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03 July 2010

Abortion: Poland Stands Firm on the Side of Science and Humanity

By Hilary White

GENEVA, June 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Officials of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva have launched a full-scale attack on Poland’s pro-life laws. Poland protects the right to conscientious objection for health care workers and the rights of the Catholic Church.

Pat Buckley, European officer for the United Kingdom’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said that the 14th session of the Human Rights Council sitting this week “promises to be lively.”

A report submitted to the council by Anand Grover, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on health care rights, includes what Buckley called a “radical and comprehensive attack on Poland’s pro-life position on access to abortion, conscientious objection, contraception and sex education.”

Poland, Malta, and the Republic of Ireland are the last countries in the European Union to retain specific and effective protections for unborn children. These countries have been placed in the direct line of fire for abortion activists within the UN and the EU.

SPUC director John Smeaton called the report “mendacious” in its use of abortion lobby groups who provided “expert witness” that pro-life and conscientious objection laws for health care workers are a threat to the rights of women.

In his report, Grover cited a complaint by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that Poland’s laws conflicted with their obligations under article 12 of the UN’s Convention to protect women’s equal right to access health care services. The report did not mention that CEDAW is one of the UN’s most active abortion lobbying organizations. In fact, CEDAW regularly insists that countries around the world eliminate pro-life legal protections.

Grover’s report quoted CEDAW as calling for “concrete measures to enhance women’s access to health care, in particular to sexual and reproductive health services” – language that is universally understood to include abortion, contraception and sterilization.

These “services” should include “research on the scope, causes and consequences of illegal abortion and its impact on women’s health and life; measures to ensure women’s access to legal abortion services and against limitation of such access by the use of the conscientious objection clause.”

Grover also quoted a demand made in 2009 by the UN’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that Poland “take all effective measures to ensure that women enjoy their right ... by enforcing the legislation on abortion and implementing a mechanism of timely and systematic referral in cases of conscientious objection.”

The Economic, Social and Cultural Rights committee, Smeaton notes, was blasted two years ago by Northern Irish pro-life leaders for demanding legal abortion in Northern Ireland.

Smeaton wrote, “The ugly face of the culture of death was seen yesterday at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in the following section of Mr Grover's chilling report.”

“Freedom of religion, conscience and thought is to be swept aside in favour of the alleged right to kill unborn children.”

The Polish delegation to the meeting did not back down. Representative Branislav Lysák said that the country’s laws have benefitted both women and children. Infant mortality in Poland has dropped by 71% over the last 2 decades and maternal mortality is down by 82%. These figures match those released recently by the UN showing that Ireland, one of the last countries in the world to totally outlaw abortion, has one of the world’s lowest maternal mortality rates.

Lysák denied that there is such a thing as a universal right to abortion and said that the issue is the exclusive competence of independent states according to numerous international agreements.

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