We support the right to life of the unborn and the sovereign right of States to safeguard this right. Because every human life warrants protection, we oppose any language that is interpreted as meaning abortion, including "sexual and reproductive rights" and "reproductive health services."


"Sexual and reproductive rights" and "reproductive health services" are NOT recognized in international law

Pro-abortion actors define these terms as including abortion

One regional treaty – the Maputo Protocol1 – includes abortion in the definition of "reproductive rights"

International law includes numerous references to the importance of protecting the unborn


Chapter VII of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) defines "reproductive rights"

Chapter XIII of the ICPD lists the components of "reproductive health services"

The ICPD makes clear that abortion is not to be promoted as a method of family planning

Most importantly, the ICPD states that it is the sovereign right of a State to determine its own laws on abortion and all references to abortion in the document are subject to this right

The ICPD reaffirms the importance of state sovereignty in its Principles


  1. Call for the deletion of "sexual and reproductive rights" and "reproductive health services" from all UN texts
    • Example from the Rio+20 draft outcome document "The Future We Want" (A/RES/66/288)

    "We are committed to promote the equal access of women and girls to education, basic services, economic opportunities and health care services, including addressing women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, and ensuring universal access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of family planning." – Paragraph 241

  2. Call for the insertion of the Sovereignty Clause in all potentially controversial UN texts.2
    • Example from the 46th Session of the Commission on Population and Development "New trends in migration: demographic aspects" (E/2013/25 E/CN.9/2013/7)

    "Further reaffirms the sovereign right of each country to implement the recommendations of the Programme of Action or other proposals in the present resolution, consistent with national laws and development priorities, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people, and in conformity with universally recognized international human rights" – Paragraph 3

  3. Recall the importance of ICPD Paragraph 8.25 — it is the right of states, not the UN, to determine laws on abortion!
1This text was adopted by the African Union in the form of a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Of the 46 signatories, only 30 States ratified the protocol. Botswana, Egypt, Eritrea, and Tunisia did not sign. Five countries expressed reservations with regard to Article 14 on "Health and Reproductive Rights."
2The Sovereignty Clause was included in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Commission on Population and Development outcome documents.