A set of documents called the San Jose Articles were released at the United Nations on October 6, 2011. These documents are intended to remind nations that they are under no obligation when it comes to international law to liberalize their laws regarding abortion.
The San Jose Articles are named for the city in Costa Rica where the authors of these documents drafted them. They wrote these articles in response to a long campaign of misinformation waged by abortion lobbyists who argue that international law recognizes a right to abortion. As a result of this campaign, Columbia recently legalized abortion and Mexico is strongly considering doing so.
This group of scholars, however, after surveying international law, discovered that the corpus of international law only recognizes a right to life from the moment of fertilization.
International human rights lawyer Yuri Mantilla noted, “There seems to be a global narrative promoting the killing of a preborn baby, the smallest member of the human family, that you have a right to do that. That’s happening at the U.N., mainly because European nations and the U.S. promote it.”
Joseph Rees, former U.S. Ambassador to East Timor and one-time U.S. representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Council, said at a press briefing Thursday he’d seen those efforts firsthand. “When I was in Timor I witnessed a sustained effort by some international civil servants and representatives of foreign NGOs to bully a small developing country into repealing its pro-life laws,” he said. “The problem is that people on the ground, even government officials, have little with which to refute the extravagant claim that abortion is an internationally recognized human right. The San Jose Articles are intended to help them fight back.”