Human Rights

International pro-abortion groups urge UN to intervene in US abortion policy

United Nations, UN, abortion

A new letter from pro-abortion human rights groups is urging the United Nations (UN) to intervene in the United States over alleged “inhumane” and “cruel” pro-life protections for babies enacted by states since the overturning of Roe v. Wade

Recently, over 200 pro-abortion “human rights” organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International sent a letter outlining the “devastating human rights implications of Dobbs” – the 2022 Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. The 50-page letter, which strikes an alarmist tone, states that the current state of affairs in the U.S. attacks women’s bodily autonomy and “rejects the agency, dignity and equality of people who can become pregnant.” It cites a number of biased and non-scientific sources, including news articles claiming that instances of medical malpractice are actually due to a lack of abortion

Abortion activist groups associated with the UN sent a similar letter in 2021 after Texas’ pro-life law was upheld, and shortly before the Dobbs decision. 

The most recent letter spews a broad range of debunked claims: that women will die without abortion, that women are currently subject to involuntary confinement, that there could be increased digital surveillance of period tracker apps, that a lack of access to abortion is a violation of religious freedom, and that abortion has to be offered otherwise there will be no cashflow at these facilities to support other forms of reproductive healthcare, lamenting that such facilities are “often financially unable to stay open when abortion services become illegal.”

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They make no mention of the thousands of pregnancy help centers and federally qualified health centers (vastly outnumbering abortion facilities) that provide far more in the way of actual health services to women – without killing preborn babies.

“The US must be castigated on the world stage for its treatment of women, girls and others who can become pregnant – the scale and intensity of human rights violations that the US is inflicting on its population are near unfathomable at this point,” said Christine Ryan, legal director of the Global Justice Center, in a phone interview with the Guardian.

She also decried the lack of action of the Biden administration, despite a coordinated federal response to the Dobbs decision, for not doing more. “There has been an absolute calamity in terms of public health, human rights, and the response has been middling to poor,” Ryan said. 

The abortion activist groups try to tie restrictions on abortion to almost every form of injustice that exists: gender-discrimination, racism, classism, and ageism. Citing the work of a Committee Against Torture (CAT), they go so far as to repeat an argument — completely unmoored from the reality of the violence of abortion — that making abortion illegal is inhumane, as “denial of abortion can result in ‘physical and mental suffering so severe in pain and intensity as to amount to torture.’” Officials at the UN also referred to denial of abortion as “torture” in 2019 as some U.S. states began to enact greater protections for preborn children.

The letter tries to tie restrictions on abortion to almost every form of injustice that exists: gender-discrimination, racism, classism, and ageism. The letter blasts life-of-the-mother exceptions to pro-life laws, arguing that they need to outline exactly what medical diagnoses are allowed or else they are too “vague” or “difficult to implement in practice.” But the reality is there are no reasons to directly and intentionally kill a preborn baby to treat a mother’s health condition, and no law exists preventing medical treatment to save the life of a pregnant woman. Induced abortion is not medically necessary

The letter also decries the requirement for underage girls to notify parents prior to obtaining abortions. Yet as Live Action investigations have shown, unfettered access to abortion puts underage girls at increased risk of exploitation, as abortionists like Planned Parenthood have a track record of covering for dangerous sexual predators.

The letter concludes by trying to frame the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the protection of preborn babies enacted in many states, as an unacceptable break from the country’s track record for respecting and promoting human dignity.

“By overturning the established constitutional protection for access to abortion and through the passage of state laws, the US is in violation of its obligations under international human rights law,” it reads, and ends by calling for the UN to take several actions: conduct a visitation to assess the abortion plight in America; convene “a virtual stakeholder meeting”; call for the US “to comply with its obligations under international law”; and urge “private companies to take a number of actions to protect reproductive rights.” 

The letter to the UN comes after it adopted a resolution last fall declaring abortion to be a human right, and just months after the government of the Philippines rejected a United Nations Human Rights Council recommendation to legalize abortion.

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