Editor’s note. This analysis was provided by PNCI, the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.
Pro-abortion activists under the direction of Ipas have issued a declaration, The Airlie Declaration for Safe Legal Abortion, calling for “universal access to safe legal abortion” following a meeting near Washington, D.C. The declaration seeks to “repeal laws that criminalize abortion and remove barriers on women’s and girl’s access to safe legal abortion services” and to “make safe, legal abortion universally available, accessible, and affordable for all women and girls.”
The declaration was signed by mostly leaders and officials of pro-abortion organizations including Ipas, IPPF, Marie Stopes, and the Global Fund for Women with very few government officials endorsing the document. It was issued “against the backdrop of the 20-year review by the United Nations of the Program of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo and global debates about the post-2015 development agenda.”
This statement follows yet another defeat for pro-abortion extremists at the recent meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which issued an outcome document that in the context of ‘reproductive rights’—which includes abortion—‘the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious background must be borne in mind.’ This was a clear defeat for those activists who lobby for “universal access to abortion”.
The target of the declaration is the next UN meeting, the Commission on Population and Development, April 7-11, which will evaluate progress on the ICPD Programme of Action which was enacted in Cairo in 1994.
Pro-abortion activists are frustrated that they have not had any success during UN meetings to advance their agenda beyond the gains made in Cairo in 1994. At the upcoming CPD countries will again likely debate whether or not recognition of the right to sovereignty on laws on abortion or recognition of cultural and religious backgrounds will be included in resolutions or outcome documents.
The growing strength of countries at the United Nations that oppose or restrict abortion is an encouragement to all who believe that the child in the womb has a right to life and that her or his mother deserves emotional and practical support.
This declaration is a sign of desperation to advance the antiquated concept of ‘universal access to abortion’ throughout the world while countries are increasingly moving in the opposite direction by upholding laws and policies that protect the unborn child and his or her mother from the violence of abortion. Countries with long histories of abortion on demand are recognizing the negative consequences of legal abortion and are enacting restrictions on abortion, including countries with high abortion rates such as Russia.
Other countries are learning from science and medicine that abortion causes pain to the unborn child and are acting to issue restrictions on abortion past 20 weeks of pregnancy. And yet others are appalled at the discrimination of sex selective abortion and are acting to protect the youngest females in the womb by banning sex selection abortion.
PNCI notes that there is no universal right to abortion, there is no recognized ‘right to abortion’ in any international treaty, however, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) does state, “…the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”. Laws against abortion provide special safeguards to the child before birth as urged by the CRC.
Ipas and other pro-abortion NGOs are targeting the post 2015 global development agenda that will set global UN priorities and budget goals for the future. Included in their ‘wish list’ is advance of universal access to abortion: “Ensure that government and donor priorities for the post-2015 global development framework incorporate safe, legal and accessible abortion as an integral component of gender equality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights”.
Out-dated slogans and arguments on abortion cannot hide the fact that every abortion ends the life of a precious child and can have harmful physical, emotional, or psychological consequences for the woman. Women of the world deserve better. For starters, they deserve sustainable development that helps them and their children to thrive. Abortion does nothing to meet their needs.