Mauritius Resists UN Pressure on Abortion

Bishop Calls Government to Improve Women’s Lives

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PORT-LOUIS, Mauritius, SEPT. 16, 2011 ( The tiny island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean off southern Africa, is legally speaking one of the safest places for an unborn child in Africa.

Bishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis is having to appeal to political leaders to keep it that way.

The government of Mauritius has ratified a U.N. convention on discrimination against women, but now faces pressure to approve legislation relaxing laws against abortion, Vatican Radio reported Tuesday.

Currently abortion is only legal in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.

Bishop Piat is opposing legislation, stemming from the U.N. Convention, which would establish a «right» to abortion during the first six months of pregnancy.

«I hope they will address this question using the criteria of genuine human morality,» he said, especially «when it is a question of human life and the respect to which human life has a right from conception.»

Bishop Piat noted how the Church stands with women facing an unwanted pregnancy, but stressed that «abortion isn’t a right because there is a duty to protect the child.»


The bishop also had to answer objectors who claimed that debate on the issue is for the health care and political sectors, and that the Church should stay silent.

«The Church expresses a human point of view and, hence, one that is inevitably moral,» he explained. «The Christian faith is not separated from what is essential for human dignity.»

«The Gospel sheds light on all that allows man and woman to be genuinely human and to aspire to the happiness to which they have a right,» he added.

The bishop called the government to focus on «the causes that lead to abortion» and not to limit itself to «a management of its consequences.»

Specifically, he exhorted the executives «to help mothers and families in difficulties, offering them better conditions of life and fitting salaries, so that they are more motivated to look after their children.»

He also pointed out the importance of a «network of solidarity» for women, so that they do not feel alone when faced with an unwanted child.

«A woman’s right when she is faced with an unwanted pregnancy is, in the first place, to benefit from all the support and all the solidarity necessary for the family and society to bring a child into the world,» Bishop Piat affirmed. 

He also called for education in sexuality, understood as «an education that presents the nobility of human sexual love lived in the context of a lasting and committed love in matrimony throughout life.»

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