Nairobi,Kenya – Catholic social activists across Africa under their umbrella association, CitizenGo Africa, are calling on nations on the continent to vote against “safe abortion” as fronted in one of the agenda of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
In a petition launched Wednesday, August 31, the activists who are part of CitizenGo say the UNGA resolution on the right to justice for survivors of sexual violence “declares access to safe abortion as a policy that governments should pursue to promote and protect the human rights and sexual and reproductive health of all women.”
The activists say that it is “very worrying” that some African countries are in support of the resolution, and appeal to these countries reconsider their current position.
“We ask that the delegations of Botswana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Morocco to vote in the UN General Assembly on September 2, 2022, against the adoption of the resolution noted in item 132 of the agenda,” the activists say.
If passed, they say, the UNGA resolution “would represent the next step in the international introduction of abortion as a human right.”
“The resolution would mark a major victory for so-called ‘abortion rights’ after years of stagnation in UN debates and would give UN agencies a clear mandate to push abortion even harder with resources and political tools,” the CitizenGo officials say.
“Safe abortion does not exist. In every abortion, an innocent, developing human being is killed,” they say, adding, “All abortions have serious psychological consequences, as well as many health risks for the mother.”
The Catholic social activists say the agenda is “unacceptable from the point of view of Africa and our pro-life laws.”
CitizenGo officials add that the idea of “safe abortion” is also not acceptable at the international level.
They explain, “In the past decade, it was rejected by the member states during numerous other resolution negotiations. Abortion is a hotly debated political issue around the world.”
They add, “According to the UN consensus, abortion falls within the competence of member states and was never a human right.”
The social activists say promoting the access to abortion as a human right “would undermine the consensus of the General Assembly, which was determined at the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994 (ICPD 8.25).”
ICPD 8.25 acknowledged “the fact that abortions constitute a major public health concern for women all over the world” and called “upon all national Governments to reduce the need for abortion”.
CitizenGo officials say if it is impossible to prevent abortion from being part of the UN’s response to sexual violence, “then ICPD 8.25 should be recorded in the text.”
“The warnings contained in point this is the only way to ensure that the previous resolutions of the General Assembly are respected,” CitizenGo officials say in the petition that is seeking signatures to ask the members of the African delegations and those of Botswana, South Sudan, Rwanda, Morocco, and Sierra Leone to vote against the UNGA agenda.