US abortion policy is ‘extremist hate’ and ‘torture’, says UN commissioner

Trump administration’s ban on terminations is a crisis directed at women, warns Kate Gilmore

By Julia Conley | 4 June 2019
Common Dreams

United Nations deputy high commissioner for human rights, Kate Gilmore. (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images)

A top United Nations official on human rights said Tuesday that the recent escalation in attacks on reproductive rights in the U.S. must be categorized in the same way as other many attacks on basic rights—as part of an “extremist hate” campaign.

“We have not called it out in the same way we have other forms of extremist hate, but this is gender-based violence against women, no question,” Kate Gilmore, deputy high commissioner for human rights, told The Guardian.

Denying women the right to abortion care is tantamount to “torture,” Gilmore added.

“It’s a deprivation of a right to health,” she said, noting that a panel of nine U.N. human rights experts determined recently that prohibiting abortion amounts to a violation of fundamental rights.

The human rights deputy commissioner is speaking out amid the passage of increasingly extreme anti-abortion restrictions in the U.S. In recent weeks, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and several other states have passed laws banning the procedure after fetal cardiac activity can be detected—in many cases, before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. Louisiana and Alabama legislators refused to include exceptions for victims of rape or incest in their recent bans.

“It’s clear it’s torture,” Gilmore told The Guardian. “This is a crisis. It’s a crisis directed at women.”

Gilmore’s comments came days after she spoke at an event hosted by The Guardian and the Center for Reproductive Rights, where her demand that “We need to stop tolerating the intolerable” was praised by global reproductive rights advocates.

Gilmore pointed to a well-organized and well-funded coalition of anti-choice groups which have recently managed to frame the national debate about reproductive rights around the notion that viable, healthy fetuses are aborted in the third trimester, decrying so-called “late-term abortion”—a term that is not recognized in medical field—as “infanticide.”

In reality, just over one percent of abortions take place after 21 weeks of gestation, and women often obtain abortions at this stage due to fetal abnormalities that weren’t detected earlier or because continuing the pregnancy would pose health risks.

“This is a lie that encourages conservatives to regard pregnant women and medical caregivers as potential ruthless killers who should be hemmed in with yet more laws targeting them,” Rebecca Solnit wrote in The Guardian on Monday. “While a lot of older abortion lies were distortions and exaggerations, this one is a complete and dangerous fabrication.”

Such lies, Gilmore said, have created an urgent need for policymakers and pro-choice advocates to ensure safe abortion care is accessible to women.

“We have to stand with the evidence and facts and in solidarity with women, and in particular young women and minority women who are really under the gun,” Gilmore said.

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1 COMMENT

  1. god on abortion

    A pregnant woman who is injured and aborts the fetus warrants financial compensation only (to her husband), suggesting that the fetus is property, not a person (Exodus 21:22-25).

    The gruesome priestly purity test to which a wife accused of adultery must submit will cause her to abort the fetus if she is guilty, indicating that the fetus does not possess a right to life (Numbers 5:11-31).

    God enumerated his punishments for disobedience, including "cursed shall be the fruit of your womb" and "you will eat the fruit of your womb," directly contradicting sanctity-of-life claims (Deuteronomy 28:18,53).

    Elisha's prophecy for soon-to-be King Hazael said he would attack the Israelites, burn their cities, crush the heads of their babies and rip open their pregnant women (2 Kings 8:12).

    King Menahem of Israel destroyed Tiphsah (also called Tappuah) and the surrounding towns, killing all residents and ripping open pregnant women with the sword (2 Kings 15:16).

    Isaiah prophesied doom for Babylon, including the murder of unborn children: "They will have no pity on the fruit of the womb" (Isaiah 13:18).

    For worshiping idols, God declared that not one of his people would live, not a man, woman or child (not even babies in arms), again confuting assertions about the sanctity of life (Jeremiah 44:7-8).

    God will punish the Israelites by destroying their unborn children, who will die at birth, or perish in the womb, or never even be conceived (Hosea 9:10-16).

    For rebelling against God, Samaria's people will be killed, their babies will be dashed to death against the ground, and their pregnant women will be ripped open with a sword (Hosea 13:16).

    Jesus did not express any special concern for unborn children during the anticipated end times: "Woe to pregnant women and those who are nursing" (Matthew 24:19).

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