Yesterday, in a move heralded by pro-life advocates, the European Union declined to adopt a measure that would have declared abortion to be a human right. If adopted, the proposal would have approved a violation of the right to life, marring the very concept of human rights. Moreover, abortion advocates sought to use this opportunity to step on the rights of pro-life medical professionals, compelling them to commit or refer for abortions.
This is great news, not only for unborn children in EU nations, but for unborn children everywhere. Human rights expert Bill Saunders, speaking at last weekend's Vita et Veritas conference at Yale University, emphasized that abortion advocates have been trying for decades to manufacture an "international custom" against the prenatal right to life. He predicted that when Roe v. Wade is overturned in the United States, pro-abortion legal groups will immediately file lawsuits arguing that abortion is a "right" under creative interpretations of international treaties, even if it is not a right under the United States Constitution. The EU's decision makes this argument less persuasive. So does the adoption of pro-life human rights documents in many Latin American countries, as Saunders pointed out.
Europe still has a long way to go, no question. But, despite the stereotyped liberal reputations of many European countries, most are far ahead of the USA when it comes to life issues. Few allow abortion after the first trimester, and European rates of abortion, unplanned pregnancy, and maternal mortality are relatively low. Europe's rejection of a so-called "right" to kill babies is another feather in its cap. (It is also an illustration that abortion need not be a religious issue; most European countries are considerably more secular than the United States.)