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UN committee proclaims ‘right to life’ means ‘right to abortion’

The “right-to-life” clause in an important UN human rights treaty must now include a right to abortion. So says a committee of experts charged with monitoring compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which most states have ratified.

The committee says governments must decriminalize abortion in all circumstances and “remove existing barriers that deny effective access by women and girls to safe and legal abortion including barriers caused as a result of the exercise of conscientious objection by individual medical providers,” according to the committee that monitors the implementation of the UN treaty on civil and political rights, ratified by the United States in 1991.

“History will judge to what extent we have succeeded in rendering a normative statement for generations to come,” said Jerusalem-based law professor Yuval Shany as the committee adopted the legal commentary last week in Geneva.

Shany, who steered the drafting of the commentary described the general comment, as the document is known, as possessing a “deep humanitarian sensibility.”

More: UN committee proclaims ‘right to life’ means ‘right to abortion’