Friday, October 7, 2011

San Jose Articles refute claim of international right to abortion

The San Jose Articles were introduced in a press conference yesterday at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Drafted by a large group of experts in law, medicine and public policy, the Articles refute the claim that there is a right to abortion under international law that all nations must accept. They also show that international documents actually recognize the rights of unborn human beings.

Austin Ruse explains the problem:
It is commonplace now for UN officials and American law professors to tell foreign governments that they are required by international law to liberalize their abortion laws. Just last month the UN Special Rapporteur on Health issued a report making this claim. The Secretary General endorsed his report. Shortly thereafter the UN High Commission on Human Rights said the same thing.

Pro-life activists have been saying for years that this is a false assertion. Even so, some governments have started to listen and to liberalize their laws. The High Court of Colombia changed their abortion laws based on these assertions from a UN committee. Two judges on the Mexican High Court have made these assertions also.
Jeanne Head, UN Representative for National Right to Life, notes:
Ireland is the latest target of UN "human rights" bodies which are pressuring countries to legalize abortion. The treaty-monitoring bodies are particularly notorious in this regard.

For example, the monitoring committee of the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) has gone beyond its mandate, pressuring more than 90 countries to liberalize abortion laws despite the fact that there is no mention of abortion or even "reproductive health" in the treaty.
Joseph Rees, former US Ambassador to East Timor and one-time US representative to the UN Economic and Social Council, spoke of his own experiences at yesterday's press conference:
When I was in Timor I witnessed first-hand a sustained effort by some international civil servants and representatives of foreign NGOs to bully a small developing country into repealing its pro-life laws. The problem is that people on the ground, even government officials, have little with which to refute the extravagant claim that abortion is an internationally recognized human right.
That's why the San Jose Articles were written. According to Professor Robert P. George of Princeton, who also spoke at the press conference, "The Articles will support and assist those around the world who are coming under pressure from UN personnel and others who say falsely that governments are required by international law to repeal domestic laws protecting human beings in the embryonic and fetal stages of development against the violence of abortion."

Read the Articles here, and see the detailed footnotes here.

Abortion advocates at the United Nations and elsewhere seek to legalize and expand abortion into every corner of the globe. People and governments around the world must know that legal abortion is in no way an international mandate.

They must also know, as MCCL Global Outreach has explained in "Why legalized abortion is not good for women's health" (produced jointly with the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund), that the right to life of unborn human beings must be protected as a matter of basic justice; that abortion poses serious risks to women, especially in developing countries; and that legal abortion does nothing to solve the problem of maternal mortality, which can only be addressed by improving medical care for women.