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Holy See defends the unborn at World Health Assembly

by | May 25, 2018

By Paul Stark

H.E. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič

Yesterday at the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, the Holy See delegation spoke up strongly in defense of unborn children who are threatened by WHO’s abortion advocacy.

The Holy See’s statement concerned a report on women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health, including “sexual and reproductive health.” The statement, delivered on behalf of H.E. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, objected to the inclusion of abortion in the report.

“The Holy See does not consider abortion or abortion services to be a dimension of reproductive health or reproductive health care,” said the statement.

The Holy See also took issue with WHO’s Global Abortion Policies Database, which seeks to promote abortion. “The Holy See … firmly objects to any and all efforts by the UN or its Specialized Agencies to promote national legislation that permits the taking of the life of an unborn child,” the statement read.

The Holy See said it’s “contradictory” to advocate abortion as a human right when, in reality, “abortion denies the unborn child his or her most basic right—to life itself.”

Archbishop Jurkovič concluded by quoting Pope Francis: “Human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right, that of life, which is not subordinate to any condition, be it quantitative, economic or, least of all, ideological.”

We applaud the Holy See for this powerful expression of support for the human rights of unborn children.

Below is the full text of the statement by H.E. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

Mr. Chairman,

The Holy See Delegation shares many of the concerns and observations considered in the report of the Director-General: including efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage; to improve specific data related to the health of women, children, and adolescents; to end violence against women and children; and to revise child health policies and programs to extend their range from infancy to 18 years of age.

My Delegation wishes to raise serious concerns, however, about the inclusion of an item on so-called “safe abortion” in this report and in the Global Strategy in general. The Holy See does not consider abortion or abortion services to be a dimension of reproductive health or reproductive health care.

Our Delegation is also immensely concerned about the reference to WHO’s engagement, together with other UN Departments and Programmes, in the launch of the open-access Global Abortion Policies Database. The latter was described, in a WHO Statement of 23 June 2017, as aiming “to promote greater transparency of abortion laws and policies, as well as to improve countries’ accountability for the protection of women and girls’ health and human rights.” The Holy See does not endorse any form of legislation that gives legal recognition to abortion and, thus, firmly objects to any and all efforts by the UN or its Specialized Agencies to promote national legislation that permits the taking of the life of an unborn child.

Moreover, the Holy See cannot accept the contradictory claim that promotion of so-called “safe abortion” is a means to “protect” the human rights of women and girls, when, in fact, abortion denies the unborn child his or her most basic right—to life itself. As Pope Francis has recalled, “human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right, that of life, which is not subordinate to any condition, be it quantitative, economic or, least of all, ideological.”

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MCCL GO is the U.N.- and OAS-accredited global outreach program of the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund.

Categories: United Nations