International human rights instruments:
- protect the right to life of every human being
- require that every human being is regarded as a person before the law
- affirm that the unborn child is a human being (a fact confirmed by science)
- therefore the intentional killing of unborn children is contrary to international law.
The purpose of the general Amnesty for Babies petition, the legislators’ petition and the scientists’ & physicians’ declaration is to demand recognition of these facts and thereby ensure that unborn children will everywhere be protected.
Human rights in international law
The Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declare “faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person”.
Those nations which have agreed to these and subsequent human rights documents (eg. the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) have obligated themselves to recognition of the fact that the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Right to life
An absolute prohibition on the intentional killing of innocent civilians is an universally-held legal and moral principle. This principle is found in numerous legal instruments, both international and domestic.
The United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights states (art.3) that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), an elaboration of the UDHR, states: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” (art. 6-1)
The child in international law
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as “every human being below the age of eighteen years” (art.1).
An unborn child is undoubtedly a human being, a member of the species Homo sapiens (see ‘Scientific facts’ below)
The CRC states that:
- “Every child has the inherent right to life” (art.6.1)
- “States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.” (art.6.2)
- “The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth” (premamble)
It should be noted that the CRC says “the need for such special safeguards has been…recognised in the UDHR”.
Equal right to life and equality before the law
International law not only affirms that the unborn have the right to life, but that their right to life is equal to the right to life of all human beings:
- “[E]qual and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”
- “Everyone has the right to life…”, “Every human being has the inherent right to life.”
- “No one is to have his or her rights and freedoms, as set forth in this declaration, curtailed for any reason”
- “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind…”
- ‘Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law’ (UDHR art.6)
- ‘All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law’. (UDHR art.7)
Other proofs that right to life of the unborn is protected in international law
The ICCPR forbids the death penalty to be carried out on pregnant women. The principal reason for inclusion of this provision was to save the life of an innocent unborn child. [Made clear in the ICCPR travaux préparatoires]
The human being, from the single-cell stage of development of the human embryo:
- whether brought into being by sexual reproduction or otherwise, and whether inside or outside the womb of a woman, is a separate and distinct, living human individual;
- will progress through all stages of development in a continuum, through the embryonic and fetal stages, to birth, unless the child dies or is killed;
- is a distinct and autonomously developing human being, whose right to survival depends upon a protected, hospitable and interpersonal environment that provides lifes, sustenance in the form of nutrition, hydration, and oxygen — the basic rights of every human being at all stages of life.