is the subject of my Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld:
The news currently being gloated over by the
pro-RH Bill advocates (including their too fawning pro-RH media) is the
United Nations Population Fund’s declaration in its annual report "The
State of the World Population" that: "Family planning is a human right."
Unfortunately, aside from playing up the non-news, pro-RH advocates and
their media cohorts also distort it.
Notably, the UNFPA’s annual report actually used the term
"family planning" as a human right. Not "birth control." Not
"contraception." Those are three different things. But pro-RH advocates
and media immediately headlined their articles to give the impression
that the UNFPA is stating that "birth control" or "contraception" are
the human rights. This is outright misleading.
Nevertheless, assuming the UNFPA actually did mean "birth control" or
"contraception," such pronouncement is not legally binding and should
never be interpreted by the Philippines (or by any individual official
or citizen) as a mandatory requirement for the country to provide
contraception to anyone.
It must be emphasized that the UNFPA, a subsidiary organ of the United
Nations (and, hence, obviously NOT the United Nations) is not authorized
to make international law. Any declaration that it makes is merely for
its own internal purposes, with regard to the objectives handed down by
International law is made by the States themselves (and, to a certain
extent, other "subjects" of international law) through the execution of
treaties or by the making of a custom (which requires State practice and
Presently, no international custom exists making "contraception" a human
right. And as Meghan Grizzle (in her "White Paper on Family Planning,"
March 2012; see http://www.wya.net/advocacy/research/WYA%20Reproductive%20Health%20White%20Paper.pdf)
shows: "No international human right to any particular form of family
planning supply or method is enumerated in international human rights
treaties. The only international human rights treaties that explicitly
mention family planning are the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the
Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Convention on Persons with
Disabilities (CRPD). Despite claims from UNFPA and the World Center for
Reproductive Rights that there is a right to contraceptive information
and services, no international human rights treaty even mentions
Activists love resorting to arguing that international human rights law is sui generis.
Which is nonsensical. It is sui generis because international human
rights law focuses on individuals rather than States (as other
international law fields tend to do). But it does not excuse
international human rights law from overriding the nature of
international law itself, sovereignty, democratic processes, or genuine
human rights such as "religious liberties." Even international human
rights law does not permit un-elected bureaucrats, such as those in the
UNFPA (or the WHO), to make international law.
And thus, as Ms. Grizzle rightly emphasizes: "International law clearly
does not create a right to contraception; States are thus not required
to provide contraception."
Furthermore, while "family planning" has indeed been mentioned in some
international instruments, we refer again to Ms. Grizzle: "Family
planning is not synonymous with contraception, and calls for family
planning methods and services should not be construed as calls for
True. "Family planning" could mean a lot of things. It is not limited to
contraception. Family planning could include abstinence. It could
include "natural family planning" or NFP (which is espoused by the
Catholic Church). To this must be considered the fact that, as I pointed
out in two previous articles ("Contracepting Common Sense," Aug. 23,
2012; "Contraceptive Faith," Nov. 16, 2012), countless medical studies
and lawsuits show us that contraceptives are dangerous not only to women
but also for their children. Yet, on top of that danger, oral
contraceptives also come with a 7% failure rate, a 15% failure rate for
condoms, compared to the almost 0% failure rate for NFP.
The absurdity of UNFPA’s position is best summed up by Marcus Roberts of
Mercatornet: "How do we reduce infant mortality throughout the
developing world? The normal person’s answer: improve health services,
water and food supplies. The UN Population Fund’s answer: increase
contraception so that the infants are not born. No births, no infant
mortality. What a perfect solution."
What makes UNFPA’s stand worse, however, according to Dr. Janice Shaw
Crouse of the Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, is
that it seeks to encourage States to force "believers around the world
to give up their deeply held, long-established religious convictions."
And, contrary to the impression spread by the media, many women believe
-- correctly -- that, rather than contraceptives, their religious faith
is an actual "human right" that must be protected.
Indeed. To believe that a human right could be created distanced from
natural law is ridiculous and dangerous. Natural law leads us to know
our human nature and our rights are precisely based on protecting that
nature. Creating a so-called "right" that turns its back on natural law
will ultimately lead to the debasement of the human being.