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UN committee overstepped mandate in pro-abortion attack on Catholic Church, say pro-life UN lobbyists SPUC

5 February 2014

New York: A United Nations (UN) committee on the Rights of the Child overstepped its mandate in its pro-abortion attack on the Catholic Church, said lobbyists for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) at the UN.

SPUC is recognised officially by the UN as a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and provides most of the pro-life lobbying efforts at the UN institutions in New York and Geneva.

SPUC was responding to a report published today by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which attacked the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality, under the guise of a critique of the Church's handling of child sex abuse cases. The report, among similar things, recommends that the Catholic Church:

  • identifies "circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted" (section 55)
  • "overcome[s] all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives" (section 57a)
  • "ensure[s] that sexual and reproductive health education and prevention of HIV/AIDS is part of the mandatory curriculum of Catholic schools" (section 57c)

The report can be read at http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CRC/Shared%20Documents/VAT/CRC_C_VAT_CO_2_16302_E.pdf

John Smeaton, SPUC's chief executive, who is in New York with Peter Smith, one of SPUC's UN lobbyists, commented: "The committee has overstepped its mandate by making demands well beyond the scope of the actual wording of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is nothing in the Convention which requires the Catholic Church or any other body to facilitate abortion, contraception or homosexuality.

"There is a great deal of hypocrisy in the committee's report. Under the cover of seeking to protect children against sexual abuse, the report promotes damage to children - the destruction of unborn children through abortion and the destruction of born children's innocence through the promotion of contraception and homosexuality.

"The Holy See's representatives made clear to the committee last month, Catholic leaders are facing up to the shocking child abuse scandals within the Church. Pro-life and pro-family groups throughout the world must  - like SPUC - come to the UN to help the Holy See in its vital work of protecting  unborn children and the marriage-based family. This work is under constant attack by the Catholic Church's enemies, as manifested in the committee's report today," concluded Mr Smeaton.

Any pro-life/pro-family groups interested in lobbying at the UN are invited to contact John Smeaton for help and advice regarding accreditation and related issues.

 

John Smeaton, SPUC's chief executive, can be contacted on +44 (0)7785 325808 or at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk SPUC's communications department can be contacted on:

Notes for Editors:

The report references general comment 15 which was condemned by Archbishop Chullikatt of the Holy See in a speech to the UN General Assembly in October:

"In light of the recent output of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, my Delegation would like to address some elements of General Comments 14 and 15. These Comments, my Delegation must point out respectfully, represent only the opinions of the Committee; they do not constitute agreed language and lack all force of judicial precedence. Whatever is contained within them that is not consistent with the normative text of the Convention and other international instruments constitutes a disservice to the best interests of children. Expressions such as “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” (General Comment No. 14 [2013], par. 55, and No. 15 [2013], par. 8)), on which no international juridical consensus exists, are used spuriously and very unfortunately in these Comments. The recommendations, for example, States submit children to education and direction on sexual health, contraception and so-called “safe” abortion (par. 31) without the consent of their parents, caregiver or guardian; abortion be promoted by States as a family planning method (par. 54, 56, 70), and so-called “sexual and reproductive health information or services” be provided by States, irrespective of providers’ conscientious objections (par. 69). Such recommendations are particularly reprehensible. No abortion is ever “safe” because it kills the life of the child and harms the mother.

The Holy See strongly urges the Committee to revise its General Comments in conformity with its guiding international instruments: beginning with the Convention itself, which affirms the right to life of the child, “before as well as after birth” (Preamble, par. 9), the right of conscience [7], and full respect for the rights, responsibilities and duties of parents regarding their children[8]; and including also the explicit affirmation by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) that abortion should never be promoted as a family planning method (par. 7.24)."

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