A speech by Francisco Tatad, Special Counsel to the Vice President of the Philippines, delivered at the National “Philippines for Life” Congress in Cebu City on November 16, 2011 and published on his blog
My first words will be to thank Dr. Rene Bullecer for organizing this Congress and for proposing the focus of our deliberations. And thank you all for coming to this forum.
“Surrender is not an option, Compromise is not the Solution.” That is our theme. It is the only correct position to take. That is to say, if we truly believe the sanctity of human life, marriage and the family is worth fighting for. Or even dying for.
Last October 31, according to the U.N. population count, the 7 billionth human being was born. In reality, given the poor state of our data gathering, no one can guarantee the accuracy of that claim. We may have long passed the 7 billionth mark, or we may not yet be there. Nobody knows for sure. But the U.N. bureaucrats had decided that the 7 billionth baby would arrive at Halloween, as if to make it part of the day we remember all our dead relations and friends.
So when Baby Danica arrived on Oct. 31, she became for us Filipinos the symbolic baby 7 billion. Other countries have their own symbolic 7 billionth. It wasn’t easy getting there. There were formidable obstacles. Universal contraception, sterilization, abortion, euthanasia, divorce, same-sex ‘marriage’, other means of population control---all these were (are) meant to suppress the population. It was therefore a great and godly thing that baby 7 billion came through despite the obstacles.
A few days before this event, population experts based in Moscow, Washington, DC, and London spoke to the world by skylink to suggest what 7 billion human beings mean for our planet. They concluded, among other things, that baby 7 billion would not have been possible if the world did not have so much more food, better health care, better housing, better education, greater capacity to cope with emergencies, conflicts, calamities and disasters. All of these helped people to live better and longer. And as they did, fewer people died young, and population rose, even though fewer and fewer couples continued to reproduce at or above replacement level.
Steven Mosher, President of the US-based Population Research Institute (PRI), lends us some useful statistics. In 1800, when the population stood at one billion, the worldwide per capita income was $100. Today, with 7 billion, it is $9,000. As late as the 19th century, four out of every ten (10) children died before reaching age five. The average lifespan was under 30 years. Today, the under-five mortality is under 6 percent and falling. And the average lifespan is 69.
So why do we hear that one billion people have nothing to eat? Has not population growth finally outrstripped food production, as Thomas Malthus famously warned in 1798? Let’s not be misled. There’s enough food for all to have a daily diet of 3,500 calories each. But ethnic wars, border wars, internal conflicts, economic sanctions and embargoes, natural calamities, man-made disasters, and the lack of processing, storage and transport facilities prevent the effective and equitable distribution of food. And stupidity and greed have created so much inequality that the richest 400 Americans own more than half of what the entire American population owns.
Now hasn’t the planet grown too small for our needs? Aren’t we running out of space? It’s all media hype. In the sixties, some demographers calculated that all of humanity could be made to fit inside the state of texas. The calculation still holds, except that Dr. Igor Beloborodov, the Director of the Demographic Institute in Moscow, likes to mention Australia or Arizona instead of Texas.
While the total population has grown, the growth rate has slowed down from 2.1 percent in 1960 to 1.2 percent this year. At that rate of growth, and falling, world population is likely to shrink back to six billion by the end of the century, with another billion falling off every 20 years thereafter, into the 22nd century. As Steven Mosher puts it, those who believe the population will continue to rise indefinitely only need to hold their breath, for by the end of the century, the population would fall below 7 billion all over again.
Depopulation or shrinking population is the real crisis staring us in the face . Africa’s one billion could treble by the end of the century, but the demographic winter in Russia, Japan and Europe could spread rapidly and irreversibly to the other continents. In at least 80 countries today, representing over half of the world’s population, the fertility rate has already fallen below 2.1 children per woman of reproductive age. Parents are no longer being replaced. Not enough young people are entering the workforce to support the retired 65 year olds and above, who will be twice as many as the 15-year-olds and younger in 40 years.
This has prompted some four hundred experts from 65 countries to convene the Moscow demographic summit on June 29-30, 2011, and consider what remedial measures to take. Having had the privilege of taking part in that summit and in framing the Moscow Declaration on the emerging demographic crisis, I now commend that same document to the attention of this Congress.
The Declaration calls on the governments of all nations and on international institutions to develop immediately a pro-family demographic policy; adopt a special international pro-family strategy and action plan; and “put an end to interference with the private life of the family under the pretext of so-called ‘family planning’, ‘protection of the rights of the child’, and ‘gender equality.’
But not everyone sees the errors we see. Far from renouncing those errors, many prefer to contribute to them instead.
For example, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon situates the arrival of baby 7 billion against the background of the Wall Street protests that have shaken official Washington and corporate America. For him, it is a grave contradiction.
The event calls for reflection rather than celebration, says Babtunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the UN’s principal agency for population control.
And the Center for Biological Diversity sees it as a curse, pure and simple. “Overpopulation and overconsumption are the root causes of environmental destruction. They’re driving the species extinct, destroying wildlife habitat, and undermining the basic needs of all life at an unprecedented rate. It has to stop,” says the US-based center.
From Thomas Malthus down to the present celebrities and icons of population control, it’s the same message the world has heard this past 200 years.
In 1968, the same year Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae, his prophetic encyclical on human life, Paul Ehrlich predicted in his book Population bomb that millions would die from famine if uncontrolled population growth persisted. In 1969, he advocated adding sterilants to the food and water supply to sterilize the entire cities. In 1977, he reiterated the idea in Ecoscience, a book he co-authored with his wife Anne Ehrlich and John Holdren.
Aside from putting infertility drugs into the food or water supply for general and massive sterilization, the book talks of using an armed international police force to dictate the most intimate details of family life under a planetary regime with the power of life and death over the lives of its citizens. Forcing women to abort their pregnancies is just one of them.
As dangerous as their ideas are, the Ehrlich couple have never been in a position to officially propose population policy. But his co-author Holdren is. Holdrin is the present Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is informally known as the Science Czar of the United States, a most powerful and influential position in the Obama administration.
In 1972, Maurice Strong, a former UN functionary and World Bank advisor, advocated government licencing for women to be allowed to bear children.
In 1988, Prince Philip of Britain was quoted as saying: “In the event I am reborn, I would like to return as a deadly virus in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”
The statement may have been made tongue-in-cheek for the peculiar amusement of the British elite. But it encourages sordid speculation that some pandemics like HIV/AIDS, SARS and others were invented by mad military scientists to decimate Africa’s robust population.
In January 2000, CNN’s Ted Turner was quoted as saying that “Thou shalt not commit adultery” should be deleted from the Ten Commandments. And that, “A total world population of 250-300 million people, a 95 percent decline from present levels, would be ideal.”
In his last interview with Le Monde two months beefore he died in 2004, the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who developed the critical theory of deconstruction, proposed the abolition of marriage “in the civil and secular code” and its replacement by a purely civil union with no limitation as to the sex or number of the partners involved, and with no procreative intent.
In 1999, on the day and hour that Adnan Nevic, the UN’s symbolic 6 billionth baby, arrived to a refugee couple in Bosnia, I was speaking to the 102nd Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Berlin. In my statement to the world parliamentarians, I wondered why the event seemed to fill the richest countries with such gloom, alarm and panic when they should be celebrating it with champagne and fireworks—like the Fetes de Geneve. Many delegates from the developing world lined up to congratulate me after my speech, but some from the developed world showed visible contempt.
Nothing has changed since.
Outside of this Congress and other friendly places, the worldwide attack on human life, on marriage and on the family continues unabated. It continues to pour in from the UN, from the multilateral financial institutions, from foreign governments, from the NGOs, from the global media, both institutional and online. Through their local proxies, these forces have tried to create a false façade of public support for a morally repugnant, scientifically skewed, constitutionally twisted and foreign dictated population control measure, deceptively marketed as a Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
The administration has prioritized this bill as though it were the solution to all of the country’s problems. Its immediate effect has been to divide the nation and sow the seeds of religious and socio-political turmoil. Congress mercifully suspended the floor debates as it went on recess before Halloween. But until the President cancels or withdraws his original instruction to his Congress allies to fast track the measure, the danger remains. Official pressure from abroad bears watching.
Two UN reports provoke serious concern. The first one, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” seeks to nix the sovereign right of member states to prevent the legalization of abortion, and the fundamental right of individuals to freedom of thought, religion, and conscience. It seeks to endow the UN with a power it does not have--- to determine whether or not and to what extent abortion is to be legalized by member-states, without regard to their sovereign rights.
It misinterprets accepted international documents on reproductive health, ignores their avowed goal to reduce the number of abortions worldwide, and stresses instead the need for member-states to legalize abortion. It tries to create new rights in reproductive health by misstating in particular the provisions of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action.
Where Beijing says States should “consider reviewing laws containing punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions,” the Report, misquoting Beijing, says, “States should consider removing punitive measures related to sexual and reproductive health.”
The Report also inveighs against the primary right and duty of parents to raise and educate their children and calls for the nixing of parental notification laws with respect to contraception and sex education for young girls.
The second report, the “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders,” seeks to expand women’s rights far beyond those agreed upon in consensus documents and enable human rights defenders to define new rights as they see fit, instead of simply defending well-established rights that flow from our innate human dignity.
Unless these reports are rejected, they are bound to impose new pressure upon Congress to ram through the extremely malignant and totally unacceptable bill. The world body that was seen from the very beginning as the first protector of human rights has now become the source of danger to many of these fundamental rights.
Thus far I have tried to describe to you the lay of the land where the battle against the rh bill must be fought and won. It is necessary to have a complete and accurate appreciation of the terrain and the various forces at play in order to know how and where we stand, and what we need to do in order to prevail. We shall now discuss the various steps we need to take in order to send the RH bill to the archives and discourage any further effort to revive it.
The very first thing we need is a clear understanding of what we are, what we are fighting for and what we are fighting against. With such understanding, there will be no surrender and no compromise. We shall stop the enemy at the gates. Without it, we cannot say, “No surrender and no compromise;” and the enemy will pass. Total understanding of what we are, what we are fighting for and what we are fighting against is the first imperative.
Until now, we have allowed the RH advocates to frame the debate. And they have done so, to their advantage. With all due respect, we have allowed ourselves to be drawn to the peripheral issues away from the central issue of the conflict. We must now set that right.
The right and duty to reproduce is not a right and duty conferred by law or local ordinance upon the citizens of a State. It is something the Creator has bestowed upon his creatures as part of their nature. That right and duty belongs to the human person before he becomes a citizen, or even if he does not become a citizen at all. It precedes the existence of the State, and is not subject to the approval or disapproval of the local sanggunian, Congress or the President. It is not and cannot be made the subject of any regulatory statute.
This is the first thing we must understand about RH and its proponents. The bill has no place in Congress, and its authors and sponsors are acting way beyond their jurisdiction as legislators. There are areas of human activity in which the State may not intrude. Our politicians need to understand this, and because they don’t, we must make them understand it.
The bill seeks to control our lives not simply as citizens but above all as human beings. Have our legislators considered its full implications? Do they really know what they want to do to us, to the Filipino family, to the natural institution of marriage, to the divine gift of procreation and childbearing? How well do they understand the meaning of law, and their role as legislators? By what power on earth do they believe they can do what they want to do to us through this bill? Do they believe their power to legislate is an unlimited and absolute power?
The RH proponents have tried to make the country and the world believe that the issue here is whether women (and men) should be allowed to practice contraception and sterilization as a method of family planning. And they have tried to bombard us with all arguments why we should have such a legislation. It would end mass poverty, maternal mortality, environmental degradation, the impacts of climate change, and even bad governance.
We have tried to marshal every evidence to show that all their arguments are specious and false, that contraception and sterilization have not solved, and will not solve poverty, maternal death, environmental degradation, climate change or official corruption anywhere. We reject what they say, and they reject what we say, and the Frankenmedia and the Frankenpollsters try to intervene by censoring our truth and exalting their falsehood, and then trying to create a false game of numbers.
The debate continues to revolve around the fringes, away from the center. We must now focus on the heart of the bill. I have tried to point out in all my public statements that the right to practice contraception and sterilization is not the issue here. That right, if you can call it that, has never been curtailed. There is no law prohibiting it in the Philippines. Anyone so minded can practice it, and they are doing so mindlessly, with the active encouragement and support of the Department of Health, the Population Commission, and the various foreign agencies and institutions who have decided to inflict their own RH programs on the Philippines.
The national funding for contraception and sterilization has been in the General Appropriations Act since the 1970’s, when the old Constitution that was silent on the legality of this question. It has remained to this day, even after the Cory Aquino-inspired Constitution came into effect. This proclaims the sanctity of human life, the family and marriage, and therefore renders such appropriation devoid of any constitutional basis. At least P2 billion is appropriated for it in the present GAA, not counting all the funds coming from the foreign population controllers. Thanks to all this, the national contraceptive prevalence rate is now 51 percent and counting.
So whose “right” to contracept or get sterilized is being denied, curtailed or violated, because of the lack of an RH law? What law is needed to create a “right” that is already being enjoyed by all who want to exercise it?
But as we just saw, it was never the purpose of the bill to give women (and men) a “right” they already have---namely, to practice contraception and sterilization whenever and wherever they want. The purpose of the bill has always been what appears in the bill, namely, to give the State a power, a right and a duty it does not have - namely, to violate the sanctity of the conjugal bedroom and order the married couple to practice birth control as a necessary precondition and an essential component of the marital act.
The RH proponents will tell you---But the bill allows you to choose what methods to use. Indeed, the bill gives you an illusion of that. But it is an illusion, nothing more. For while the bill mentions natural family planning as an option, natural family planning is not a means of contraception or sterilization. And nothing is said about how the government will promote natural family planning, and make sure those who need it would get it. In contrast, the bill discusses at length how contraceptives and sterilization agents are to be distributed by clinics and hospitals as essential medicines.
But the point here is not just that you are given a bogus choice. The more important point is that while you are given the illusion of choosing what type of contraceptives to use, the decision that you must use one form of contraceptives or another has already been made for you by the authors of the bill, claiming the right to speak for the State.
This is an abomination. Even in the United States, Europe and other non-communist countries where abortion is allowed, the government has simply legalized the destruction of unborn babies. That is certainly barbaric enough, but in that case the government has merely legalized what was once known a crime against humanity; it did not and does not quite prescribe it, as they did and do in communist and other totalitarian states. The Philippines is neither a communist nor a totalitarian state. But the RH bill wants to imitate the communist and totalitarian practice. No wonder the congressmen identified with both both the rejectionist and raffirmist factions of the Communist Party of the Philippines who cannot seem to agree on a single issue are one and united in supporting the RH bill.
What the bill wants to do to the Philippine constitutional democratic state, it likewise wants to do to the divine institution of marriage. Procreation, not contraception, is the primary purpose of marriage. For which reason, the sexual act is licit only within marriage. But the bill wants to do away with procreation, and make contraception a necessary precondition and an essential component of marriage. This is simply too much.
This alone is sufficient for us to tell our pro-RH friends to cease and desist. But there is far more than this.
As Catholics, we have the right to profess and practice our faith without any discrimination from any source. We have the right to found a family in accordance with our religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood. We do not have to explain to Congress why we believe what we believe. Nor do we have to say why we believe ours is the right belief. We do not have to prove it to Congress, we may be able to do it. It is sufficient for the State to know what we believe and for it to respect that belief. Now as Catholics, our Church teaches us that contraception and sterilization are intrinsically evil. But the RH bill wants us to practice contraception and sterilization, and to use our tax money to pay for an RH program that attacks our belief.
Is this not religious persecution, and don’t we have the right, even the duty, to resist?
Some RH proponents, including some self-confessed lapsed Catholics, have tried to heckle and sneer at us for mentioning our Catholic faith or the teaching of Humanae Vitae in rejecting RH. Some of us politely obliged by putting forward eloquent and forceful arguments without quoting Scripture, the Popes or Humanae Vitae itself. They proved that even non-Catholics who had no access to the Magisterium, provided they used their practical reason to understand natural law, would see that the RH bill did not deserve their support.
But as Catholics, we should never apologize for our fidelity to the teaching of Mother Church. The RH bill is an attack on a teaching of our Catholic faith. We must vigorously respond to it and reject it as faithful Catholics should. Of course, we cannot tell the pagan, the non-Catholic, or the lapsed Catholic who says, “I am a Catholic, but I don’t follow everything the Church says,” to oppose the bill on the basis of our belief. We cannot ask Congress, and for that reason, we are not asking Congress, to act as the enforcer of our Catholic belief. But we can and we must ask Congress not to disrespect nor trample on our Catholic belief. We can tell, and we must tell the RH proponents, including His Excellency the President, that this is an anti-Catholic bill, and we shall resist it, with our lives if necessary, as Catholics.
There are some who have tried to tell us that we should not impose our Catholic belief on non-Catholics. That is a fair request - fairly put and properly understood. But there is no attempt on the part of Catholics to impose their belief on non-Catholics. We are not trying to stop anyone who wants to contracept or get sterilized from contracepting or getting sterilized. If any religious sect or organization believes that contraception is good for one’s health or soul, our opposition to the RH bill as Catholics should not disturb them at all, for even now they are free to contracept and sterilize themselves. If and when the RH bill is finally archived---as I sincerely believe it should be archived----they would still be free to contracept and sterilize themselves. But they are the ones who want to impose their belief or non-belief on Catholics. They ask Catholics to show tolerance for their belief or non-belief, but they show complete non-tolerance for our Catholic belief.
As Catholics we have a right and a duty to make sure that in this predominantly Catholic country, no anti-Catholic edict should stamp the boot of totalitarianism on our Catholic convictions, our Catholic culture, our Catholic conscience, and the Filipino family. We must show the world that when the truth calls on us to stand for its defense, we Filipino Catholics shall stand together and march together, whatever the cost or consequence, for God, family and country.
God. Family. Country. I have spoken of God. I have spoken of country. Let me now speak of country. We are today a divided country. We have been divided by all the lies and falsehoods of our politics and the unceasing revision and reinterpretation of our history. The RH bill will plunge us into the deepest depth of national infamy. It will mean the total surrender of our sovereignty. For the RH bill is not of Filipino origin. It is dictated by foreign population controllers using many of our countrymen as proxies. Many avowedly “nationalist” politicians were happy to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Senate’s rejection of the treaty that would have extended the US bases in the Philippines for another ten years after 1992 as a “triumph of Philippine sovereignty.” A few others struck nationalist poses by questioning the open American involvement in the MILF issue as an infringement of Philippine sovereignty.
But many, if not most, if not all of them do not mind calling on their benighted followers to march behind the foreign-dictated RH bill, which seeks a new colonization of the Philippines, by taking hold not necessarily of the land but of the minds and souls of the Filipinos. And they like to be known as nationalists and patriots of our time. I ask for your prayers that these friends of ours be converted back to God, family and country, back to true Filipino patriotism and nationalism.
And I finally ask for you to pray that all our pro-RH friends in Congress, and in Malacanang, who are there to preserve and defend the Constitution, may learn to treat with greater respect the clear provisions of that Constitution. Congress can pass no law in violation of the Constitution. The President cannot sign a bill into law, or allow a bill to lapse into law, that is in violation of the Constitution. And the RH bill is patently in violation of the Constitution.
For the nth time, I shall point out---and I apologize to those who may have heard it more than once--- that the RH bill violates Section 11 to 16 of Article II, and the whole of Article XV of the Constitution. We need not go over them one by one. I shall simply focus on the core pro-life and pro-family provision. Sec. 12 of Article II provides:
“The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”
I ask you to pay attention to the second sentence: “It (the State) shall equally protect the life of the unborn and the life of the unborn from conception.”
It is crystal clear. The State shall be the protector of conception. If that is so, then the State cannot be the preventer of conception. One is opposed to the other. The State can not be the source, agent or facilitator of contraception. It is as simple as that. The debate ends there. On the basis of that single line, the entire RH bill falls. And with it falls the long ongoing RH program of DOH, Popcom and local governments.
The long lachrymose pleading of the pro-RH band must end now. They may have run out of tears trying to convince us why we need the RH bill. Why? Because we are already too many and too poor. Why? Because four to eleven pregnant women are dying everyday for lack of proper care. Why? Because we are the only Christian nation, apart from the Vatican, that does not have an RH law.
But assuming everything they have said in answer to those three “whys” is correct, and everything we have said to refute their answers is wrong, the final question has been asked: Can Congress approve the RH bill, and can President Noynoy sign it into law, or let it lapse into law, under the Constitution? The Constitution answers, no, it violates the core pro-life and pro-family provision. Game over. Congress must attend to the more important things, and the President need not risk getting impeached for violating the Constitution and dividing the nation.
But - and there is one final but – what about the fact the Constitution does not say when conception takes place, and human life begins? The anti-RH group says conception occurs upon fertilization of the ovum, while the pro-RH group says, upon implantation. This question was obviously intended to becloud the issue, and it has indeed succeeded in that, to some extent. But we need not be confused.
The answer to “when does life begin?” has nothing whatsoever to do with the constitutional issue at hand. The simple constitutional issue here is whether or not the State, as the protector of conception, can also be the preventer of conception. Can the State also be the primary and ultimate provider of contraceptives and sterilization agents whose purpose is to prevent women, even one solitary woman, from conceiving?
If you are a congressman, senator or the President, and you say, yes, it is possible, then you are saying that black is white, what’s false is true, and there is no difference. It is the death of reason, and human civilization.
The answer to “when does life begin?” may be material when discussing abortion. Since a baby is aborted upon or after conception, the pro-abortion lobby thinks they have something to gain by insisting that conception takes place upon implantation. In so doing, they are able to claim that no abortion has taken place if the fetus is killed before implantation.
However, the most determined pro-abortion advocates have not been deterred by such distinctions. Some UN bureaucrats, human rights lawyers, juges and others---all influential and otherwise believable people---have been so bold as to claim that there is an international human right to abortion, even though no international treaty supports such claim. The assertion spreads to all, including parliamentarians, lawyers, judges and others, people who have the power to change abortion laws. Colombia changed its abortion laws based on that false claim.
To finally put an end to this notoriously false claim, a group of 31 law professors, philosophers, parliamentarians, ambassadors, human rights lawyers, and delegates to the UN General Assembly---all known experts in international law, international relations, international organizations, public health, science/medicine, and government---met in San Jose, Costa on the third week of March 2011 to draft a series of nine articles for international consumption.
These are called the San Jose Articles, and they are now part of the patrimony of the international pro-life movement. I was invited to participate in that drafting, but because a marriage in the family did not allow me to leave Manila at that time, I had to participate in collegial drafting the document online. I am one of the 32 signatories to the articles whose names I shall read later, time permitting.
These articles have been launched at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the British Parliament in London, the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the World Pro-Life Congress in San Jose, Costa, and in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Chairman, I seek your leave to enter these articles and their signatories into the records of our proceedings, after which I should like to ask further leave to inform the official custodians of these Articles that they were formally launched at this National “Philippines for Life” Congress.
With your consent, may I now read:
Article 1. As a matter of scientific fact a new human life begins at conception.
Article 2. Each human life is a continuum that begins at conception and advances in stages until death. Science gives different names to these stages, including zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, infant, child, adolescent and adult. This does not change the scientific consensus that at all points of development each individual is a living member of the human species.
Article 3. From conception each unborn child is by nature a human being.
Article 4. All human beings, as members of the human family, are entitled to recognition of their inherent dignity and to protection of their inalienable human rights. This is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international instruments.
Article 5. There exists no right to abortion under international law, either by way of treaty obligation or under customary international law. No United Nations treaty can accurately be cited as establishing or recognizing a right to abortion.
Article 6. The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other treaty monitoring bodies have directed governments to change their laws on abortion. These bodies have explicitly or implicitly interpreted the treaties to which they are subject as including a right to abortion.
Treaty monitoring bodies have no authority, either under the treaties that created them or under general international law, to interpret these treaties in ways that create new state obligations or that alter the substance of the treaties.
Accordingly, any such body that interprets a treaty to include a right to abortion acts beyond its authority and contrary to its mandate. Such ultra vires acts do not create any legal obligations for state parties to the treaty, nor should states accept them as contributing to the formation of new customary international law.
Article 7. Assertions by international agencies or non-governmental actors that abortion is a human right are false and should be rejected.
There is no international legal obligation to provide access to abortion based on any ground, including but not limited to health, privacy or sexual autonomy or non-discrimination.
Article 8. Under basic principles of treaty interpretation in international law, consistent with the obligations of good faith and pacta sunt servanda, and in the exercise of their responsibility to defend the lives of the people, states may and should invoke treaty provisions guaranteeing the right to life as encompassing a state responsibility to protect the unborn child from abortion.
Article 9. Governments and members of society should ensure that national laws and policies protect the human right to life from conception. They should also reject and condemn pressure to adopt laws that legalize or depenalize abortion.
Treaty monitoring bodies, United Nations agencies and officers, regional and national courts, and others should desist from implicit or explicit assertions of a right to abortion based on international law.
When such false assertions are made, or pressures exerted, member states should demand accountability from the United Nations system.
Providers of development aid should not promote or fund abortions. They should not make aid conditional on a recipient’s acceptance of abortion.
International maternal and child health care funding and programs should ensure a healthy outcome of pregnancy for both mother and child and should help mothers welcome new life in all circumstances.
The original drafters and signatories of these articles are the following:
1. Lord David Alton, House of Lords, Great Britain
2. Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus
3. Giuseppe Benagiano, Professor of Gynecology, Perinatology and Chidcare—Universita “la Sapienza”, Rome, former Secretary General, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)
4. Hon. Javier Borrego, former Judge, European Court of Human Rights
5. Christine Boutine, former Cabinet member, France; current President, Christian Democratic Party
6. Benjamin Bull, Chief Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund
7. Hon. Martha de Casco, Member of Parliament, Honduras
8. Hon. Tom Coburn, M.D., Member, United States Senate
9. Jakob Cornides, human rights lawyer
10. Professor John Finnis, Oxford University, University of Notre Dame
11. Professor Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; former member of the President’s Council on Bioethics
12. Professor John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy, University of St. Andrews
13. Patrick Kelly, Vice President for Public Policy, Knights of Columbus
14. Professor Elard Koch, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile
15. Professor Santiago Legarre, Professor of Law, Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina
16. Leonardo Leo, Former Delegate, UN Human Rights Commission
17. Yuri Mantilla, Director, International Government Affairs, Focus on the Famil
18. Hon. Elizabeth Montfort, former Member, European Parliament
19. Cristobal Orrego, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of the Andes (Chile)
20. Gregor Puppinck, Executive Director, European Center for Law and Justice
21. Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees, former US Ambassador to East Timor, Special US Representative to the UN on social issues
22. Austin Ruse, President, C-FAM
23. William Saunders, Human Rights lawyer, Senior Vice President, Americans United for Life, former delegate to the UN General Assembly
24. Alan Sears, President, CEO and General Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund
25. Marie Smith, President, Parliamentary Netword for Critical Issues
26. Professor Carter Snead, Member, International Bioethics Committee, UNESCO and former U.S. Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics, University of Notre Dame School of Law
27. Douglas Sylva, Delegate to the UN General Assembly
28. Hon. Francisco Tatad, former Majority Leader, Philippine Senate
29. Hon. Luca Volonte, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, President of the European People’s Party (PACE)
30. Lord Nicholas Windsor, Member of the Royal Family of the United Kingdom
31. Susan Yoshihara, Director, International Organizations Research Group
32. Anna Zabroska, Member, European Parliament; fomer chair, Women’s Committee of the European Parliament
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished defenders of human life, the family and marriage, may I now seek your consent to communicate to the rest of the Christian world that we have today, 16 November 2011, at this National “Philippines for Life Congress” in Cebu City, formally launched the San Jose Articles?
Thank you all very much.