by Steven Ertelt
March 4, 2005
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — The United States ultimately dropped its efforts to attach an amendment to a UN document restating support for advancing women’s rights saying such rights do not include abortion. However, pro-life advocates see the situation as a victory as leading pro-abortion countries admitted no international right to abortion exists.
Despite giving up on the amendment, the Bush administration says it was able to gain concessions from many nations by having them admit that the document is abortion neutral.
U.S. Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey told reporters that nations agree abortion decisions should be made at the national and not the international level.
"Whatever happens in the next day or two, I think one of the things that has been very clearly established that should give a lot of comfort to concerned Americans is that virtually every country said we interpret it the same as you — we interpret that these are issues of national sovereignty," Sauerbrey said.
"If we can establish that clearly, we will feel that we have established something constructive," she said.
According to an Associated Press report, delegates from the European Union, the African Union and normally pro-life South American countries preferred to leave the statement unaltered.
Sauerbrey blamed the defections on "peer pressure" and told AP that normally pro-life nations were "intimidated" by nations backing abortion.
While the effort to attach the amendment to the statement failed, pro-life groups hailed the debate and concessions as a success.
The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, a pro-life group that lobbies at the United Nations, reported in their Friday Fax that "the debate provoked by the proposal brought significant admissions by abortion proponents."
"Many of those who often assert that Beijing expands abortion rights agreed this week that the Beijing documents leave abortion policies within the realm of national sovereignty," the pro-life group reported.
The group’s Friday Fax report pointed to statements from the South Korean chair of the meeting and Nicole Ameline, a leading pro-abortion delegate representing France. Both representatives admitted the statement does not advance abortion.
Even leading abortion advocacy groups such as the International Women’s Health Coalition and Equality Now admitted the statement was not a legally binding treaty and “does not say there is an international right to abortion.”
Nations from around the world have been meeting this week to ratify a declaration that states what progress has been made in helping women since a 1995 women’s conference in Beijing.
The UN Commission on the Status of Women, which organized the conference, hopes to produce a document which articulates the progress made and goals left to fulfill in helping women in areas such as health, education and employment.
The Bush administration strongly supports those goals, but does not want to see the document promote abortion as a worldwide right.
Related web sites:
Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute report