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Why can’t the UN be consistent?

If the world is moving towards abolition of the death penalty, why not abolition of abortion?
Vincenzina Santoro | 4 April 2011
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano addresses the UN General Assembly

The right to life, abolition of the death penalty, children in armed conflict, elimination of all violence against women, the empowerment of women and women’s rights are all causes discussed, analyzed and embraced at the United Nations. Although they never are, all of these should apply to the earliest stages of life.

As life commences at conception, the “right to life” – as enshrined in Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights – must be nurtured until birth. The unborn are human beings in the early stages of formation, due to achieve fullness of viability upon birth. To voluntarily “interrupt a pregnancy” as some countries refer to abortion, is to deliberately deliver the “death penalty” to human life in its earliest stages. Is this not a form of “armed conflict” directed at a child in the making?

Abortifacient instruments are death dealing weapons employed against nascent life, against a being that is completely unarmed to resist the invader. What situation can be more belligerent, hostile and violent against both an unborn child and its mother than abortion?

A woman lies helpless, flat on her back, unconscious, in a death-dealing clinical environment, submitting to physical “violence” in the form of a bodily invasion to terminate the child-bearing mission that is entrusted only to a woman. As only women can bring life into the world, she witnesses the horrific dismemberment and termination of life of a pre-infant child in development.

Can any woman truly consider this “choice” a “right” that makes her “powerful?”

Abortion statistics, when they surface, can be disconcerting. In China more than 100 million baby girls are missing, as an Economist magazine article revealed so vividly a year ago, either aborted outright or their existence terminated in unspeakable ways upon birth. In New York City, the latest abortion data revealed that over 40 percent of pregnancies are voluntarily terminated. United Nations agencies such as the Population Fund (UNFPA), campaign ceaselessly for “safe abortion” as the primary solution to maternal mortality while never releasing any comprehensive data on abortion globally let alone data for maternal deaths that occur where abortion is “legally” permitted.

A pertinent and pregnant “life” phrase was uttered in a recent statement made at the UN by a visiting Head of State. On March 28, 2011, the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, addressed the General Assembly. In his statement the President remarked: “Our opposition to the death penalty stems from our long established conviction in the right to life.” (The Italian Delegation was at the forefront in the adoption by the UN General Assembly of a 2007 resolution calling for a moratorium on executions in countries where the death penalty is permitted.)

The Italian President then went on to state: “In 1700, the Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria asked a simple question: ‘Did anyone ever give to others the right of taking away his life?’”

Can not the phrase be altered today to read: “Does a woman really have ‘a right to choose’ to authorize an abortion provider to take away the life of her unborn child?” Indeed, the Italian experience provides food for thought as Italy has become a “nation that has turned away from abortion.”

If we are a cohort of nations that endorse the right to life enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and if we abide by the rule of law, capital punishment should be banned fundamentally by application of the natural law – which is at the origin of all laws.

Has the time not come for aborting women’s empowerment through abortion?

Vincenzina Santoro is an international economist. She represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations.

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | abortion, death penalty, United Nations
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