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Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 And 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, at precisely the same time as President Barack Obama continues to assiduously assure Americans, including graduates at Notre Dame University last month, that he wants to reduce abortion at home and abroad, his administration is aggressively seeking to topple pro-life laws in sovereign nations, a clear, deeply troubling contradiction.

First Mr. Obama rescinded the Mexico City policy, a pro-life Reagan-era executive order, that ensured that the $500 million in population control funds appropriated by Congress each year only went to foreign nongovernmental organizations, family planning organizations, that did not promote, lobby or perform abortions as a method of family planning. As a result of Obama's new policy, pro-abortion organizations are now flush with cash and will continue to get hundreds of millions of dollars annually to push abortion around the world, all of it decoupled from pro-life safeguards.

I mentioned the Mexico City policy, which is not on the floor today, for context to underscore what is actually happening 24/7 in the Obama administration. Add to this the fact that the administration has stuffed pro-abortion activists, a literal who's-who from the abortion rights organizations, in key gatekeeper positions, and you get the idea and see that abortion is a serious undertaking by this administration. Even the gatekeeper, the woman--and a fine woman--who heads up the U.S. Agency For International Development, Wendy Sherman, used to be the director of EMILY's List. So every dollar of foreign aid goes through the person who used to be the director of EMILY's List.

Yet Obama's international abortion agenda is unpopular and getting increasingly unpopular with the American public. The Gallup Poll found that by a margin of 65 percent to 35 percent, Americans opposed his rescission of the Mexico City policy. And I would note parenthetically that the most recent Gallup Poll from May 15th indicates that Americans are clearly trending pro-life, with 51 percent calling themselves pro-life and 42 percent calling themselves pro-choice. America is changing. It is evolving in favor of life.

In late April, Mr. Chairman, we received our distinguished Secretary of State at the Foreign Affairs Committee and I raised some issues that concerned me with her. I noted that she had recently received the Margaret Sanger Award in Houston on March 27th, and then in her speech, which was on the U.S. Department of State's Website, she quoted that she was ``in awe of Margaret Sanger.'' She said that ``Margaret Sanger's life and leadership was one of the most transformational in the entire history of the human race and that Sanger's work both here and abroad was not done.''

I pointed out that Sanger's legacy was indeed transformational, but not for the better if one happens to be poor, disenfranchised, weak, disabled, a person of color, an unborn child, or among the many so-called undesirables, the disabled that Sanger would exclude and exterminate from the human race.

Sanger's prolific writings dripped with contempt for those she considered unfit to live. I have actually read many of Sanger's articles and books. She was an unapologetic eugenicist and a racist who said, ``The most merciful thing a family does for one of its infant members is to kill it.''

She also said on another occasion, ``Eugenics is one of the most adequate and thorough avenues to the issue of racial, political and social problems.''

In her book, ``The Pivot of Civilization,'' Sanger devoted an entire chapter which she entitled ``The Cruelty of Charity.'' Imagine that, a chapter, ``The Cruelty of Charity,'' explaining a shockingly inhumane case for the systematic denial of prenatal and maternal health care for poor pregnant women.

She said, and I quote in pertinent part, ``Such benevolence is not merely superficial and nearsighted.'' She said, ``It conceals a stupid cruelty and leads to a deterioration in the human stock and the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents and dependents.''

So it is to me and many Members who are pro-life extraordinarily difficult to understand how anyone could be in awe of Margaret Sanger, a person who made no secret whatsoever of views that were antithetical to protecting fundamental human rights of the weakest and the most vulnerable, and to suggest that her work remains undone around the world, which the Secretary of State has done, is deeply troubling.

So I asked our Secretary of State, is the Obama administration seeking in any way to weaken or overturn pro-life laws and policies in African and Latin American countries, either directly or through multilateral organizations, including and especially the United Nations, the African Union, or the Organization of American States? And I also asked her, does the United States' definition of reproductive health include abortion?

Secretary of State Clinton was very clear, she was not ambiguous, and in a radical departure from President Bush said that the administration, the Obama administration, was entitled to advocate abortion anywhere in the world.

Secretary Clinton went on to unilaterally redefine the term ``reproductive health'' to include abortion, even though that definition isn't shared by the rest of the world, including and especially in countries in Latin America and in Africa. That is important, because the term ``reproductive health'' is found in numerous UN consensus documents and action plans and in the laws of countries worldwide.

On March 31st, for example, the UN Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Population, Refugee and Migration Bureau, told the UN that the U.S. Government seeks to achieve universal access to reproductive health and the promotion of reproductive rights. In light of the Secretary of State's statement, that clearly means universal access to abortion on demand.

By foisting abortion on the developing world via a new government Office on Global Women's Issues, the Obama administration is squandering America's political capital to enable the purveyors of death to descend upon nation after nation to promote their deadly wares.

Section 334 of the underlying legislation establishes an Office for Global Women's Issues, and I suggested that we limit it, that it not become a war room at the Department of State for the promotion of abortion. If so, the predictable consequences are more dead children and more wounded women.

Even Planned Parenthood's Guttmacher Institute has said that in most countries it is common, after abortion is legalized, for abortion to rise sharply for several years. Sharply. Contrary to what President Obama says about reduction, the numbers go up.

I would like to ask the distinguished chairman, you know I asked those questions of Secretary of State Clinton. Do you believe that such activity, promotion of abortion, is prohibited under current law as referenced by your amendment? Can this new office promote these kinds of activities?

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong support of this amendment. I thank my friend and colleague for offering it.

Today David Goldman is once again back in Brazil. He is back at the Brazilian Supreme Court, which he and I visited together last February, trying to get the justice that the Brazilian courts keep delaying and denying. Today David Goldman is tenaciously trying to reclaim his son from a child abductor.

Mr. Chair, as many Members know, almost 5 years ago David Goldman's 9-year-old son Sean was abducted by his mother to Brazil. For 5 long years, David has sought relief in the Brazilian courts with the aid of an extraordinarily talented legal team and a local grassroots organization called Bring Sean Home. Mark DeAngelis runs that group, and I would encourage everyone to Google it. Go check it out. Look at the information that is contained in that Web site because it is truly remarkable what this grassroots organization has done to provide support for David, to lift his often discouraged spirits as he's gone through this Byzantine process in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro.

It is particularly outrageous that since the death of Sean's mother, Sean has been illegally held by her second husband, a man by the name of Lins e Silva, a wealthy and very well-connected lawyer who, by the way, does family law. If ever there was a case of abusing family law, the David Goldman case is it. Lins e Silva refuses to return Sean to his father David, but, heedless of the damage he does to Sean, endlessly delays, obstructs and abuses the judicial system.

Last Tuesday, after a court had ordered the abductor, Lins e Silva, to turn Sean over for immediate return to the United States, within 48 hours a member of the Brazilian Supreme Court, responding to an appeal by a Brazilian political party, suspended that order. I have read Judge Pinto's return order--not all 82-pages, but the parts that were translated into English from Portuguese. It is a remarkable finding by a judge of a Brazilian Court. He talks about there not just being the first kidnapping by the mother, who sadly has passed away, but a second kidnapping, that occurred when a man who was not Sean's father took custody of a son that was not adoptable, and just grabbed him as if he was some kind of commodity. It is outrageous. That judge recognized that. He also acknowledged the extreme emotional and psychological harm that is being done to Sean Goldman each and every day. Court-appointed psychiatrists did an extensive battery of tests and reviews of Sean Goldman and found that the continued absence of David, the real father, has caused incredible emotional harm, which is compounded each and every day.

Mr. Chair, David, again, is now before the Supreme Court; and this political party is actually questioning the constitutionality of The Hague Convention itself and its applicability to the laws of Brazil. To me, that seems as if--and it is--that Sean is being taken hostage. If they want to review whether or not that signing of The Hague Convention comports with their own domestic laws and their constitution, do so. But don't take a 9-year-old American boy as hostage while you adjudicate that consideration.

Mr. Chair, we have to speak frankly about the situation in Brazil. I think this Congress has done so, as have our friends in the Senate, as has the White House. Generally speaking, the Brazilian judicial system enables international child abduction by Brazilian citizens. This is not an exaggeration. I invite you to read the State Department's April 2009 Report on Compliance with The Hague Convention. It just came out, just off the presses. The report documents in detail what it describes as patterns of noncompliance for Brazil, as well as for other countries. Brazilian courts, it notes, have a disturbing pattern of legitimizing abductions by claiming the abducted child has become ``adapted to Brazilian culture.'' In other words, for many of Brazil's courts, if you abduct a child and manage to keep him or her in Brazil long enough, in defiance of The Hague Convention, he or she becomes yours.

And the administration of Brazilian President Lula connives at this outrage. It is complicit. It has done precious little to mitigate the damage being done to American children, especially David Goldman's son, Sean, in Brazil.

Again, I support this amendment strongly, and I urge my colleagues to stay tuned to this. We have to bring Sean home.

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