May 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholics and Anglicans in the island nation of Mauritius have organized a common front against legislation under debate to legalize abortion, while United Nations bureaucrats and the “human rights” group Amnesty International are urging the government to approve the bill.
The two religious groups have also joined with representatives of other religions, including Muslims and Buddhists, to create the “Platform for Life,” an umbrella group that affirms the fundamental value of human life. A rally held by the Platform on May 20th, the day the bill was debated in Parliament, reportedly drew 400 people, including religious leaders, doctors, politicians, and pro-life activists.
Maurice Piat, the Catholic bishop of the capital city of Port-Louis reportedly stated that the right of “choice” is not applicable to abortion, and that if it were “you might as well give the right to people to choose to sell drugs, or devote themselves to pedophilia.”
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“We cannot present a law with the single purpose of pleasing certain organizations or a group of people. We’re talking about human life,” said Anglican bishop Ian Ernest.
Ernest has also announced that the island’s Anglicans are preparing to publish a document called “The Sanctity of Life,” offering various arguments against the legalization of abortion. “I ask for help from all those involved, because it is necessary now to make an effort if we really want to have this victory,” he said.
The bill, which was approved by the government’s Council of Ministers on May 4th, would legalize abortion in cases of danger to the woman’s “mental health,” a vague concept that can be used to justify virtually any abortion. It would also permit abortions in cases or rape, or statutory rape of a minor under the age of 16, as well as eugenic abortions in cases of fetal deformity.
It is currently illegal in Maurice to kill unborn children in any circumstance. A final vote on the reform bill has not yet been held.
The impending repeal of the law follows years of pressure by the United Nations committee that monitors compliance with the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which has begun in recent years to claim that the Convention requires Mauritius and other countries to legalize abortion.
At a debate held on Wednesday at the University of Mauritius, a representative from the CEDAW Committee, Pramila Patten, reiterated the Committee’s position that “Mauritius has the obligation to legalize abortion by amending the penal code,” in the words of the Mauritian newspaper L’express.
Amnesty International also issued a statement on the bill, reiterating the organization’s position that prohibiting abortion to rape and incest victims is tantamount to “torture.”
“To force a woman to carry such a pregnancy to term represents a grave risk for her mental and physical health, a torment revealing moral and physical torture,” wrote Michel Ahnee, of Amnesty International’s Mauritius Section, who also claimed that those who oppose the bill “seek to maintain this undignified treatment of Mauritian women on the pretext of particularistic moral conceptions.”
Embassy of Mauritius in the United States
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