Rights of unborn campaign launched in Geneva

Speaking in Geneva, an independent European parliamentarian for Ireland has announced the launch of an international "Amnesty for Babies before Birth" campaign to declare and uphold the right to life of unborn children.

Independent Catholic News reports that Kathy Sinnott's announcement was made on Wednesday in the presence of Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Also at the event, John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), launched a "declaration" on unborn babies' rights.

The campaign will be asking nations to sign the declaration. It is also seeking the signatures of pro-life legislators from national and regional parliaments, as well as the endorsement of pro-life, pro-family non-governmental organisations.

John Smeaton said: "We appeal to all UN member states to put protection in place for the most vulnerable members of our society; the genuinely voiceless ones; the child before birth. The declaration on the right to life of the child before birth is the first initiative in this campaign and is central to the reason SPUC was founded."

He said that he Society "opposed all attempts to make abortion a human right and sought at all times to have language included in UN conventions and other documents that upholds the right to life at all stages and phases of life, from conception to natural death."

Mr Smeaton said that this is not the first declaration of its kind concerning children, "but it is the first time that anyone has prepared a declaration dealing exclusively with the rights of the child before birth."

He encouraged all states to go beyond merely signing the declaration "and to put in place legislation which will provide the much-needed special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, for the baby before birth." He claimed that such protection was envisaged by the founding fathers of the UN in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, has expressed his concern that the Church could one day be prosecuted for its right-to-life stance by some countries where abortion is considered a human right.

"I fear that faced with current legislation, speaking in defence of life, of the rights of the family, is becoming in some societies a crime against the state, a form of disobedience of the government, a discrimination against women," Cardinal Trujillo said.

"The Church risks being brought in front of some international court, if the debate gets any more tense, if the most radical opinions are heeded."

The campaign has been launched at a time Amnesty International is considering whether or not abortion is a human right.

Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, also warned last week that Amnesty would lose Catholic support if they go ahead with their proposal to list abortion as a "human right."

The Canadian, British, and New Zealand Amnesty branches have already voted to support abortion. Australia votes at the end of this month.

Geneva: world campaign for unborn child launched (Independent Catholic News 29/6/06)
Cardinal fears Church could face court on abortion (Washington Post 29/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Kathy Sinnott MEP (European Parliament)
Amnesty (Cardinal George Pell 25/6/06)
Irish MEP at Forefront on Declaration to Ban Abortion and Euthanasia (PreciousLife.net)
Society for Protection of Unborn Children UK

Abortion law cruel, should change: British poll (CathNews 21/6/06)

Child born to brain-dead mom (The Mercury 29/6/06)

30 Jun 2006