In January 2008 an article entitled, "Human Rights Pitted Against Man" by Jakob Cornides, appeared in the International Journal of Human Rights which has brought a response from the pro-abortion organisation Catholics for a Free Choice in the June edition of the Journal. The article and response have already been the subject of an excellent review in the Catholic Action UK blog.
To understand the background to this exchange it is necessary to place both the Cornides article and the Catholics for a Free Choice letter in response to that article in a wider context. Pro-abortionists have for many years been trying to make abortion a human right however their efforts have all failed so far. There has been a noticeable increase in the number and frequency of such attempts in recent times. The fact that this year is the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights has brought a new impetus to the attempts to create a right to abortion.
The timely article by Jacob Cornides was a major setback to these attempts and had to be challenged in order for the pro-abortion impetus to continue unabated, hence the Catholics for a free Choice letter. It is significant however that CFFC in making the response did not address the fundamental issues raised by Cornides, their approach is dismissive and focuses on one statement unrelated to the main thrust of the Cornides article. The CFFC approach seems to suggest that this is only a Catholic opinion, that there are different views in the Catholic Church and anyway religious opinions should not be taken into account in the greater scheme of things. The letter finishes by declaring abortion to be a universal right. The pretence that there is an alternative Catholic viewpoint by associating the name catholic with the culture of death is repugnant to all faithful Catholics.
Cornides in his article points out that Pope John Paul II warned against a ‘new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden than its predecessors, which attempts to pit even human rights against the family and against man’ Pope John Paul II had personal experience of the evils of Nazism and Communism, and he was speaking at the dawn of the new millennium, yet he saw what he termed, this new ideology, as being more treacherous and underhand than either of those regimes. The onward march of this ideology is directed through international institutions like the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe and the African Union (AU). Opposition is stifled by, anti democratic decision making and by subtle attempts to control freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and conscientious objection. It is partly achieved by designation of certain groups as victim classes and prioritizing their rights above the rights of the rest. It is also achieved by gaining control of the language and presenting issues that most people reject, by sanitizing that language used to describe it. This agenda masquerades as the right to health, women’s rights, children’s rights and other rights. These groups really do need special protection but their special status is being usurped by powerful NGO's in order to further radical agendas. Natural law Human Rights are being replaced by bogus rights, which are being placed in a position of supremacy over real human rights.
A further challenge to the Cornides article has been published recently by the Centre for Reproductive Rights, entitled: "Abortion as a Human Right—International and Regional Standards." This article focuses on what it terms as the “striking expansion” of international and regional human rights standards and jurisprudence that support women's human right to abortion, despite the fact that no such right has ever been accepted internationally and that there is no such right in any international treaty or convention. On the contrary the Convention on the rights of the Child in its preamble calls on the international community to protect the child before as well as after birth, “The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written in the post war period to ensure that atrocities such as those witnessed during the war would never happen again.