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An attempt to push through "the right to abortion" at the Nairobi summit. Conservative organisations ignored by the United Nations.

Published: 10.10.2019


Another attempt to introduce "the right to abortion" will be made in November. The UN Summit will be held in Nairobi during which the issue of access to "reproductive and sexual rights" will be discussed. Despite the declaration about the open nature of the event, the organisers have admitted almost no conservative organisations to register for the summit.

The meeting in Nairobi is to commemorate the 25th anniversary of adoption of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. Although it has been stated in the document that abortion may in no case be promoted as one of family planning methods, and the obligation of the nations is to reduce the number of abortions (item 8.25), there is a strong likelihood that environments related to the organisation of the Summit will attempt to violate that international consensus.

The main purpose of the Nairobi Summit is to implement the provisions of the ICPD and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. As it is indicated on the website of the event, the Summit is to be a turning point when it comes to the implementation of universal access, as part of universal healthcare, to "reproductive and sexual rights". However, the used wording is imprecise. During the Conference in Cairo, the nations have agreed to use only such terms as "reproductive health", "reproductive rights" and "sexual health". Joining "sexual rights" to them is not authorised and brings the risk of promoting the demands of the LGBT movement.

The events that took place before the summit, listed on its website, may raise controversies. As early as during the first of them, that was the inauguration of the international She Decides movement, the manifest was announced, according to which each woman should have the right to decide about whether she will give birth to a child and should have access to "safe abortion". The issue of a possibility to carry out abortions was raised many times, also during the events mentioned on the website, e.g. during the Women Deliver conference or the G7 Summit. During the latter, the Gender Equality Advisory Council, held as part of the G7 Summit, issued recommendations in which it pressed governments to guarantee for everyone access to "safe and legal abortion", introduce a ban on the dissemination of "untrue information" on prenatal killing or introduce compulsory sexual education in schools. The organisers themselves emphasize that these events constitute preparation for the meeting in November and take up issues that will be raised at the meeting.

The organisation of the Nairobi Summit raises many doubts. Despite the assurances of the organisers about the open nature of the summit, the representatives of the Ordo Iuris Institute, as the majority of similar organisations all over the world, have not received confirmation of the registration. We know only about one organisation of this type (World Youth Association) that has been admitted to organise a side-event during the Summit.

"Although the possible provisions of the Nairobi Summit will not be binding, and it will be voluntary to joint them, their shape will be of significant importance for the continued functioning of the United Nations. The document itself will certainly have a significant interpretation value for the United Nations' organisations such as WHO or committees supervising the implementation of treaties. If the significant number of nations and social organisations agree to the use of terms with regard to human sexuality, that have not been recognised so far, little will separate us from the official recognition of the universal "right to abortion" by the United Nations - commented Karolina Pawłowska from the Ordo Iuris International Law Centre.

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