You Pro-Life Torturer You

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Wesley Smith, in an article in The Weekly Standard, notes that there is a move afoot at the United Nations to hold that banning abortion is torture:



“They” in this instance are the international community in general and the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, the Argentine human rights activist Juan E. Méndez, in particular.

Méndez—whose full title is “special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”—just released a report to the General Assembly on torture “in health care settings.” It is a startling read. He brands with that extreme term not only medical actions and omissions that clearly are not torture as most people understand it, but also national policies disfavored by the international ruling class. Thus, “The Committee against Torture has repeatedly expressed concerns about restrictions on access to abortion and about absolute abortion bans as violating the prohibition on torture and ill treatment.” Unstated (but implied) is that pro-life countries like Ireland are committing crimes against humanity.


This absurdity is especially interesting in that Mendez occasionaly earned his bread and butter earlier in his career working for the Church and Church affiliated institutions:

In 1970, he received his law degree from Stella Maris University in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Early in his career, he became involved in representing political prisoners. As a result, he was arrested by the Argentinean military dictatorship and subjected to torture and administrative detention for 18 months. During this period, Amnesty International adopted him as a “Prisoner of Conscience,” and in 1977, he was expelled from the country and moved to the United States.

Subsequently, Mendez worked for the Catholic Church in Aurora, Illinois, protecting the rights of migrant workers. In 1978 he joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under the Law in Washington, D.C., and in 1982, he launched Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Americas Program. He continued to work at HRW for 15 years, becoming their general counsel in 1994.  He is also a visiting scholar at American University Washington College of Law’s Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

From 1996 to 1999, Mendez served as the Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute of Costa Rica. He then worked as a Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame from October 1999 to 2004.

In 2001, Mendez began working for the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), an international human rights NGO. He served as its president from 2004 to 2009, and currently is its President Emeritus. He is also currently the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Mendez has taught human rights law at Georgetown Law School, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and the University of Oxford Masters Program in International Human Rights Law in the UK.

So Mr. Mendez has made a very good career for himself out of human rights.  He is part of the human rights industry’s international elite, and among that group the only “human right” an unwanted, unborn child has is the right to die.  His affiliation with the Church and Church affiliated institutions over the years apparently has made zero impact on his promotion of the belief that abortion is a human right for those doing the killing and not a deprivation of the primary human right, the right to life, for those being killed.


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  1. This is very sad. I notice that there is no mention of the torture suffered by women who are forced to abort against their will, and no talk of protecting THEIR right to choose in any way. (That’s not even counting the torture experienced by babies in the womb who are developed enough to feel pain when they’re aborted.) No, it’s only abortion that must be protected.
    Sad indeed. Human rights are important, and stopping torture is a noble goal. So sorry to see it hijacked for political purposes. Amnesty International was a good group to support, until the pro-aborts staged a coup within the group, kicked to pro-lifers out and turned it into a pro-abortion group. I heard the original founder of the group was pro-life. But now they’re comprimised. Maybe we’ll just have to pray about human rights, instead of supporting a group.

  2. It logically follows from his argument that religions that prohibit abortion are torturing their followers. No doubt, freedom of religion never anticipated the freedom to torture, and so any religious group that teaches against abortion must be eliminated.

  3. The United Nations should be abolished.

    C’mon. That would be a horrible injury to the better restaurants of New York, Paris, and Geneva.

  4. If a fetus could speak; “Okay..lets see. Human rights? Nah, I wish I would be considered as being an animal. Then I would have a better chance at being born.”

  5. [there is a move afoot at the United Nations to hold that banning abortion is torture]

    And ironically, those who are in the worst possible position to combat this are those who sought years ago during the whole enhanced interrogation debate to even define what they meant by the word “torture.”

  6. And ironically, those who are in the worst possible position to combat this are those who sought years ago during the whole enhanced interrogation debate to even define what they meant by the word “torture.”

    Well, no– those in the worst position to combat this insanity are those who rejected actual harm being required for a thing to be “torture.”

    Defining torture traditionally makes it easier to fight this, while “not nice stuff I want to oppose” and “doesn’t give someone a thing I want to give them” is right in line as a predictable, though especially horrific, abuse.

  7. [Well, no– those in the worst position to combat this insanity are those who rejected actual harm being required for a thing to be “torture.”]

    You saying that torture requires actual harm, right?

  8. I refuse to be dragged into that argument again.

    Do your peacock imitation for cheap grace somewhere else if you can’t manage to engage the posts’ topic.

Comments are closed.