By Lord David Alton
(C-FAM, London) When Lord Nicholas Windsor became a Catholic, he renounced his claim to the throne and embraced the Church’s teaching on the right to life of the unborn. This week in a Committee Room of Parliament, he supported a groundbreaking defense of that right, stating “I see the San Jose Articles as an attempt to draw a line and fight back against the strong drift towards conjuring a fully-fledged right to abortion from out of the provisions of international human rights law.”
More than 30 senior politicians, diplomats, lawyers, scholars and public figures from around the world have signed the San Jose Articles, a document that defends the unborn child and refutes the subversive international campaign that falsely claims that abortion is a human right.
The importance of the Articles was recently underlined when the UN Special Rapporteur on Health, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UN Secretary General all wrongly stated that a right to abortion exists. It is precisely this approach which has led to the gendercide that has taken the lives of over 100 million girls – aborted because of their sex.
The San Jose Articles, named for the city where they were drafted in Costa Rica in March 2011, were launched this month at the United Nations. Further launches have taken place in legislatures around the world – with Jim Dobbin MP and Fiona Bruce MP, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the All Party Pro Life Group, joining me at Westminster.
The San Jose Articles begin by proclaiming the scientific fact that human life begins at conception and further explains that no UN treaty mentions abortion or defines reproductive health as including abortion. On the contrary, a number of human rights treaties recognize the humanity of unborn children and the rights and duties of governments to protect them as members of the human family.
Over two-thirds of UN member-states have laws recognizing that unborn children deserve protection. Only 56 countries permit abortion for any reason, and only 22 of these are without restriction.
Some UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and wealthy countries are waging a campaign to bully and manipulate nations – from Nicaragua to Kenya; from Columbia to Ireland – into changing their laws on abortion. In this effort they misquote treaties and, more deplorably, use aid as a form of blackmail. Developing countries are told they will lose help for the poor if they fail to conform. Protecting the unborn can lead to retaliation and retribution. Sweden, for instance, withdrew all assistance to Nicaragua after it failed to pass a liberal abortion law. To justify this shocking intrusion, Sweden said abortion “is super important to us”.
Some countries are undoubtedly succumbing to the bullying and bogus assertions. The High Court of Colombia changed its country’s abortion laws based on false claims.
While no international right to abortion exists, the “right to life” is set out in Article 3 of The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which had its genesis in the horrors of the Second World War. The San Jose Articles re-assert the admirable impulses that gave birth to the 1948 Declaration and recognize that the greatest of all rights is the right to life.
I ended my remarks at the Westminster launch with a true story.
In 1954 Joanne Schieble, a young unmarried student, discovered she was pregnant. Her father would not let her marry the child’s father. Although she could have had an abortion, it was illegal and dangerous. Instead, she arranged to have the baby adopted.
Paul and Clara Jobs adopted the baby boy and named him Steven.
Not every child will have a life as remarkable as Steve Jobs. But with every abortion we have little idea of who we are so casually losing. As the San Jose Articles remind us, every life is precious.
This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (http://www.c-fam.org). This article appears with permission.