US, EU Ask to Delete “Inherent Right to Life, Liberty” at UN

Posted on | March 12, 2013 by Wendy Wright |


As countries are deadlocked over negotiations going late into the night at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the US and European Union have played a deadly card. One that contradicts a foundational principle of citizens and civilizations worldwide, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Last night, the US and EU called for deleting a reafirmation that every human being has the inherent right to life, liberty and security of persons.

This year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has become the equivalent of D-Day for abortion hard-liners. Last year’s CSW could not produce a final agreement because the US insisted it included “reproductive rights,” language that is used to legitimize abortion. The pressure to produce an agreement is intense – and is being exploited by abortion advocates, who are attempting to create the impression than a lack of agreement is the fault of those who want to protect the right to life for all, including unborn babies.

Abortion advocates have taken to Twitter, blogs and media outlets to accuse pro-life delegations of going backward on previous agreements. In the same breath, however, they demand this year’s document go farther than previous by including “reproductive rights.”

The New York Times ran an editorial criticizing nations that have formed an “unholy alliance.” An alliance, to be clear, that is holding the line on the foundational principle of civilization – that human beings have a right to life.

The NYT editorial repeats a statistic on violence against women that has become the urban legend of this Commission meeting, just like the false-but-widely-believed claim that Super Bowl Sunday is the worst day of the year for domestic violence.

It claims “more women between the ages of 15 and 44 were at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined.” This clumsy (or devious) reformulation of a 20-year old statistic is intentionally misleading. Among several errors, the data from the original source, a World Bank report, actually shows the combined risks of cancer, car accidents, war and malaria are nearly twice as harmful to women aged 15 – 44 than rape and domestic violence.

And it implicitly undermines all the efforts in the last 20 years to address violence against women, such as the Cairo ICPD and Beijing Platform for Action, as being worthless. Efforts seen as victories for feminists.

The US and European Union’s call to remove a reference to the inherent right to life is certainly consistent with their demand for a right to abortion. Not often do they make the mistake of presenting their position so clearly.

It’s up to civilized people to oppose it.

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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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