UN committee vice-chair accused of anti-Church bias

May 21, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

UN, May 20, 2014: A U.N. committee member who insinuated that the Catholic position against abortion violates an anti-torture agreement signed by the Holy See should recuse herself or step down on account of bias, several critics have said.

U.N. committeeAshley McGuire, a senior fellow with the U.S.-based Catholic Association, said American Felice Gaer should recuse herself from writing the U.N. Committee on the Convention Against Torture’s report on the Holy See because she is “clearly beholden to the interests of the abortion lobby” and has shown “she does not think the Church has a right to its religious teachings.”

“Our own country’s representative to this committee actually argued on more than one occasion that opposition to abortion amounts to psychological torture for women,” McGuire told CNA May 16.

“Not only was this a scandalous violation of religious liberty, an important value outlined in multiple U.N. documents, but it’s plain false. As the Holy See pointed out, the torture in the case of abortion is against the unborn and defenseless child.”

The U.N. committee conducted a hearing with a Holy See delegation in Geneva May 5-6 regarding the Holy See’s adherence to the anti-torture convention.

Gaer, who formerly chaired the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, is now the vice-chair of the anti-torture committee.

She used the May meeting as an occasion to press the Holy See delegation about Catholic opposition to abortion. She said that the U.N. committee has found that laws prohibiting abortion in all circumstances violate the convention.

Arguing that women “should have the right to choose abortion,” she asked the delegation to respond to criticisms that its position against abortion requires pregnant 9-year-olds to give birth.

McGuire said that some committee members, including the committee chair, have shown a “strong ideological preference for abortion” and are being lobbied by “anti-Church and pro-abortion groups” like the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.

“This is nothing but a frontal attack on the Church’s moral views and a hijacking of a committee with a clearly-defined purpose,” McGuire said.

– catholic news agency

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