Guatemala withdraws reservation against pro-abortion language in UN documents

The decision was made by Guatemala's delegate during the negotiations on a new UN resolution on "Fertility, reproductive health and development", terms that are often associated with pro-abortion measures.
Thu Apr 14, 2011 - 9:52 pm EST

NEW YORK, April 14, 2011 ( - Guatemala’s delegation to the United Nations has withdrawn its reservation against pro-abortion interpretations of international treaty language, LifeSiteNews has learned.

After an anonymous source informed LifeSiteNews (LSN) over the decision by the delegation, this news agency verified the fact in a direct interview with the Guatemalan representative who made the decision: Connie Taracena, Guatemala’s delegate to the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Affairs Committee.

The decision was made by Taracena during the negotiations on a new UN resolution on “Fertility, reproductive health and development”, terms that are often associated with pro-abortion measures. The measure, which is still in draft form, contains unprecedented language that pro-life activists fear could be used to justify the provision of abortion.

The “Cairo Reservation” is a measure taken by nations to prevent UN language from being interpreted in favor of the legalization of abortion.  It is so-named because it was first used at the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994.

The official declaration of the conference contained language about “reproductive rights” and “reproductive health” that could be interpreted in favor of the legalization and provision of abortion.  The Cairo Reservation allows countries to reject such interpretations.

In her brief interview with LSN, Taracena initially refused to answer any questions about negotiations, referring this reporter to Guatemala’s legislation on social development. However, LSN then asked: “have you removed the Cairo Reservation? What have you done with the Cairo Reservation? I understand that you removed that, is it true or not?”

“Yes, we did,” Taracena responded.

“Well, if you removed the Cairo Reservation then you are pro-abortion, are you not?”

“No, we are not,” Taracena answered, and added that “we are in favor of safe maternity.”

Carlos Polo, head of the Latin America office of the pro-life Population Research Institute, lamented the decision by Taracena. “It’s a shame that UN representatives decide the positions of countries in secret, without consulting them. I am sure that the Guatemalan people do not want to support abortion,” Polo told LSN.

“The reservation made in the Cairo Conference says clearly that any mention of Reproductive Health and other similar terms do not signify abortion,” Polo added. “There is definitely no other motive in withdrawing it than opening the doors to abortion.  And I ask if that is to be decided in the closed door negotiations in New York or does it have to be decided openly in Guatemala?”

  abortion, guatemala, un, united nations