UN Human Rights Commissioner seeks to criminalise abortion opposition
NEW YORK, October 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The recently re-appointed UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, has issued a document calling for governments to criminalise organised opposition to abortion by non-governmental groups such as pro-life lobbyists or even family members. The UN Human Rights Council published its “technical guidance” to address maternal mortality and morbidity in July, to “assist policymakers in improving women’s health and rights.”
The document starts from the abortion industry’s assertion that the best way to reduce maternal mortality is to introduce legalised abortion and reduce legal and other restrictions on abortion. Under the “rights-based” approach to women’s health care, the document says, states are “obliged” to use “maximum available resources” to “protect against interference with sexual and reproductive health rights by third parties by enforcing appropriate laws, policies, regulations and guidelines.”
“There is a strong presumption against any retrogressive measures in relation to sexual and reproductive health,” the document continues.
“States are responsible for exercising due diligence, or acting with a certain standard of care, to ensure that non-governmental actors, including private service providers, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of health-related goods and equipment, as well as community and family members, comply with certain standards.”
Laws and policies that impede access to “sexual and reproductive health services” must be changed, Pillay said. These include laws “criminalizing certain services only needed by women,” laws and policies allowing “conscientious objection of a provider to hinder women’s access to a full range of services,” and “laws imposing third-party authorization for access to services by women and girls”. This list, if the advice were to be taken by the British government, would automatically erase nearly all the remaining legal restrictions on abortion such as the need for two doctors to sign a consent form.
“In other words” said Pat Buckley, Human Rights Council lobbyist for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, “Ms. Pillay is seeking to make effective opposition to abortion provision unlawful on the part of parents; and to criminalize health professionals, administrators and NGOs (like SPUC) who seek to oppose abortion provision - including abortion provision to children under the age of consent.”
Moreover, the document says that “states may be held responsible for private acts if they fail to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish violations of rights.”
The document divides the world into “rights holders” and “duty bearers” and asserts that it is among the obligations of duty bearers to remove all legal and practical barriers to “sexual and reproductive health services” including abortion, abortifacient drugs and artificial contraceptives, which are defined as “fundamental rights”.
“Maternal mortality and morbidity is a product of discrimination against women, and denial of their human rights, including sexual and reproductive health rights,” it says.
Buckley warned that the guidance has little to do with reducing maternal mortality. “The main thrust of the document, instead of focusing on issues central to the reduction of maternal mortality,” he said, “contains a thinly disguised pro-abortion agenda.” It includes outright attacks on “parental rights freedom of conscience and freedom of speech.”
The document also calls on governments to establish Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools and for a budget to be available for dealing with teenage pregnancies through the education system in addition to budgets in the health system.