[Paleopsych] Reuters: UN Treaty Writers Weigh Abortion Ban for Disabled
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Sun Feb 6 16:29:27 UTC 2005
UN Treaty Writers Weigh Abortion Ban for Disabled
Fri Feb 4, 6:49 PM ET
By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. diplomats drafting an international
treaty on the rights of the disabled debated a possible ban on the
abortion of fetuses with disabilities in an emotional negotiating
session that ended on Friday.
A working text of the convention would prohibit the termination of a
pregnancy in the case of a fetus with a disability in countries where
abortion was otherwise legal.
"It was a very emotional argument, and if you are a person with
disability and you are thinking that you might have been aborted because
of your disability, it becomes a very personal issue," said New Zealand
Ambassador Don MacKay.
Diplomats ended up deferring action on the ban because it was too hot a
topic, said MacKay, coordinator of the two-week session.
"This will be one of the hardest issues to resolve. but there are a lot
of really hard issues here," he said.
The convention, which drafters hope will come into effect in 2008, also
called on governments to provide financial support to the parents of
children born with disabilities.
It would require nations ratifying it to adopt laws prohibiting
discrimination on the basis of any form of disability, from the blind to
the mentally ill.
The United Nations (news - web sites) has been writing a treaty
establishing the rights of the world's 600 million disabled since 2001.
Ambassador Luis Gallegos of Ecuador, chairman of the drafting panel,
said he hoped it would be completed by the end of 2006 and ratified by
enough governments to take force in 2009 at the latest, alongside
landmark U.N. conventions protecting women's and children's rights.
He had previously estimated the drafting process would be completed by
Gallegos said the concept of disability and how to deal with it was
rapidly evolving. The current challenge was to ensure the rights of the
disabled and integrate them into society.
Not that long ago, people wearing glasses could neither fly a plane nor
drive a car, but now they can, he said.
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