San Jose Articles Press Conference at the UN

Posted on | October 7, 2011 by Timothy Herrmann |

Yesterday morning at the UN press briefing room, internationally recognized scholar Professor Robert George of Princeton and former US Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees challenged claims made by UN personnel and others that there exists an international right to abortion in international law with their release of the San Jose Articles.

As recently as a few weeks ago the UN Special Rapporteur on Health, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretary General have been quoted as saying that an international right to abortion exists exists. In addition, according to Human Rights Watch the CEDAW Committee has directed 93 countries to change their laws on abortion. One such country is Colombia where in 2002 the Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit against Colombia “claiming that Colombia’s law violated its international agreements to protect a woman’s right to life and health” (1). The Colombian Constitutional Court then proceeded to rule Colombia’s abortion laws as unconstitutional (2).

Along with Ambassador Rees and Professor George, the articles have also been signed by 30 other international experts in law, medicine, and public policy. According to Professor George, the purpose of the articles will be to “support and assist those around the world who are coming under pressure from UN personnel and others who say falsely that governments are required by international law to repeal domestic laws protecting human beings in the embryonic and fetal stages of development against the violence of abortion.”



1. “Rights by Stealth: The Role of UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies in the Campaign for an International Right to Abortion” by Douglas A. Sylva, Ph.D. and Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.
2. Juan Forero, “Colombian Court Legalizes Some Abortions,” New York Times, May 12,2006, A14.



Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.


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