Human rights groups decry effort to promote abortion in pandemic response

CNA Staff, Jun 3, 2020 / 05:57 pm (CNA).- A total of 434 human rights organizations from 16 countries have released a manifesto condemning the push from external groups to promote abortion in their nations during the coronavirus pandemic.

The “International Manifesto for the Right to Life” was delivered this week to the foreign ministry offices of Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador.

It repudiates the U.N.’s Humanitarian Response Plan COVID-19 for Ecuador, which requires “safe, legal abortion” as a condition for aid.

The plan claims to be “humanitarian aid” but “includes a $3 million allocation to train health care personnel in so-called ‘safe and legal abortion,’ in violation of the Constitution and Ecuadoran laws,” the manifesto says.

The manifesto also rejects the “Joint Statement on Protecting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Promoting Gender-responsiveness in the COVID-19 Crisis” signed by representatives of 59 countries – including Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru – which promotes access to abortion.

The International Manifesto for the Right to Life argues that there is a major disconnect between the efforts to promote abortion and the broader society’s focus on safeguarding human life amid the coronavirus crisis. Many of the countries in question have protections in their constitutions, criminal codes, and civil codes to protect human life of the moment of conception, the document notes.

Instead of advocating for pro-abortion policies, the right to life manifesto calls for a “focus on public policies based on human dignity, and for effectively putting an end to any attempt to interfere with or attack the sovereignty of our countries, in particular coming from the U.N. and its principal agencies.” It pointed specifically to the United Nations Population Fund, UN Women, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

Martha Villafuerte, a representative of Ecuador for the Family, argued that international aid “must come without conditions or financial coercion.” She noted that Ecuador currently has the highest level of coronavirus deaths per capita recorded in Latin America.

“[I]t is unacceptable to try to take advantage of the situation to slip in through the back door a crime that the Constitution rejects,” she said.

Luis Losada, director of CitizenGO Campaigns for Latin America, called the U.N. effort to promote abortion in Ecuador a textbook example of “ideological interference.” A CitizenGO petition opposing the international pressure for abortion has garnered more than 32,000 signatures.

“[The international interference] violates the statutes of the United Nations that expressly commit it to not interfere in national policies or legislation, respecting the sovereignty of nations,” Losada said. “It violates the Constitution of Ecuador that protects the right to life from the moment of conception. And it violates the parliamentary debate (in Ecuador) that took place last year on the proposal to decriminalize abortion, which fortunately did not succeed.”

Losada said the U.N.’s humanitarian proposal is “an insult not only to the sovereignty of Ecuador but to that of the rest of the countries in the region, which take note of the impunity with which this interference is being done.”

“[T]he government of Ecuador must defend its sovereignty, national dignity, the Constitution and the right to life by rejecting this illegal and immoral proposal by the United Nations,” he said.

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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