Marie Smith, Director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues PNCI writes.
The wearing of the green by pro-life advocates this St. Patrick's Day may not be so proud as the Republic of Ireland, as holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from January to June 2013, acts in a complicit manner with abortion-minded organizations to enable the furthering of distorted pro-abortion arguments. Tomorrow, March 12, the Irish Presidency co-sponsors an event at the UN during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) entitled "Women Human Rights Defenders: A Resource at Risk?"As the main organizer for the side event, the Irish Presidency partners with Amnesty International, Women's Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC), and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. All three support the manipulative argument that portrays abortion activists, and abortionists, as 'human rights defenders' despite that fact that no binding UN treaty legitimizes abortion in any way and more countries ban or restrict abortion than allow abortion on demand.The questionable decision by the Irish Presidency to chose such partners becomes more disturbing after reading a document by WHRD IC, Global Report On The Situation Of Women Human Rights Defenders. The "report" denigrates political and religious support for protection for the child in the womb and elevates abortionists and those who work to maintain laws allowing for the destruction of the preborn child.It addresses the present abortion situation in the US categorizing all pro-life advocates as "fundamentalist actors" stating, "Fundamentalist actors sought to create a political environment where abortion, though legal, was delegitimized, and consequently providers of this service were dehumanized. Defenders working on reproductive rights, particularly abortion providers are subject to retaliation for their role in assisting women to alter their 'natural' role as mother and caregiver."The paper includes the violent death of late term abortionist George Tiller which is described as "a tragic example of fundamentalisms influencing the political and legal environment in which a human rights defender lives and works. Fundamentalist actors opposed to abortion were able to highjack the law and use it as a weapon to prosecute a healthcare provider performing lawful activities to ensure women's rights. Once they secured political power, these actors fomented animus towards Dr. Tiller, contributing to a context that dehumanized abortion providers and eventually gave rise to violence."Such stark and outright lies attempt to shift debate away from the reality that preborn children are dehumanized in the US, nearly 3,300 of whom are denied their most basic human right--the right to life--every day. It also ignores the facts that many pro-life leaders condemned the killing of George Tiller and that the pro-life movement believes in peaceful non-violent protest.It is a shocking disappointment that the Irish Presidency appears to be aligning itself with such arguments and the speech by its Minister of State for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People to CSW gives further evidence of the questionable path the Irish Presidency is following. Kathleen Lynch TD stated, "The EU also emphasises that gender equality cannot be achieved without guaranteeing women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, and reaffirms that expanding access to sexual and reproductive health information and health services are essential for achieving the Beijing Platform for Action, the Cairo Programme of Action and the MDG's."Countries with pro-life laws and pro-life lobbyists at the UN argue for removal of the contentious undefined expressions "women's sexual and reproductive health and rights" and "expanding access to sexual and reproductive health information and health services" knowing that these words are used to advance universal access to abortion by certain governments and organizations.It is most disturbing to see the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union partnering with organizations that not only seek exclusionary language that discriminates against an entire group by virtue of their place of residence-the womb--but which depict cultures and religions that respect life from conception as purveyors of violence.This combined with pressure from some in the government of the Republic of Ireland to change its pro-life policy are profoundly troubling. There will be no wearing of the green this year for me.