NEW YORK, N.Y., August 29, 2006 ( – The pro-life and pro-family forces had a significant impact on the text of the UN Disabilities Convention, which was adopted by the Ad Hoc Committee for the Convention in the late hours Friday, August 25th as a first step toward the final adoption during the upcoming Session of the General Assembly.

There was serious concern that the Convention was being used as a tool to promote anti-life and anti-family ideologies and that a Convention that was meant to protect and promote and ensure all human rights for persons with disability on an equal basis with others would not protect the most basic right of all—their right to life

However, in the final document:
TMÂa Right to Life Article reaffirming the inherent right to life of every human being and calling on States Parties to take all necessary measures to ensure that right for persons with disability was retained;
TMÂlanguage, which is part of the Charter of the UN and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, reaffirming the “worth” as well as the dignity of persons with disability was restored;
TMÂlanguage protecting persons with disability from denial of food and fluids and health care on the basis of their disability was included;
TMÂlanguage affirming the importance of the family, particularly for persons with disability, and its need for protection and assistance was finally accepted;
TMÂlanguage detrimental to marriage and the family was deleted;
TMÂthe phrase “including sexual and reproductive health services” was deleted and replaced by health care and programmes “in the area of sexual and reproductive health.”

In spite of the fact that the undefined term “reproductive health” has never been included in any other UN Treaty document, delegates from pro-life nations accepted the term because they were assured that this term does not include a right to abortion or create any new human rights. In the course of the debate numerous delegates and the chairman stated that the term does not include abortion and no delegate stated that it did.

Delegates from pro-life nations and form pro life Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were concerned because, even though abortion or reproductive health is not even mentioned in other Treaties, the committees charged with monitoring their compliance have gone beyond their mandate and have been pressuring States Parties to legalize abortion. In addition, other UN bodies and powerful pro-abortion Non Governmental Organizations have been misinterpreting the term, which is contained in non-binding UN documents, to justify promoting legalization of abortion throughout the world..

In order to help avoid misinterpretation, the US made the following statement: at the time of adoption of the Convention by the Ad Hoc Committee for the Convention,

“The US understands that the phrase reproductive health does not include abortion, and its use in paragraph 25 (a) does not create any abortion rights, and cannot be interpreted to constitute support, endorsement, or promotion of abortion.”


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