Reproductive Health Rights


Falsehood: "Reproductive health" is a global human rights policy and imperative that includes a right to abortion.

Truth: "Reproductive health," as defined by the United Nations (UN) in 1994 makes no reference to abortion. In fact, at the time, the head of the U.S. delegation, Vice President Al Gore, stated for the record: "Let us get a false issue off the table: the U.S. does not seek to establish a new international right to abortion, and we do not believe that abortion should be encouraged as a method of family planning." Consequently, some interested parties have attempted to interpret the term to include abortion as a means of "family planning" and as a right. Nevertheless, the U.N. definition plainly supports family planning only by acceptable means. And, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Ellen Sauerbrey stated later "There is no fundamental right to abortion ... it keeps coming up largely driven by [those] trying to hijack the term and trying to make it into a definition."

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines "health" as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Reproductive health implies that people should be able to enjoy a responsible, satisfying, and safer sex life. It further implies that people should be free to decide if, when, with whom, and how often to reproduce. Anything further than this is an interpretation.

Given the above, there are legitimate issue regarding "reproductive health," but abortion is not one of them. Legitimate issues include: (1) Reduction of maternal mortality; and (2) Access to reproductive and sexual health services. The narrative that abortion is a logical and necessary component of "reproductive health" is a false narrative! This narrative is less about "health" and more about unrestricted, politically guaranteed access to contraception, sterilization, and abortion on demand! The argument that without total and absolute control over reproduction women have no real control in their lives is a false argument! The only authentic ethical, moral, social, economic, and political issue at stake is "self-discipline" (for both men and women) – which goes along with "responsibility" and "accountability."

"Motherhood" and "womanhood" are intimately related as they are both sacred gifts from God to humanity. Abortion drives a wedge between "motherhood" and "womanhood" and confuses the "female identity." Also, abortion is a significant factor in illness and infirmity. Priscilla Coleman, the leading researcher on this issue, published findings in 2011 that induced abortions are associated with an 81% increase in adverse mental health outcomes (British Journal of Psychiatry). Joel Brind, scientist and professor of biology and endocrinology at Baruch College, and others have also produced studies that have stood up to scrutiny. They report that women who have induced abortions are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. Studies by David C. Reardon, a leading expert on the aftereffects of abortion on women, and others, indicate that suicide rates among those women who have had an induced abortion are 300% higher. Clearly, abortion is a health issue; it is a significant cause of dis-ease – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, politically, and economically! Abortion is a billion dollar business.

Deacon Joe Gorini, September 5, 2012

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