Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Abortion-my right to choose

As far as I'm concerned the right to abortion should be an international human rights issue. It's nobody's business but my mine to decide what I can or cannot do with my own body. I also don't see why I should have to base my right to abortion on somebody else's belief in an archaic religious code - no disrespect intended. And that's why I resent the US's stance on abortion at the current Beijing + 10 international gender conference. A two-week review at the United Nations on the status of women worldwide is being overshadowed by a U.S. demand that the review's final language include a statement that abortion is not a human right that should be guaranteed to all women.

The United States accused advocacy groups of trying to use a landmark U.N. effort to achieve equality for women to promote a pro-abortion agenda, embroiling a high-level meeting in a debate participants had hoped to avoid. Human rights and women's groups have voiced concern the Bush administration is rolling back on U.S. support for the platform of action adopted at the 1995 U.N. women's conference in Beijing. But U.S. Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, speaking Monday as a two-week review of the 150-page document got under way, said the United States is not seeking ``in any way'' to reopen negotiations on the platform. What Washington wants, she said, is an amendment to the meeting's proposed final declaration stating that the commitment to ``reproductive health services'' is not a guarantee of the right to abortion. (NYT-subscription only)

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