San Jose Articles Used to Block Right to Abortion in Uruguay

By Austin Ruse

NEW YORK (C-FAM) An impressive list of dignitaries launched the San Jose Articles in the national legislature of Uruguay last week. Led by Congressman Gerardo Amarilla, the list included many members of the Uruguayan Congress, several former high-ranking Ministers, medical doctors, professors of constitutional law, and one famous soccer player.

There have been efforts in the Uruguayan Senate to liberalize their laws on abortion by the left-leaning coalition. In order to get this achieved they needed a coalition that would include the right-of-center Colorado Party. The Colorado Party declined to join the effort and cited the San Jose Articles when they did.

The Uruguayan launch of the Articles took the San Jose organizers by surprise. “We did not know about this launch until just before it happened,” said a spokesman for the San Jose Signatories. “While we were surprised, we welcome this effort. This is exactly what we had intended, that the Articles would take on a life of their own, that people from around the world would embrace them, make them their own, and promulgate them.”

The Articles were also launched, before a crowd of 1,000 people at the National Philippines for Life Congress in Cebu City. Former Majority Leader of the Philippine Senate Francisco Tatad led the effort. Present were many high-ranking Churchmen including the Archbishop of Cebu and the incoming president of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines. The launch of the Articles was the high point of Senator Tatad’s keynote address to the Congress.

Tatad told the Friday Fax, “The San Jose Articles are primarily meant to shut down the false claim of an international right to abortion; but they constitute one of the biggest boosts so far to our fight against foreign-dictated contraception and sterilization.” The Philippines is under great pressure from UN agencies and American advocacy groups to accept UN-style population control programs.

The San Jose Articles are an expert document signed by such luminaries as Professor Robert George of Princeton, Professor John Haldane of St. Andrews, Professor John Finnis of Oxford, Anna Zaborska of the European Parliament and former French Cabinet Minister Christine Boutin who has launched a bid for the French presidency.

The Articles are intended to help people around the world, especially government officials, to refute claims made by UN personnel and abortion advocates that there exists an international right to abortion. Anand Grover, the UN Special Rapporteur for Health, made this claim as recently as last month in his report to the Secretary General. Governments complained at the time that Grover had overstepped his mandate and that asserting an international right to abortion was none of his business.

Even this week, a large number of Member States imitated a debate in the General Assembly scolding Grover and others for their overreach. They attempted to place an amendment in a GA Resolution to that effect. The effort lost but not by much and marks the first time such a widespread pushback against Special Rapporteurs has occurred.

The San Jose Articles have now been launched at the UN, the European Parliament, the British House of Lords, the World Pro-Life Congress in San Jose, and the National Pro-Life Conference in Calgary. Formal launches are still pending in the US, Chile, Argentina, and the Italian Parliament.

The Articles are now circulating in eight languages including English, French, Spanish, Polish, Croatian, German, Italian, and Slovak. Organizers say many more are to come.

Austin Ruse is President of C-FAM. His 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 ( This article appears with permission.

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