by Steven Ertelt
August 30, 2006
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — A United Nations committee has adopted a treaty concerning disabled people and pro-life advocates say they were able to mitigate many of the concerns that the treaty would promote abortion or deny the disabled appropriate medical care. The committee approved the treaty Friday and now the full UN General Assembly must vote on it.
Pro-life nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had a "significant impact" on the UN Disabilities Convention, National Right to Life representative Jeanne Head told LifeNews.com.
Nations opposed to abortion and euthanasia were concerned that the convention would promote both practices in the treaty.
However, in the final document, language appeared reaffirming the inherent right to life of every human being and calling on nations to ensure the rights of the disabled are protected.
Head said language which is part of the Charter of the UN and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was restored in the treaty affirming the worth and dignity of the disabled. The treaty ultimately included a provision protecting persons with disability from denial of food and fluids and health care on the basis of their disability.
Much of the debate had to do with the term "reproductive health" which the United States and other nations worried could lead to promoting abortion.
But Head told LifeNews.com that, even though the phrase has not appeared in other UN treaties, "delegates from pro-life nations accepted the term because they were assured that this term does not include a right to abortion."
Head indicated that, during the debate, the chairman and the delegates of "numerous" countries said the term does not include abortion. No delegate indicated that promoting abortion was in intention of promoting women’s reproductive health.
Pro-life nations and NGOs like National Right to Life, C-FAM and others have been concerned about the "reproductive health" language because UN committees charged with compliance with other treaties have pressured nations to legalize abortion.
Before approving the treaty, the Bush administration issued a statement saying the United States backed the treaty with the understanding that "the phrase reproductive health does not include abortion" and its use in the treaty "does not create any abortion rights."
The 192-nation general Assembly is expected to approve the treaty during its 61st annual session that begins next month. Some 115 nations participated in the committee process.
Should the General Assembly approve the treaty, a disability convention would be held sometime in 2008 or 2009 and nations that ratified the treaty would be required to adopt laws ensuring the disabled are not victims of discrimination.
The committee adopted the treaty on a voice vote.
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.nrlc.org