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Friday, February 29, 2008

Poland and Malta Stand Up to European Union, United Nations on Abortion

by Samantha Singson

The governments of Poland and Malta broke rank with the European Union on the question of abortion this week. The dissension occurred at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which convened it’s annual two-week meeting at UN headquarters in New York on Monday. The reaction of Poland and Malta happened after the EU tried to shift the meeting’s agenda to include the right to abortion.

On Tuesday Radoslaw Mleczko, the Polish Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, told the gathering of UN Member States that Poland generally aligned itself with the EU but that any EU reference to sexual and reproductive health could not include abortion.

On Thursday afternoon, the head of Malta’s mission to the UN, Ambassador Saviour F. Borg said, “Malta would like to clarify its position with respect to the language relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the [EU] statement. Malta firmly continues to maintain that any position taken or recommendations made regarding women’s empowerment and gender equality should not in any way create an obligation on any party to consider abortion as a legitimate form of reproductive health rights, services or commodities.”

The split in the European Union is significant because the EU hardly ever splits on questions of social policy at the UN. Even countries that are generally anti-abortion go along with the more radical approach taken by the United Kingdom, France and Germany. They do this as an agreement that the EU will always work out their differences behind closed doors and present a united front at UN negotiations.

This works to the advantage of the pro-abortion states since they outnumber the anti-abortion states.

Moreover, an EU that is divided is one that can be defeated on social policy questions. In fact, the last time the EU split in any significant way was in the UN cloning debate which resulted in the UN calling for the ban of all forms of human cloning, an effort opposed by the UK, France, Germany and other left-wing European governments. It is unclear how meaningful this current split will be in the negotiations which will begin in earnest tomorrow.

Pro-life and pro-family issues were also woven into UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening remarks to the commission on Monday when he criticized the now widespread practice of choosing abortions based on the sex of the baby, an issue that was all but taken off the agenda at last year’s CSW despite solid support from both civil society and numerous governmental delegations.

In his speech to launch the new UN multi-year campaign to end violence against women, the Secretary-General stressed, “Through the practice of prenatal sex selection, countless others are denied the right even to exist. No country, no culture, no woman young or old is immune to this scourge.”

The Secretary-General also highlighted the importance of families and children stating, “We know that violence against women compounds the enormous social and economic toll on families, communities, even whole nations. And we know that when we work to eradicate violence against women, we empower our greatest resource for development: mothers raising children.”

Among the many pro-life and pro-family lobbyists attending the CSW is a large contingent of high school girls from Overbrook Academy in Rhode Island. Fourteen year old Elsa Corripio told the Friday Fax, “We want these delegates to know that there are many young people who believe in respecting life.”

Ana Paola Rangel, 15, added, “Maybe we can't change the world, but we know we can make a difference.”

The CSW meeting continues through next week.

Samantha Singson writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group's Friday Fax publication.


Anonymous said...

I find it difficult to understand how organizations that promote abortion as an essential "right" for women can insist on using the UN to force nations and/or cultures to adopt the practice in the face of evidence showing the disproportionate abortions carried out to eliminate unborn women when used as a sex-selection method.

Even the UN Secretary-General stressed, “Through the practice of prenatal sex selection, countless others are denied the right even to exist. No country, no culture, no woman young or old is immune to this scourge.”

Perhaps these are the same folks committed to ending world poverty by eliminating the poor. Or perhaps they are the folks who fly first class (on official tax-financed tickets) from their well heated homes in Europe or the US so they can convene in a tropical resort like Bali to decry Global Warming and tell struggling peasants in developing countries to stop clearing trees for farming and cooking fuel.

I wish these people would explain their logic because it truly befuddles this simpleton. Or maybe reason is unnecessary if they have embraced the Fascist mantra that MIGHT makes RIGHT??

God help the weak and infirm (which everyone ultimately becomes with age).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the article. It is a lead post on

By the way, one of my very best friends lives in Malta, so I was immediately drawn this post!


Anonymous said...

This is fantastic news. God bless the Poles and the Maltese for keeping the faith.