Ministers of UN member-states, concluding the high-level segment of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva this week, have agreed on a declaration on global public health following tough negotiations which involved two late-night sessions.
Some EU member-states, collaborating with the international pro-abortion lobby, attempted to include a right to abortion in the declaration. Malta, Poland and Ireland, assisted by pro-life experts, resisted the attempt and the final declaration contained no new abortion rights language.
Pat Buckley, who represented SPUC at the meeting, said from Geneva:
"The outcome was a victory for life and for the family. States with a pro-abortion agenda should realise and accept that there is no agreement among either EU or UN member-states to recognise a right to abortion. In fact, such a right is impossible, as the right to life of unborn children is upheld in international human rights law, which needs to be interpreted correctly by nation-states."
Malta made a statement in the plenary session on Thursday which reiterated the nation's ongoing commitment to supporting the life of the unborn:
"[W]e wish to reiterate our strong opposition to the use of abortion as a means through which issues relating to sexual and reproductive health may be dealt with. Any discussion of rights in connection with reproductive health cannot take place outside the framework of one of the most fundamental human rights - the right to life. Malta strongly believes that the right to life extends to the unborn child from the moment of conception, and that therefore the use of abortion as a means of resolving health or social problems was a denial of that right. Termination of pregnancy through induced abortion is illegal in Malta. Consequently we consistently disassociate ourselves from, and consider invalid, all statements or decisions that use references to sexual and reproductive health, directly or indirectly, to impose obligations on anyone to accept abortion as a right, a service or a commodity that may exist outside the ambit of national legislation. We do so again at this meeting."* The full title of the declaration is: "Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health", ministerial declaration, 2009 high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council presented by the President of the Council.
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