United Nations Meeting on Women Sees Abortion Fight Continue

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 2, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

United Nations Meeting on Women Sees Abortion Fight Continue

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 2, 2005

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — Members of the European Union are opposing an amendment to a document about the rights of women that says abortion should not be an international right. The United States has proposed the amendment to a statement about the progress that has been made in advancing women’s rights since a 1995 conference in Beijing.

Nicole Ameline, France’s minister in charge of gender equality, told the Associated Press that adopting the amendment would be a step backwards for women.

The abortion fight centers on a phrase "reproductive health services" in the document. While the Beijing declaration does not promote abortion, many countries that back abortion have interpreted it that way and definite it as a guarantee to abortion. Pro-life nations say the phrase should be used to talk about other types of health care for pregnant women.

U.S. Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, head of the U.S. delegation, told the Associated Press that the U.S. amendment would address "what we believe to be the internationally agreed definition of reproductive health services," which does not include abortion.

"There is no fundamental right to abortion," Sauerbrey said. "And yet it keeps coming up, largely driven by NGOs (non-government groups) trying to hijack the term to make it into a definition."

Ameline said the amendment should be opposed because it gives the world the impression that countries are going backwards on efforts to help women.

"If we are defining a term as it was originally used, I don’t consider that to be reopening negotiations," Sauerbrey responded.

The declaration will be considered on Friday and a consensus is needed among the nations at the UN Commission on the Status of Women for it to be adopted.