United Nations: Promotion of Access to Abortion for Refugees and Migrants

By Marie Smith

United Nations

United Nations

The United Nations General Assembly during the first ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which “expresses the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale.” The Declaration includes commitments “to address current issues and to prepare the world for future challenges, including, among other things, to start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018.”

A close examination of the noble sounding declaration, however, reveals that one group will not have their lives saved or their rights protected-unborn children.

In a long list of commitments, the Declaration regrettably includes in point #31 a commitment to “provide access to sexual and reproductive health-care services”. Abortion is considered by most to be a “reproductive health-care service”.

The following day, the insidious promotion of abortion was confirmed as a draft companion set of principles was released by Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and a former director of Amnesty International. Gilmore explained that the Principles and Guidelines, supported by practical guidance, on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations within large and/or mixed movements is meant to provide “brave principled leadership” to put the ideals expressed in the Declaration into practice.

One section is especially troubling for its inclusion of abortion. Principle 12: “Right to health” states in Guideline #4:

“Provide access to rights-based, comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health information and services, including, inter alia, safe and effective methods of modern contraception; emergency contraception; maternal health care including emergency obstetric services, pre- and post-natal care; safe abortion care; prevention, treatment, care and support for sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and specialised care for survivors of sexual violence. Provide, as a priority, a minimum initial service package for reproductive health.”

The 20 draft principles are being developed by Global Migration Group’s Working Group on Human Rights and Gender which is co-chaired by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UN Women, two UN entities known for pro-abortion activism.

The Guidelines reference a statement made by UNFPA and 13 States at the World Humanitarian Summit that it called a “Promising Practice,” during which the 14 “committed to intensify support including financing for humanitarian action to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in crisis settings”.

The goal is that the guiding principles and the New York Declaration will together establish a plan for safe migration in 2018.

Such a plan will not be safe for unborn children and may conflict with national laws if abortion remains part of it.

Editor’s note. This was posted at the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.