Sunday 26 April 2009

Defeating the myth of the right to abortion

Last year the Human Rights Law Review published Abortion as a Human Right – International and Regional Standards by Christina Zampas and Jaime Gher of the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York. In a review of this article, Dr Jakob Cornides (right) points out that its authors, though writing in a scholarly journal, work for an organisation with a pro-abortion agenda.

The authors of the article describe how the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa calls on countries to "protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the other or the foetus." Disturbing though this is, Dr Cornides points out that this protocol is unique among human rights treaties in describing abortion as a right. He also questions whether the African nations which signed it were sincere in doing so, particularly since development aid can be conditional upon following donor countries' social agendas.

Zampas and Gher concede that, even in liberal western countries, abortion is not enshrined as a right; Dr Cornides points out that no nation's law actually permits totally unrestricted abortion.

The authors of the article claim that UN conferences on population and women that were held in Cairo in 1994 and in Beijing the year after brought so-called reproductive health into the realm of social justice. However, that term was not intended to include abortion, as has been clarified by the European Commission and the USA.

Dr Cornides' review undermines the credibility of what is claimed to be a growing consensus in favour of abortion as a right, as well as questioning the mandate of various experts who pronounce on the issue.

Turning to how abortion might be justified in terms of natural law, he writes: "[I]t is uncontested that the human fetus is human from the very moment of its conception, as it comes into existence through the union of a human sperm and a human ovum. It is [at] this moment that the unique genetic identity of a child is created. From that moment, the fetus does not pass through different stages of evolution - from amoeba to homo sapiens – but is and remains human throughout gestation." This is the pure, stark truth which our pro-abortion opponents must constantly obfuscate and flee.

Zampas and Gher actually make no reasoned case for abortion. Rather, they appeal to UN documents, as if the United Nations somehow conferred humanity on the world's people.

Crushingly, Dr Cornides writes of the authors: " They speak of ‘human rights’, but do not appear to know who is human, nor what corresponds to … human nature, nor what a right is. The ‘rights’ they are advocating float around freely; they are neither grounded in positive law, nor in natural law, nor is there, despite claims made by the authors, a true political or social ‘consensus’ to support these purported rights."