zsofia Szamosi perform in the play Pali at the Jozsef Katona Theater in Budapest on Jan. 18, 2019.

People arrive to watch the actress Zsofia Szamosi perform in the play Pali at the Jozsef Katona Theater in Budapest on Jan. 18, 2019.Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Orban’s Macbeth

The tragic figure behind the Hungarian populist leader’s efforts to remake his country’s theater, according to Dariusz Kalan.



Alice Su

The Refugee Puppeteer

Inside Zaatari Camp, one volunteer is on a mission to help war-weary children overcome their disabilities and fears with theater, Alice Su writes.



NIB Studios

The Elephant in the Comedy Club

A troupe of popular young comics avoids mixing humor and politics in Rwanda, Kavitha Surana writes.



An actress prepares to go on stage at the Ilkhom Theatre on March 1. Ilkhom—meaning “inspiration” in Uzbek—was created in 1976 as the only independent theater in the Soviet Union and has remained the only non-state theater since the independence of Uzbekistan.

An actress prepares to go on stage at the Ilkhom Theatre on March 1. Ilkhom—meaning “inspiration” in Uzbek—was created in 1976 as the only independent theater in the Soviet Union and has remained the only non-state theater since the independence of Uzbekistan.

An actress prepares to go on stage at the Ilkhom Theatre on March 1. Ilkhom—meaning “inspiration” in Uzbek—was created in 1976 as the only independent theater in the Soviet Union and has remained the only non-state theater since the independence of Uzbekistan.

An actress prepares to go on stage at the Ilkhom Theatre on March 1, 2019. Matilde Gattoni for Foreign Policy

Tashkent Underground

The Ilkhom Theatre Company has kept freedom alive in Uzbekistan since before the fall of the Soviet Union, Matteo Fagotto writes.

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Longtime Manitoba politician Bill Blaikie remembered for dedication to values, family – CBC.ca

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Tributes are pouring in following news that Bill Blaikie, a longtime Manitoba New Democrat whose political career spanned more than three decades, has died.

Blaikie, 71, died in Winnipeg on Saturday following a battle with metastatic kidney cancer, according to a Facebook post by his family.

“Bill was a giant in our party,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted on Saturday.

“His unwavering commitment to social and economic justice, his legendary knowledge of Parliament, and his sense of humour will be missed by all.”

Blaikie served as a member of Parliament from 1979 to 2008, representing Elmwood-Transcona and its former ridings in the House of Commons. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2020 for his lifelong contributions to parliamentary service and for his steadfast commitment to progressive change and social activism.

Judy Wasylycia-Leis, a former MP and MLA, says she was lucky enough to know Blaikie from the very start of her political career: He taught her how to be true to herself in a turbulent political world.

Blaikie towered above her, not just physically but with his values, she says.

“I felt small beside him, but loved [when I was] with him,” Wasylycia-Leis said in a Sunday interview with CBC. “I knew [his death] was coming, but it’s still heartbreaking.”

Blaikie was someone who said what he meant and was not afraid to speak up, Wasylycia-Leis continued.

“The most striking thing about Bill is his whole involvement in politics was as a result of a set of values that flowed from the social gospel, but were an integral part of the NDP: equality, justice, dignity, peace, democracy.”

An accomplishment of Blaikie’s that stands out most for Wasylycia-Leis was his fundamental role in the development of the Canadian Health Act in 1984, and the adoption of five principles of medicare that have “stood the test of time,” she said.

Bill Blaikie is also being remembered for his dedication to family. From left, his wife Brenda Blaikie, daughters Jessica Blaikie-Buffie, Rebecca Blaikie and Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud and son Daniel Blaikie. (Submitted by Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud)

Wasylycia-Leis says she also admired Blaikie’s dedication to his family, which showed her that being a politician does not mean sacrificing family and loved ones, but finding a way to integrate both in a crazy political world.

“And he did that,” she said.

Wasylycia-Leis says she last saw Blaikie at his home a couple of weeks ago, and while the former politician was not doing well physically his mind was still sharp. Blaikie spoke to her about the need for the NDP to be strong amid a changing political landscape.

Wasylycia-Leis says she could not have done politics without Blaikie’s guidance, and will remember him as a leader, mentor, teacher and as a friend.

“To me, if you’re thinking about politics, follow the example of Bill Blaikie,” she said “He showed that you don’t have to compromise who you are — that politics is not the pursuit of personalities but about the pursuit of social justice and a desire to change the world.”

Nathan Martindale, vice president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, tweeted a video of Blaikie playing the bagpipes for his son, Daniel Blaikie, at a victory party in October 2019 following Daniel’s re-election as the MP for Elmwood-Transcona.

Éric Hébert-Daly, an ordained minister at the United Church of Canada, says Blaikie inspired him to go down both a political path and a religious one.

Hébert-Daly met Blaikie in 1993, and said they had a “fascinating intersection of paths” throughout their lives. Blaikie was his theology professor during  before he became an ordained minister, and Hébert-Daly served as the director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society when Blaikie was Manitoba;s conservation minister, he said.

When Blaikie lost his bid to become leader of the NDP to Jack Layton in 2003, Hébert-Daly says Blaikie helped Layton find his way as the new leader.

“I’ll never forget the grace with which [Blaikie] agreed to continue to be a leader within the party even after that had taken place,” Hébert-Daly told CBC in a Sunday interview.

Former MP and MLA Judy Wasylycia-Leis says she could not have handled politics without Blaikie’s guidance. (Joanne Roberts/CBC)

And even when they disagreed, Hébert-Daly says, Blaikie never failed to listen.

“He wasn’t the kind of person who would hold to his opinion and not actually actively listen and try to hear what was being said … The grace and the active listening and empathy he shared was a big reason why he was elected over and over again.”

Hébert-Daly says Blaikie made an impact on Canadian legislation from the smallest of issues to larger, constitutional ones.

Éric Hébert-Daly, an ordained minister at the United Church of Canada, says Blaikie leaves an immense legacy. (Joanne Roberts/CBC)

“He was there and he was present and he had an influence all the way along, because he could talk to people in a way that was real and authentic and quite persuasive,” he recalled.

“All of that makes Bill someone that has left an immense legacy on this country.”

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