BUENOS AIRES, November 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Flush with a recent $100 million donation from leftist billionaire George Soros, the abortion lobby Human Rights Watch (HRW) is setting its sights on Argentina, where it hopes to pressure the government to remove “obstacles” to abortion and sterilization, and allow the distribution of contraceptives to children as young as 13 years of age, without parental approval.

Following the publication of a new report detailing their demands, Human Rights Watch’s Marianne Mollmann has been scheduled to testify before the Penal Legislation Committee of the Argentinean Chamber of Deputies, the nation’s lower legislative house, tomorrow at 4 pm. Pro-life organizations have not been invited to testify.

HRW complains that the number of abortions conducted in the country hasn’t risen for years, and that the government is failing to fire doctors and nurses who refuse to carry out “reproductive health services,” which include abortions, sterilizations, and the distribution of contraceptives even to young minors.

“The ministry [of health] also has the power to remove from state-funded institutions medical and other personnel who do not fully implement current laws and policies, yet doctors and nurses who refuse to provide services, or who mistreat women, remain in their jobs,” the organization writes.

Birth control for girls under 14…even without their parents

HRW is particularly concerned about the fact that many government employees refuse to give birth control to teens without a parent present, and sometimes refuse to give contraceptives to 13 year olds on the grounds that they should not be having sex.

“Officials from NGOs told Human Rights Watch that many adolescents, regardless of their age or adult supervision, face serious obstacles in accessing the reproductive health services they need.  Many health centers are reluctant to provide services even to girls over the age of 14,” laments the group, adding that “some girls under 13 are also not given contraception, even with parental supervision.”

The pro-abort organization makes it clear in the report that it wants children under 14 years old to be able to receive contraceptives even if they are accompanied by an adult who is not their parent.

“A first set of concerns related to overbroad interpretation of the clause requiring adult supervision when adolescents under 14 visit health centers,” HRW writes. “The regulation states that the adult need not be the child’s parent, and that their presence is only required where contraceptives other than condoms are prescribed.”

However, HRW complains, “health professionals and health care users Human Rights Watch spoke to were confused on this point.  A social worker from Buenos Aires Province with more than a decade of experience in reproductive and sexual health explained to Human Rights Watch that, in her experience, most Argentine teenagers do not want to approach their parents for help in accessing contraception and therefore don’t go to health centers.  She said girls under 14 were essentially left unprotected by the fact that the law is routinely thought to require parental presence.  If there is no law to protect the doctor [in providing services to a girl under 14 without a parent present], we’re always going to have a problem.”

The pro-abortion organization blames the “obstacles” to its goals on “nationalistic interests combined with an orthodox Catholic discourse on family values,” and adds disparagingly that “anti-abortion and anti-contraception messages still carry political weight in a country where the government as recently as 1999 declared an annual national Day of the Unborn Child, which some people still celebrate.”

More to come in 2011?

Jorge Nicolás Lafferriere, director of the Center for Bioethics, the Person, and the Family, told LifeSiteNews that the hearings tomorrow seem like little more than a bid for publicity for HRW, given that it comes at the end of the year, with no possibility of a vote during the current legislative session. However, he is concerned that HRW may be building momentum for a legislative push next year.

“There are various [pro-abortion] bills in the Congress, one of which has 47 deputies as co-signers,” said Lafferriere. He added that although the upcoming presidential elections could delay a vote on such bills, “we fear that this could be produced by international pressures and by pressures from leftist abortionist groups.”

Related links:

Human Rights Watch Report: Illusions of Care: Lack of Accountability for Reproductive Rights in Argentina, August 2010

Center for Bioethics, the Person, and the Family (Spanish)