A recent publication from the United Nations Population Fund illustrates several troubling trends at the UN: the steady push to insinuate a human right to abortion, the overreach of special experts in the human rights system, and the tendency of problematic language and ideas to migrate from one agency to another.
In December, UNFPA published a guidance document how to apply a human rights-based approach to its work in family planning and maternal health. UNFPA’s original mandate was established in 1994 by the International Conference on Population and Development. But the new report argues new “human rights” have been discovered by various UN bodies.
For instance, in 2016 the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights issued “General Comment 22” that UNFPA says details obligations to ensure a right to abortion.
This comment, as well as any other “elaborations” issued by treaty monitoring bodies, are not binding. The text of the treaty itself is binding, but only on those countries that have ratified it. But the comments of UN committees are not binding on states that have ratified the treaty.
The United States, for instance, ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, whose monitoring body released “General Comment 36” in 2018. According to UNFPA, this comment “finds an obligation for States to provide safe, legal and effective access to abortion” in certain exceptional cases, such as rape, incest, fetal non-viability, and where the life or health of the mother is at risk. Again, this comment is not binding on the United States or any other nation that has ratified this document. Via – Live Action