The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Man (Geneva) on November 2, 2017, took up the discussion regarding abortion in the framework of the revision of its general observations on the right to life, guaranteed by Article 6 of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights.
Of the Committee’s 18 expert members, only six took to the floor, and five expressed themselves in favour of abortion.
Frenchman Olivier de Frouville and American Sarah Cleveland were the most ardent promoters of a wide right to abortion, insisting on the need to impose the de-criminalization of abortion and to guarantee less expensive access to it. In essence, they called for the affirmation of a right to abortion that is “safe, legal and affordable,” following in this the slogan of <International Family Planning>.
Thus they envisage going even further of what is provided in the original text, adopted in a first reading. As regards the unborn child, the French member stated that it was preferable not to mention it, believing that the Committee shouldn’t be encumbered with philosophical considerations or conflictive theories.
Only the German expert, Mrs Seibert-Fohr, had the courage to oppose the pro-abortion offensive by reminding that Article 6 of the Pact is geared to guaranteeing the right to life and asking to remember that States have a “legitimate interest in protecting the life of the foetus.” She stressed that the Committee can’t pretend to enounce a universal interpretation of the right to life by overruling that of regional jurisdictions, in particular of the European Court of the Rights of Man.
There was also a question of the Committee’s activism. While several States reproached it for acting beyond its mandate, the experts of the said Committee replied that, in their opinion, the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights is a living document.” In declaring it such, the experts released themselves from the obligation to interpret this treaty in a strict manner and conferred on themselves the power to interpret it in a progressive way, namely, beyond its letter.
In early October, the ECLJ addressed a Memorandum to the Committee in defence of the right to life, with the support of more than 130,000 signatories to a petition for the protection of every human life.
The debate will be taken up again on November 3, 2017.