C-Fam, the publisher responded to the call from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to provide inputs on their draft general recommendation on the right to health and racial inequality. The draft contains a section characterizing abortion as part of the right to health and arguing that restrictions on abortions fall disproportionately on women belonging to racial minorities.
C-Fam’s written submission points out that abortion has historically been used against racial minorities, and not to empower them. The U.S. was one of the relatively few countries pressured by CERD to liberalize its abortion laws prior to the draft general comment. Yet in the U.S., black women have the highest rate of abortions compared with other racial groups, and also have the highest abortion-related mortality rate. Black and other racial minorities were specifically targeted by the eugenics movement with the goal of reducing their birth rates, through the promotion of contraception and abortion as well as coercive measures including forced sterilizations.
Abortion—and specifically, comparatively high rates of abortion—has not addressed the persisting wealth gaps between racial groups in the U.S. Meanwhile, the loss of human lives has been astronomical. In a recent testimony to Congress, Dr. Monique Wubbenhorst noted that an estimated 17 million Americans of African descent were aborted, at the cost of not only their lives, “but all of their descendants and, families and their hopes, dreams and contributions to our society.”
C-Fam’s comments to CERD also said that while other treaty monitoring bodies have interpreted a right to abortion into their respective treaties, which do not contain any such right, CERD is under no obligation to follow the trend. Instead, the committee would increase its credibility by refusing to exceed its mandate as the other committees have done.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, some of the most aggressive promoters of abortion in the UN human rights system are the committees monitoring compliance with the treaties on women’s rights, civil and political rights, economic, social, and cultural rights, children’s rights, and the elimination of torture.
In addition to distorting the meaning of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which were painstakingly negotiated by UN member states decades ago, CERD’s draft general recommendation threatens the national sovereignty of those countries that have ratified the treaty. Many of the States Parties to the treaty would never have ratified it if it included a right to abortion, and when faced with efforts to establish such a right in negotiated documents at the UN, they have repeatedly rejected them.
With regard to the right to health, C-Fam noted that abortion is not analogous to health care, as it does not treat or prevent an illness or injury, and instead, is intended to end the life of a human being.
The deadline for additional inputs regarding the draft general recommendation has been extended to August 31.