EU Resolution on “Sexual and Reproductive Rights” is not only a threat to unborn children but to the rule of law itself

By Liam Gibson

When the Parliament of the European Union meets in Brussels today, 23 June 2021, MEPs will be asked to endorse the implementation of a radical anti-life and anti-family agenda across their 27 member nations. The Motion for a European Parliament Resolution on the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health,[1] adopts the report of Croatian socialist Predrag Fred Matić and sets out an almost exhaustive list of extreme demands. The number and range of these demands make it impossible to list them all but significantly they include access to abortion on request, compulsory “comprehensive sex education” beginning in primary schools, measures to combat “harmful gender stereotypes” (such as the depiction of women as mothers) and the restriction of conscientious objection to abortion. It ends by calling on the European Commission to:

“take concrete steps in protecting SRHR, starting with the establishment of an EU Special Envoy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and the addition of a designated chapter on the ‘State of play of SRHR’ in the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy…”[2]

Ignoring the fact that EU institutions have no competence in this area, the authors of the resolution falsely assert that legal recognition of “sexual and reproductive rights” is a legal obligation required by international human rights law. Although MEPs have no authority to demand that member states implement the measures set out in the resolution, its adoption would represent a serious threat to the restoration of the principles of natural law in the protection of unborn children and family life in Europe. 

The first five pages of the motion is a litany of previous resolutions, reports and recommendations from various United Nations treaty monitoring committees. Strictly speaking, the value of this catalogue of claims is negligible. However, these sources of so-called “soft law” are routinely used by the abortion industry to convince governments worldwide that they must guarantee “reproductive rights” under the false belief that they are legally bound to do so. Their repeated assertion of such language is intended to have an accumulative effect and eventually change how human rights guaranteed by “hard law” — in treaties and conventions — are perceived.

This strategy, developed over the past 20 years, was laid bare in 2003 when US Representative Christopher Smith (Republican – New Jersey) read a memorandum from the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) into the Congressional Record.[3] Despite being exposed as a deliberate attempt to falsify and subvert key human rights agreements this strategy has been successfully used to strip unborn children of the right to life in international law. The introduction of an extreme abortion regime to Northern Ireland in March 2020 is a practical example of how this strategy works.

In July 2019, the government in London used a report from the compliance committee for the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women as a pretext for overturning Northern Ireland’s legal framework that protected unborn children. It was replaced with one of the most extreme abortion regimes in Europe. Abortion was made available on-demand in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy but easily accessible on health grounds until 24 weeks – access to abortion to prevent harm to a woman’s mental health ensures its availability virtually on-demand. It is lawful up to birth on eugenic grounds and in all circumstances if the woman procures the abortion herself. The new regime requires the promotion of abortion through compulsory sex education. It authorises limits on pro-life pregnancy counselling and public demonstrations. It calls for public information campaigns to change perceptions of abortion by reducing the stigma attached to it and for steps to end the stereotyping of women as mothers.

The radical scope and nature of these policies mean that it has not yet been fully implemented but the abortion industry and human rights “experts” are committed to its enforcement. This regime is the working model for the rest of the United Kingdom.

Genuine human rights

Not one of the nine core UN human rights treaties even mentions abortion let alone considers access to it as a human right. By contrast, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[4] recognises that: “…the child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including legal protection, before as well as after birth.”[5] The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) also acknowledges that unborn children possess human rights. A clause in the original draft of Article 1 of the CRC which would have limited rights to the period after birth was deleted specifically to allow the Convention to be applied to children in the womb.[6] The right to life (Article 6) and the right to healthcare (Article 24.2(d)), therefore, applies to children before birth.

However, once abortion is accepted as essential healthcare for women its promotion as a human right is easily accomplished. In a grotesque distortion of justice, the EU resolution considers violations of reproductive rights as a form of violence against women. Yet at the same time abortion, which by definition is an act of lethal violence directed at an unborn child, is vaunted as a human right. But because “our rights, strictly speaking, arise not from our own activity but from an extraneous cause, that is, from God,”[7] inverting morality in this way has far reaching consequences.

As St Thomas warns: “Human law has the nature of law [only] in so far as it partakes of right reason; and it is clear that, in this respect, it is derived from the eternal law. But in so far as it deviates from reason, it is called an unjust law, and has the nature, not of law but of violence.”[8]

This is literally true of the legalisation of abortion. The adoption of the Matić report by the European Parliament is not simply a threat to unborn children but to the rule of law itself.

Liam Gibson is the Northern Ireland Political Officer of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

[1] Motion for a European Parliament Resolution on the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health (2020/2215(INI)  Availableat <https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-9-2021-0169_EN.pdf>

[2] Ibid. para 76, p 24.

[3] The Centre for Reproductive Rights, International Legal Program Summary of Strategic Planning Through October 31, 2003. Available at <https://www.congress.gov/crec/2003/12/09/CREC-2003-12-09-pt1-PgE2534-2.pdf>

[4] Universal Declaration of Human Rights GA 217 (III) 10 December 1948

[5] Ex. The Preamble of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, GA 1386 (XIV) of 10 December 1959

[6] Bruce Abramson, Violence Against Babies: Protection of Pre- and Post-natal Children Under the Framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (World Family Policy Center, 2006), p 57.

[7] Antonio Rosmini, Dennis Cleary and Terence Watson (trans), The Philosophy of Right: vol II Rights of the Individual, (Rosmini House, 1993), p 21-2.

[8]  St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Question 93, Article 3, Reply to Objection 2.