Saturday, 5 June 2010

Furious Polish diplomats are fighting to defend Poland's restrictive abortion legislation

A huge attack on Poland's restrictive abortion legislation has been launched by United Nations officials at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week.

"Polish diplomats in Geneva are furious," Pat Buckley (pictured) tells me. (Pat is in Geneva lobbying in Geneva on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children at the 14th Session of the Human Rights Council.) "Monday's session promises to be lively," he says.

Pat reports:
"The 14th session of the Human Rights Council currently meeting in Geneva considered (on Friday, 4th June) the report submitted by Mr. Anand Grover, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

"Annexe 3 of Mr. Grover’s report consists of a report on his visit to Poland and in the main consists of a radical and comprehensive attack on Poland’s pro-life position on access to abortion, conscientious objection, contraception and sex education."
Mr Grover complained in his report that Poland remains one of the few European countries that significantly restrict women’s access to abortion, citing Malta and Ireland where the law also provides protection for unborn children.

Typically of pro-abortion officials, Mr Grover sought, mendaciously, to advance his attack on Polish legislation by suggesting that expert, specialized, bodies of international opinion were worried about the consequences of Poland's restrictive abortion law - when these bodies are, in reality, the most powerful pro-abortion campaigning groups in the world. Pat reports:
"Mr Grover said that in 2007 the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) voiced concern in relation to Poland’s obligations under article 12 of the Convention (on women’s equal right to access health-care services) and specifically called for 'concrete measures to enhance women’s access to health care, in particular to sexual and reproductive health services, including: research on the scope, causes and consequences of illegal abortion and its impact on women’s health and life; measures to ensure women’s access to legal abortion services and against limitation of such access by the use of the conscientious objection clause'.

"Mr Grover then asserted that in 2009, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its Concluding Observations, called upon Poland to “take all effective measures to ensure that women enjoy their right ... by enforcing the legislation on abortion and implementing a mechanism of timely and systematic referral in cases of conscientious objection”
In reality, The CEDAW convention and the committee which implements it are the vehicles for one of the most radical pro-abortion campaigns ever whilst, only last month, Northern Irish pro-life leaders had occasion to criticise the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for calling for Britain's liberal abortion law to be extended to Northern Ireland.

Pat reports that Mr Grover did not fail to extend his attack to the Catholic Church in Poland, following the growing trend in international politics not to allow freedom of conscience for those who oppose abortion. Pat tells me:
"Mr. Grover in an attack on the Catholic Church noted with regret that women in Poland face numerous obstacles in accessing abortion services, even when according to him they are legally entitled to an abortion. He is concerned that non-State actors, such as priests, interfere with access to legal and safe abortions and sets out instances in which he claims this occurred."
The ugly face of the culture of death was seen yesterday at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in the following section of Mr Grover's chilling report. Freedom of religion, conscience and thought is to be swept aside in favour of the alleged right to kill unborn children. Here is one small sample:
"Health-care providers’ conscientious objection to involvement in certain health-
related procedures is grounded in the right to freedom of religion, conscience and thought. However, the exercise of conscientious objection should not entail interference with sexual and reproductive health rights, which are fundamental. However, the Special Rapporteur notes with concern that these conditions for invoking conscientious objection are not being met in Poland. Numerous reports indicate that some doctors, hospital directors, anaesthesiologists and auxiliary medical personnel such as midwives and nurses invoke the conscientious objection clause in refusing to perform abortions, and do not comply with their legal obligations under the Act of 5 December 1996 on the profession of physician and dentist, to refer women to other providers who will perform the termination of pregnancy."
As Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland development officer, pointed out last week when the UN turned its pro-abortion fire on Northern Ireland:
"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights upholds the inherent dignity and equal rights of all members of the human family, including children before birth. It is disturbing, therefore, to see how far the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has departed from the UN's founding principles.

"Abortion not only denies the fundamental human rights of children but it is deeply damaging to women. It is clear that the committee has no real concern for either women or children and knows nothing about Northern Ireland. If it did, then it would know that there is no evidence of so-called backstreet abortion in Northern Ireland and that in fact we have the best maternal mortality record in the UK.

"UN committees must be told to stop promoting abortion. It is time for pro-life politicians everywhere to call on the UN to return to its founding principles and protect the human rights of all members of the human family from the first moments of life until its natural end."
Finally, I am glad to tell you that Pat Buckley, SPUC's man in Geneva, reports that Poland stoutly defended its laws:
"The Polish delegate Mr. Branislav Lysák told the meeting that in the last 20 years infant mortality had dropped by 71% and maternal mortality in Poland was down by 82% in the same period. These figures according to Mr. Lysák contradict the assumption that liberalization of abortion improves maternal mortality.

"Abortion access according to Mr Lysák was available on social and economic grounds in Poland between 1956 and 1993 and Polish experience proves that there is no simple correlation between liberalization of abortion and improvement of maternal health except that the relationship could be inversely proportionate. Improvement of maternal health he said depends on overallmedical conditions.

"Mr Lysák told the meeting that there is no universal right to abortion and regulation of that issue is the exclusive competence of States as set out in various international documents such as the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)"
All power to Poland's elbow as it strugges to prevent universal human rights being trampled on in the very place designated by world powers to uphold them. They will I'm sure be mindful of that greatest of 20th century Polish figures, Pope John Paul II, who said in Evangelium Vitae(18):
"On the one hand, the various declarations of human rights and the many initiatives inspired by these declarations show that at the global level there is a growing moral sensitivity, more alert to acknowledging the value and dignity of every individual as a human being, without any distinction of race, nationality, religion, political opinion or social class.

"On the other hand, these noble proclamations are unfortunately contradicted by a tragic repudiation of them in practice. This denial is still more distressing, indeed more scandalous, precisely because it is occurring in a society which makes the affirmation and protection of human rights its primary objective and its boast. How can these repeated affirmations of principle be reconciled with the continual increase and widespread justification of attacks on human life? How can we reconcile these declarations with the refusal to accept those who are weak and needy, or elderly, or those who have just been conceived? These attacks go directly against respect for life and they represent a direct threat to the entire culture of human rights. It is a threat capable, in the end, of jeopardizing the very meaning of democratic coexistence: rather than societies of "people living together", our cities risk becoming societies of people who are rejected, marginalized, uprooted and oppressed."

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