This press release has been updated and is available here.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee (Geneva) resumed on the 1st of November the discussion regarding abortion as part of the revising of its draft general comment on the right to life, guaranteed by article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Out of the 18 experts members of the Committee, only six took the floor, and five of them spoke in favour of abortion.
The French Olivier de Frouville and the American Sarah Cleveland were the most fervent promoters of a large right to abortion, insisting on the necessity to impose its decriminalisation and guarantee to a cheap access to it. They asked, in substance, for the assertion of a right to “safe, legal and affordable” abortion, following there the motto of the International Family Planning. They thus consider going much further than the original text adopted after the first reading. As for the unborn child, the French member declared that it was better not to mention him, stating that the Committee shouldn’t bother itself with conflictual philosophical or theoretical considerations.
Only the German expert was brave enough to oppose the pro-abortion offensive, reminding that Article 6 of the Covenant is supposed to guarantee the right to life, and requesting to recall that “States have a legitimate interest to protect the life of the foetus”. She underlined the fact that the Committee cannot pretend to state a universal interpretation of the right to life in exceeding that of the regional jurisdictions, particularly of the European Court of Human Rights.
The activism of the Committee was also questioned. While several States reproached it with acting beyond its mandate, some experts of the Committee affirmed that, according to them, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was a “living document”. In declaring it as such, the experts freed themselves from the obligation to strictly interpret the Covenant and granted themselves the power to interpret it in a progressive manner, that is beyond its letter.
At the beginning of October, the ECLJ submitted to the Human Rights Committee a Memorandum in defence of the right to life, with the support of more than 130,000 persons who signed a petition for the protection of every human life.
The debate will continue tomorrow at 10 AM. It can be followed in video here.