New UN Human Rights Treaty May Include Right to Abortion, Euthanasia

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New UN Human Rights Treaty May Include Right to Abortion, Euthanasia Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 10, 2006

New York, NY ( — The fight to keep abortion and euthanasia out of international documents at the United Nations is a never-ending one for pro-life advocates. A meeting begins next week that will spark another battle to make sure a treaty does not contain requirements for nations to change their laws to back abortion.

UN delegates gather in New York Monday to begin work to finalize the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

According to Susan Yoshihara of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, one of the pro-life groups that lobbies at the UN, the treaty will be considered “hard” international law.

In an article she wrote for the Friday Fax, a CFAM publication, Yoshihara explains that "most documents negotiated at the UN are non-binding. Treaties, such as this one, require governments to change their domestic laws based on the treaty."

Should abortion and euthanasia make their way into the treaty that’s bad news for pro-life nations that prohibit abortions and the majority of the world that has laws protecting the disabled and the elderly from losing lifesaving medical treatment.

UN pressure on nations to confirm with the pro-abortion ethic of most industrialized nations is nothing new.

Since the Cairo conference on population control in 1995, abortion advocates the UN have attempted to pass a treaty forcing pro-life nations to accept abortion. This new treaty is seen by pro-life advocates as the latest step in that decade-long lobbying effort.

United Nations organizations such as the UNFPA and UNICEF already use existing language in some treaties to bully nations into accepting the pro-abortion language in them.

The UNFPA has long been complicit in China’s family planning program that involves forced abortions and sterilization and harassment of offenders and family members.

In October 2004, UNICEF officials wrote members of the New Zealand parliament telling them to oppose efforts to require abortion business to tell parents when their teenage daughters are considering an abortion.

And UN committees have long tried to coerce officials in countries in South America and Europe to ditch their pro-life laws and legalize abortion in some or all cases.

Yoshihara says the draft text of the latest treaty contains ambiguous language such as "reproductive health" that abortion advocates have long interpreted as including abortion.

Meanwhile, "the current text provides virtually no protection for the disabled from euthanasia due to a perceived diminishment in their quality of life," Yoshihara explains.

She said pro-life advocates caution "that if delegates do not challenge the current text, there will be no safeguards against the worst outcomes – including the creation of new and enforceable rights such as the right to death and an unrestricted right to abortion."

The UN meeting begins on August 14 and lasts through the 25th and with be the eighth meeting in the process to ratify the treaty. It may be the last session and keeping abortion and euthanasia out of the document is paramount.

Other documents have had similar ambiguous language in them, but pro-life nations have made sure that the language is not used to promote abortion.

Last year, Ellen Sauerbrey, the U.S. representative to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, lobbied other nations to include language in a document reaffirming the Cairo conference statements, to ensure that it did not back abortion.

The U.S. eventually agreed to drop the request for the language when other nations agreed that they would not use the document to promote overturning laws against abortion in dozens of countries.

Sauerbrey told reporters in March of last year that nations agreed abortion decisions should be made at the national and not the international level.

"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.

However, such agreements are fragile and abortion advocates continue to push abortion at the international level.

Yoshihara warned that the previous arrangements may not be attached to this document.

"Because the treaty will be binding upon states parties, however, there is no reason to expect that national definitions will provide protection for nations who disagree with interpretations that run counter to their own when the treaty enters the compliance and implementation phase," she said.

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