March 29, 2011 ( – A group of 78 Argentinean obstetricians and gynecologists have signed a public declaration in favor of the right to life and against proposed legislation to legalize the killing of the unborn in their country, basing their position on the science of human development.

The declaration, called the Manifesto for Life, affirms: “Science teaches that life begins with conception.  To deny this certainty of biology is not an expression of lack of faith, but rather a lack of fundamental knowledge of human genetics.” It adds: “If this truth is also affirmed by religions, it does not for that reason cease to be a strictly scientific truth.”

“From the moment that the ovum is fertilized, a new life begins that is not the life of the father nor the mother, but rather a new human being that develops autonomously,” the doctors continue. “To affirm that ‘women can do with their bodies what they want’ and therefore have the right to abortion, besides being a presumptuous affirmation, is not in any way supported by science. The embryo is not part of the body of the mother, nor is the fetus an organ of her body: the DNA of the embryo is distinct from its progenitors.

“There are moments in medical practice – we physicians are also human beings – in which, perhaps, health professionals don’t know what to do to resolve the problem of a particular pregnancy. But we know what not to do: to directly kill the child, making ourselves the owners and lords of life and death.”

The physicians counsel that the “most effective strategy” to prevent abortion is “moral and ethical education.” They say that “it is not sufficient to give information on biological, physiological, and anatomical facts about the human body,” arguing that education should “impart teaching on values, in such a way that new generations adopt a responsible, ordered, and dignified attitude towards sexuality.”

Regarding proposed pro-abortion legislation in Argentina, the manifesto points out that Argentina is the signatory of numerous human rights accords that also protect the unborn.

“The right to life and liberty of conscience are protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (articles 3 and 18 respectively), of the American Convention on Human Rights (articles 4 and 12.1), in the International Pact on Political and Civil Rights (articles 6 and 18.1), in the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (art. 5.d-liberty of conscience), and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (articles 1 and 14.1),” the manifesto states. It adds that such accords have an equal status with the Constitution itself under Argentinean law.

The manifesto was published by Nicolás Lafferriere of the Center for Bioethics, the Person, and the Family, on the organization’s website. It can be read here in Spanish.