Saturday, May 2, 2015

Human Rights Watch Pushes Abortion as Ecuador Beefs-Up Pro-Family Approach

By Wendy Wright

Center for Family and Human Rights

NEW YORK, May 1 (C-Fam) A human rights group is misrepresenting international law to the Ecuadoran government in order to change the country’s policies on abortion. At the same time, Ecuador’s president calls abortion “treason” and is swapping what he calls family-planning “hedonism” with pro-family, parent-driven values.

Human Rights Watch told a key politician in a letter last week “to spearhead a reform process to ensure that Ecuador complies with its international human rights obligations” on abortion. Even Human Rights Watch admits these obligations are no more than suggestions by UN bureaucrats, even so, the group insists they are binding on Member States.

But experts disagree. The group’s demand to “legalize abortion in a broad range of cases has no basis” in UN treaties or any other legally binding convention to which Ecuador belongs, said Teresa Collett, a law professor at University of St. Thomas.

“In spite of persistent and aggressive efforts on the part of certain Western nations and international activists, the legality of induced abortion remains strictly a matter of domestic law,” Collett said.

Restrictions on abortion “violate several women’s human rights” including “life” and “freedom from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment,” Human Rights Watch wrote to Dr. Mauro Andino, who heads up Ecuador’s Justice commission.

Last week, Andino cited a UN committee’s recommendation as reason for changing Ecuador’s age of consent for marriage or legal union.

Ecuador’s constitution protects life from conception. Its criminal code allows exceptions if a pregnancy threatens the mother’s life, or untreatable health risk, or if a woman with a mental disability is pregnant by rape.

A 2014 Pew survey found 95% of Protestants and 84% of Catholics in Ecuador say abortion is morally wrong.

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