UN Committee Calls Abortion a Human Right, Punishes Country That Protected Unborn Baby

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 3, 2016   |   5:38PM   |   New York, NY

The United Nations Human Rights Committee punished the pro-life nation of Peru in December, forcing it to pay reparations to a woman who was not allowed to abort her unborn baby.

The UN committee declared abortion a “human right” in the woman’s case and said the country was wrong to deny her an abortion, according to Mic. The decision involved the 2001 case of a 17-year-old Peruvian woman whose unborn baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a neurological condition that is usually fatal, the report states. The young woman, “K.L.,” wanted to abort her unborn baby, but Peruvian doctors refused. Abortion is illegal in Peru except when the life of the mother is threatened.

K.L. later gave birth to her child who lived for four days outside the womb, the report states. K.L.’s mother claimed her daughter “sank into a deep depression” because she was “forced” to allow her baby to live rather than allowed to abort the child, according to the report.

Her case went to the UN committee where her lawyers argued that Peru subjected the young mother to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” by not allowing her to abort her unborn child, the Huffington Post reports. The committee ruled in K.L.’s favor in 2005, and in December 2015, it forced Peru to pay reparations to the young woman, the report states. The UN Human Rights Committee said Peru violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by not allowing K.L. to kill her unborn child. Reports do not indicate the amount that the committee forced Peru to pay the young woman.

Abortion activists celebrated the deadly decision this week. Many said they hope the decision will set a precedent that will force other pro-life countries across the globe to legalize abortion.

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“In seeing justice delivered in K.L.’s case — watching it go from A to Z — we are part of an inspiring historic moment,” Lilian Sepúlveda, one of the attorneys originally involved in K.L.’s case told the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We are witnessing the results of advocates’ dedicated perseverance and the power of the UN and other international bodies to ensure our basic human rights to dignity, health and freedom from ill-treatment.”

Abortion activists have been trying to sway the UN Human Rights Committee for decades. Last fall, Stefano Gennarini told LifeNews that the committee published a draft opinion on the “right to life” in international law that assigns mothers the right to abort their children.

He continued:

What is surprising in “General Comment 36”, as the draft report is known, is the complete absence of any protections for children in the womb, despite a flurry of pro-life concern ahead of its release.

The draft states, “the Covenant does not explicitly refer to the rights of unborn children, including to their right to life.” It concludes therefore that, “the Committee cannot assume that article 6 imposes on State parties an obligation to recognize the right to life of unborn children.”

It goes on to say that if countries wish to protect life in the womb they “may” only do so if they guarantee women the right to abort their children in cases of rape, incest, and when their child in utero is disabled.

… The claims about the “right to abort” in the draft are not unprecedented. They consolidate previous UN recommendations in the past two decades. But they have never been expressed so categorically.

Thirty pro-life groups are pleading with the UN committee to reverse the language and not declare abortion a human right.

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