Volume 13, Number 1
December 17, 2009
(NEW YORK – C-FAM) A recent submission to the United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) provides evidence of the potentially fatal consequences of "safe" abortion promoted by UN agencies, and includes a list of 113 studies linking abortion dangerous complications such as pre-term birth in subsequent pregnancies.
"The encouragement by [the UN Population Fund] UNFPA and [the World Health Organization] WHO of the use of mifepristone (RU-486, Mifegyne) and misoprostol (Cytotec) as ‘safe’ abortifacients in medically resource poor nations is unconscionable" the paper says, "and a violation of the human right to health of women."
Submitted by Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) [publisher of the Friday Fax] and authored by Donna Harrison, M.D., President of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), the paper calls on the Human Rights Council "to defend the right to bodily integrity of all human beings from fertilization to natural death" and "refrain [from] supporting in law and policy measures…empirically proven to hurt rather than help pregnant women."
The paper reports that "in the first three years of 'safe' mifepristone (Mifegyne) abortions in the United States…one third of the women with adverse events (237) experienced severe bleeding requiring emergency surgery, half of these required hospitalization, and forty two women bled over half of their blood volume." What is more, a WHO study showed that "one out of every five women who had ‘safe’ misoprostol abortions failed to abort and required surgical intervention." In poor countries where women do not have access to emergency care or even skilled birth attendants, the paper concludes, "these events would be fatal."
WHO studies show that the top killers of women in childbirth are bleeding, hypertensive disorders, anemia and sepsis. Abortion – including "spontaneous abortion" or miscarriage – is tenth on the list and accounts for 5% of deaths. The paper says "it is scientifically, medically, and morally unacceptable to divert resources" from what is really needed to save women’s lives: skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care.
The leaders of UN member states explicitly rejected inclusion of "Universal Access to Reproductive Health" in the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit, the paper reports, because it "included a target to eliminate ‘unsafe’ abortion," which some UN bureaucrats "defined as any abortion in a country where abortion was not legal." Even though member states rejected the goal, "the monitoring mechanisms for achievement of [Millennium Development Goal] MDG 5 have nevertheless implicitly incorporated the targets related to that rejected goal" which amounts to "cultural imperialism" that "deprives member nations of their right and duty to evaluate medical and policy effects of induced abortion within their own religious, cultural, and regional contexts" the paper says.
The submission to OHCHR was made in response to its request for information relevant to a thematic study on "Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights," which was called for in a UN Human Rights Council resolution last June. One veteran UN observer told the Friday Fax he welcomed the submission by C-FAM and AAPLOG, commenting that it helps address the paucity of alternative viewpoints.