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Defending life from the moment of conception

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SPUC at the United Nations

There are several threats to the right to life at the highest international level

We've sent lobbyists to the United Nations since 1994, when then Pope John Paul II issued a clarion call to all pro-life groups in the world to come and support the Holy See delegation in upholding human life and dignity from the moment of fertilisation.

At that time the international pro-abortion organisations and agencies started to unite their efforts to seek universal legalisation and acceptance of the killing of unborn children worldwide. Shortly before he died, St Pope John Paul II warned against a "new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden than its predecessors, which attempts to pit even human rights against the family and against man"

Our lobbyists Peter Smith and Pat Buckley, as well as other pro-life advocates at the UN,​ work to oppose a wide range of such attacks on life and family.

Opposing the anti-life agenda

We do that by firstly providing intelligence and briefings to sympathetic national delegations (like the Holy See) during the negotiations of particular documents or international agreements and secondly by seeking to persuade delegates to support the pro-life and pro-family position. We also prepare key reports and interventions when UN Committees are debating the life issues and we make oral statements when appropriate.

Indeed, this new ideology of human rights that increasingly attacks genuine rights concerning life and family has spread virally in national as well as international fora resulting in an urgent need for a "great campaign in support of life". 

The agenda we contend with at the UN attempts to change society by sidelining the family and changing sexual and gender norms through the introduction of, so called, "sexual and reproductive rights". It seeks to:

  • Reduce population by making contraception available globally.
  • Deny the right to life from conception to natural death and to declare abortion to be a human right.
  • Promote acceptance of diverse sexual activities, sexual orientations and gender identities.
  • Attack marriage and the family and undermine parental rights.
  • Sexualize young people by insisting on the teaching of so called 'comprehensive sexuality education'.
  • Attack freedom of speech, religion and conscience.

No right to abortion

There is no such right as a right to abortion in any United Nations Treaty or Convention. On the contrary, all UN foundational documents uphold the dignity of every human life from conception (fertilisation) to natural death. Over the past two decades, however, the population control lobby have sought to find ways to re-interpret these documents, with the intention of claiming that a right to ​sexual and reproductive health is implicit in them. The purpose of this is to put pressure on developing nations by asserting that birth control and "a right to abortion-on-demand" ​can be found in universally accepted norms such as the right to life.

SPUC's ​lobbyists Peter Smith and Pat Buckley, as well as other pro-life advocates at the UN,​ work to ensure that such manipulations are exposed and prevented. No other national or international group provides professional lobbyists both in New York and Geneva for up to six months each year. SPUC's work at the UN has been twofold. Firstly we provide intelligence and briefings to the Holy See and to sympathetic national delegations during the negotiations of particular documents/international agreements. Secondly we seek to persuade the delegates from sympathetic nations to support the pro-life position.

Our successes

Over the years there have been a number of anti-life efforts that we have been successful in either blocking or altering in a satisfactory manner.

For example, we were successful in opposing the cloning declaration, originally introduced at the UN by pro-cloning countries to gain implicit international approval for so-called "therapeutic cloning", that is creating human clones to experiment upon and kill. SPUC lobbyists assisted in turning it into a declaration banning all human cloning (UN Declaration on Human Cloning 2005). The measure set an international standard that human beings should not be created through cloning for any purpose and it placed human life as a priority over scientific experimentation.

During the negotiations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) we managed against fierce opposition to have wording included to protect disabled persons from the removal of treatment or food and fluids in Article 25 f, which reads: "Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability."

Among the more recent pro-life victories at the UN, is definitely the passing of the "Protection of the Family" resolution. SPUC cooperated with a number of pro-life and pro-family NGOs in assisting the family-friendly member states to develop a strategy in support of the family. The first tentative steps of the strategy were put in place in 2013, added to in 2014 and resulted in the passing of a very important resolution on the family at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2015.

Sustainable Development Goals

For pro-life and pro-family advocates, who lobby at the United Nations, this is a particularly challenging time. A number of UN programs, including the Millennium Development Goals, finish in the end of this year. The UN is therefore in the process of arranging the extension of these programs and at the same time debating a new 15-year program known as the 'Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs). The negotiations were finalised in July this year.

The main threats to life and family are set out in goals 3 and 5:

  • 3.7: by 2030 ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
  • 5.6: ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

The full text of the SDGs can be found on this link:


The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children accepts the United Nations terminology regarding Taiwan, Province of China; Tibet, Autonomous region of China; and Hong Kong, special Administrative Region of China.

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Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto

I dream … of a world where we can commit our social resources to the development of human life and not to its destruction