David Alton on San Jose Articles, Steven Jobs

David Alton

David Alton

When he decided to become a Catholic, Lord Nicholas Windsor renounced his claim to the Throne. He also embraced the Church’s teaching on the right to life of the unborn – and in a Committee Room of Parliament he recently gave voice to his support for the San Jose Articles and to his conviction that there is a subversive international campaign falsely claiming that abortion has become a human right and that all Governments are duty bound to support it.

Lord Nicholas asserted that “I see the San Jose Articles as an attempt to draw a line and fight back against the strong drift towards conjuring a fully-fledged right to abortion from out of the provisions of international human rights law.”

The nine San Jose Articles on the status of the unborn child have been drafted and signed by more than 30 senior politicians, diplomats, lawyers, scholars and public figures from around the world including  John Finnis, Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy at Oxford University, and John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy at St Andrew’s University, Scotland.  The Articles  enjoy the support of the mainstream pro life groups -  Right to Life, LIFE, the Pro-Life Alliance and CARE.

The Articles were drafted and first signed in San Jose, Costa Rica, on 25 March 2011 and earlier this month they were launched at the United Nations by the internationally recognized scholar, Professor Robert George, of Princeton and former US Ambassador, Grover Joseph Rees, who challenged claims made by UN personnel and others that there exists a fundamental right to abortion in international law.  Further launches of the Articles have taken place in legislatures all over the world – with Jim Dobbin MP and Fiona Bruce MP, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the All Party Pro Life Group, joining me for the launch at Westminster.

The importance of promulgating the Articles was recently underlined when the UN Special Rapporteur on Health, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UNSecretary General all wrongly stated that a right to abortion exists.  And, according to Human Rights Watch, who lamentably, with Amnesty International campaign for abortion as a human right, a U.N. Committee has directed 93 countries to change their laws on abortion. Can they not see that it is precisely this approach which has led to the gendercide that has claimed the lives of more than 100 million girls – aborted because of their sex. Some right; some fate.

The San Jose Articles categorically refute the claim that taking the lives of the unborn is a right – an obligation, even - and, instead, set out the duties we owe in international law to the unborn child; and the rights which they enjoy.  Not only is there no international law asserting the right to abortion, the laws of over two-thirds of all UN member-states clearly reflect a continuing recognition that unborn children deserve protection. In reality, only 56 countries permit abortion for any reason, and only 22 of these are without restriction. 

What is being waged is a subversive campaign by some UN agencies, Non Governmental Organisations and wealthier countries to bully and manipulate nations  - from Nicaragua to Kenya; from Columbia to Ireland,  into changing their laws on abortion. They do this by misquoting Treaties and even more deplorably  - and immorally - aid and development is being used as a form of blackmail – with developing countries being told that they will lose help for the poor if they fail to conform. When these countries refuse to step into line it can lead to retaliation and retribution. Sweden, for instance, withdrew all assistance to Nicaragua, after its National Assembly failed to pass a liberal abortion law. In justifying this shocking intrusion into a sovereign decision of a free nation Sweden said abortion “is super important to us”.  Important but obscene.

And, make no mistake, some countries are undoubtedly succumbing to the bullying and being taken in by the bogus assertion that there is an international requirement for countries to end the lives of  children in the womb.  For instance, the High Court of Colombia changed their country’s laws on abortion based on this belief.
Be clear, no UN treaty defines reproductive health as including abortion or even mentions abortion; customary international law does not include abortion as there is not a more unsettled issue internationally than abortion. they remind us that there is no international right to abortion, and that any group or person making that argument is making a false argument, one never agreed to by the UN General Assembly. The Articles further show that the unborn child is already covered by various human rights treaties.

The San Jose Articles begin by asserting the scientific fact that human life begins at conception and then demonstrate that not a single United Nations treaty gives legal abortion the status of a so-called “reproductive right”. On the contrary, a number of human rights treaties recognise the humanity of unborn children and the rights and duties of governments to protect them as members of the human family.

While there is no right to abortion in international law, the right to life is set out in Article 3 of The 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which  had its genesis in the horrors of the Second World War.

The San Jose Articles are a long overdue international re-assertion of the admirable impulses which gave birth to the 1948 Declaration and recognise that the greatest of all rights is the very right to life itself.  Jim Dobbin and Fiona Bruce have launched an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons supporting the San Jose Articles and are urging constituents to write to their MPs asking them to sign the Motion.

I ended my remarks at the Westminster launch with a true story.

It involves a young unmarried college student, Joanne Schieble, who, in 1954, discovered that she was pregnant. Her father would not let her marry the child’s father and although she could have had an abortion, it was illegal and dangerous. Instead, she let her child be born and arranged to have the baby adopted.

In 1955 a Californian couple adopted the baby boy. Their names were Paul and Clara Jobs. His adoptive parents named the baby Steven.

Abortion ends lives; adoption saves them. Last year in the UK for every baby adopted, 2,702 were aborted. Put another way, around 600 babies are aborted daily while only 70 babies were available for adoption throughout the whole year.

Not every adopted child will have a life as remarkable as that of Steve Jobs but as the San Jose Articles remind us, every life is precious.  In proclaiming abortion as a human right we have little idea of who and what we are so casually losing. We need to see abortion less as a right and more as the human tragedy which every abortion represents.

To read the San Jose articles see: www.sanjosearticles.com/

(Thanks to David P for sending us this link)

Tags: David Alton, Lord Nicholas Windsor, San Jose Articles, Steven Jobs

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