Secret Memos Reveal Worldwide Pro-Abortion Legal Strategy
The Friday Fax has acquired a number of internal memos produced by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) that map out CRR’s multi-year strategy for establishing binding and enforceable international reproductive rights laws, most notably girls’ and women’s right to state-financed abortion on demand. The memos were written to summarize the conclusions of strategic planning meetings held by CRR in late October, and they explain in detail how the Center, along with its many pro-abortion allies throughout the world, plans to expand international laws well beyond their current scope and to impose these new laws worldwide, even upon individual nations that do not explicitly assent to the changes.
The memos appear to confirm long-standing fears of some legal scholars that international negotiations on human rights laws are no longer conducted in good faith, and that national sovereignty is jeopardized by such negotiations.
In the memos, CRR repeatedly states that its “overarching goal is to ensure that governments worldwide guarantee reproductive rights out of an understanding that they are bound to do so.” These rights would include the broadest possible access to abortion, and the establishment of abortion as an internationally recognized human right, but they are not limited to abortion. CRR also speaks of the international community’s need to recognize the “inalienable nature” of what it calls “sexual rights.” These rights will in turn require new laws that “explicitly address the legal and social subordination women face within their families, marriages, communities and societies.” They will also require the establishment of “reproductive autonomy” for girls, which CRR describes as access to all reproductive information and services, including abortion, without parental notification or consent.
CRR hopes to achieve these goals through a multi-pronged strategy. First, CRR will work to radically expand the interpretations of already-accepted international rights, what CRR calls “hard norms,” into vehicles for its reproductive rights agenda. Thus, CRR claims to have found, or “grounded,” a right to abortion in the right to life, the right to health, even the right to enjoy scientific progress. CRR favors this approach because “there is a stealth quality to the work: we are achieving incremental recognition of values without a huge amount of scrutiny from the opposition.”
Second, CRR hopes to create new customary international laws, what it calls “soft norms,” that explicitly mention abortion and sexual autonomy. According to CRR, if soft norms are repeated often enough, they may become hard norms, and therefore binding on nations. Soft norms accumulate in a host of international and regional settings, including through the European Court of Human Rights and UN compliance committees.
Finally, CRR seeks a means to impose these new international laws on recalcitrant nations. Thus, CRR will be “supporting efforts to strengthen existing enforcement mechanisms, such as the campaign for the International Criminal Court and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.”
The Friday Fax is reported and written by Douglas Sylva, C-FAM Vice President.
Copyright – C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
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