Editor’s note. This appeared on the webpage of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI).
50 Members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter initiated by Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Tx.) to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressing concern for the High Commissioner’s recent statement ‘Upholding women’s human rights essential to Zika response’ which appears to call on Zika-affected countries to change laws against abortion.
The Member letter asks the top United Nations human rights official to “immediately clarify your statements to make clear that you and the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights are not calling for changes to laws protecting the human rights of unborn children, and particularly unborn children with disabilities in countries affected by the Zika virus.”
The Members of Congress emphasized the need for governments to determine the best policies on how to stop the spread of the virus and opposed the promotion of abortion generated by an unconfirmed link to microcephaly in unborn children:
“We believe the Zika virus should be a time for thoughtful deliberation as local and national governments determine the best policies to curb the spread of this disease. It should not be an occasion to exploit a genuine public health crisis to advance a political agenda to overturn laws of many nations protective of life at all stages of development. Yet advocates for abortion have seized upon the fear surrounding this new disease to push a radical pro-abortion agenda, especially in parts of the world that have laws that affirm the basic human rights of unborn children.”
The congressmen and women also objected to the assertion that a “pro-abortion standard” exists or emanates from U.N. treaty compliance committees as pro-abortion entities claim stating,
“States party to these bodies do not consent to have committee members alter their domestic legislation and any such attempt to do so would be a breach of Article 2 of the U.N. Charter which offers robust protections of state sovereignty, and other principles of international law. Compliance committees cannot permit red to mean blue because some of their members believe it so. Compliance committees, like the states that acceded to the corresponding international agreements, are bound by the plain text of the documents that generate the committees’ existence.”
In closing, they implored the High Commissioner “to clarify your statement to make clear you are not lending your voice to efforts to capitalize on this disease to promote a politically motivated pro-abortion agenda. We hope that your recent remarks do not favor abortion as a public health tool to tackle the Zika virus, and would appreciate a response with your clarification.”
PNCI notes that the statement from the High Commissioner sounds similar to statements from pro-abortion organizations which are using the health crisis to push the agenda of universal access to abortion on countries most impacted by the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean whose laws against abortion are among the strongest in the world.