ABORTION CASE AT THE US SUPREME COURT
There is a major abortion case currently pending before the Supreme Court of the United States and the ECLJ is taking part in its development. Today, December 1, the Court will hear for 70 minutes the oral arguments of the parties in the case: Thomas E. Dobbs, et al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Before that, on July 29, the ECLJ intervened as amicus curiae – i.e., as third party.
This case opposes the Mississippi Department of Health to an abortion clinic (JWHO) challenging the constitutionality of a March 2018 law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in the state.
Why is it so important?
The Dobbs case may be the first shift in the US abortion jurisprudence. It will provide an opportunity for the Supreme Court to make a reversal, or at least a softening, of its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Since then, banning on abortion before 24 weeks of pregnancy is considered unconstitutional, although states retain a (limited) margin of appreciation. There is hope for change for the unborn and their advocates.
This case is so important that even UN experts submitted an Amicus Brief, which is rare. These experts – also called U. N. Special Rapporteurs and mandate-holders – are using their authority to try and convince the Supreme Court of the existence of a “right to abortion” based on human rights. Their Amicus Brief may look impressive, but only for those who are not aware of international law and of the fact that some U. N. experts are in fact radical activists, opaquely paid by leftist foundations, as we will see.
For the sake of justice, it is necessary to “unmask” the main authors of this brief – hiding behind the prestige of their mandates – and to expose the weakness of their argument.
Who are these “U.N. experts”?
The signatories of the brief are eight out of the 90 current mandate-holders of the “Special Procedures” established by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Their function is to examine, monitor, advise, and report on the respect of human rights. Each of them is supposed to be the worldwide expert on a specific issue. To establish their credibility, the experts present in the introduction of their brief the criteria for the selection of experts, and their duties in the accomplishment of their function, as set forth by the U.N.:
As mandate-holders, amici are independent human rights experts selected for their “(a) expertise; (b) experience in the field of the mandate; (c) independence; (d) impartiality; (e) personal integrity; and (f) objectivity.” Special Rapporteurs “undertake to uphold independence, efficiency, competence and integrity through probity, impartiality, honesty and good faith” and “do not receive financial remuneration.”
Such high standards look convincing; but it is worth confronting it to the reality of the two main signatories of the brief: Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng and Mrs. Melissa Upreti.
The lead amici is Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to health since 2020. As a medical doctor, she has herself killed babies through abortions for years, which she presents as “a radical act of self-love.” Mofokeng sits on the board of at least eight organizations promoting abortion in Africa; she has been funded by radical Left billionaire George Soros’ Open Society, awarded by the Gates Foundation, and congratulated by the International Planned Parenthood Federation. She is, or has been in recent years, among others, Co-Director of Global Doctors for Choice in South Africa, member of the Board of Directors of the Safe Abortion Action Fund, founder and director of Nalane for Reproductive Justice, Vice Chair of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition of South Africa (SRJCZA), etc. In 2016, she was awarded as a “Young Family Planning Champion.”
After her appointment as Special Rapporteur, Dr. Mofokeng said she wanted to fight against “legal and political restrictions” on abortion, saying they undermine the right to health, human dignity, and that they are “discriminatory” because they would “disproportionately affect the persons who can become pregnant.” Simply said, she is an abortion practitioner and a professional activist, not an “impartial” and “objective” expert in this matter.
The second most important signatory of the brief is another radical pro-abortion activist: Melissa Upreti. She is currently the Chair of the U.N. Working Group on discrimination against women and girls. She previously worked for the Center for Reproductive Rights in NYC, the world’s leading pro-abortion legal advocacy group. In 2017, she was appointed to the U.N. Working Group and, almost simultaneously, was recruited by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), an organization actively promoting abortion. As Senior Director in charge of Global Advocacy, Upreti’s position at the CWGL aims at influencing the U.N., including her Working Group, and she’s proven very effective in this regard. The CWGL became a “hub” of pro-abortion lobbying and influence within the U.N., especially with the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls and other mandate-holders. For example, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations paid $100,000 to the CWGL in 2017 with the explicit purpose of “influencing” a U.N. Special Rapporteur. Therefore, Mrs. Upreti is primarily an abortion lobbyist paid by an organization influencing U.N. Special Rapporteurs, and she dares to pretend before the U.S. Supreme Court that she is independent and impartial on this very matter of abortion.
Unsurprisingly, the latest official report of her U.N. Working Group is steeped in radical activism. It equates “unplanned pregnancies” with actual violence against women and goes as far as to compare doctors’ conscientious objections to abortion with an act of “gender-based violence” and “torture” inflicted on women. The report also pretends that limiting abortion would be a gender-based discrimination as only women can be pregnant. Four other members of this working group are also signatories of the brief: Mrs. Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, Mrs. Elizabeth Broderick, Mrs. Ivana Radačić, and Mrs. Meskerem Geset Techane.
This unmasking information was all published in the recent ECLJ report on “The Financing of UN Experts.” This report was never proven wrong. It exposed how some U.N. experts – especially pro-abortion experts – are opaquely funded during their mandate, sometimes even recruited, and influenced by private foundations such as the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation. Between 2015 and 2019, some experts reported having received $11 million outside of any U.N. control. A few other experts, such as Melissa Upreti, even failed to declare the financial and material support they received. Mrs. Upreti is employed by the CWGL, which is funded by the Ford Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Open Society Institute Women’s Program and the Fund for a Just Society, just to name a few. She should have declared it as an in-kind support.
Dr. Mofokeng, as a new mandate-holder, disclosed in 2020 her sources of financing (“no external support received”), but her declaration was made upon her taking the mandate and does not include any support she could have received since. According to the “Code of Conduct for Special Procedures,” mandate-holders shall “not accept any honour, decoration, favour, gift or remuneration from any Government or non-governmental source for activities carried out in pursuit of his/her mandate.” Another signatory of the brief, E. Tendayi Achiume, received $250,000 in 2019 from the Ford Foundation for activities carried out in pursuit of his mandate.
The content of the U.N. experts’ amicus brief
The “U.N. experts’” brief tries to demonstrate that every State has an international obligation to legalize abortion broadly, based on human rights, but it refers only to non-binding documents. It even refers mainly to the own reports of Mrs. Mofokeng and Mrs. Upreti’s Working Group, as well as to a few other U.N. experts involved in this issue of “dark financing.”
The brief fails to find any reference to a binding document – such as a U.N. treaty – containing a “right to abortion.” This is not surprising as there is no such right in international law, but a right to life, despite all the efforts of some activists, such as Mrs. Upreti, to create such a fake right.
The ECLJ’s Amicus Brief demonstrates the absence of any “right to abortion” even within the caselaw of the European Court of Human Rights. Our brief highlighted what may surprise many: European law is far more protective of life and restrictive of abortion than Roe and what its subsequent Supreme Court precedents have allowed.
In order to support the claim of an international duty on the U.S. to legalize abortion, the “U.N. experts’” brief relies on incomplete and out-of-context quotes, ambiguous notions, and cites documents mentioning sexual and reproductive needs and rights as if they necessarily referred to abortion, which they do not. These “U.N. activists” hope that the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will “buy” that their non-binding references trump the U.S. Constitution.Here are the main documents mentioned in the brief, in addition to the reports of Mrs. Mofokeng and Upreti’s Working Group.
The brief mentions report A/HRC/31/57 of Mr. Juan Mendez, former Special Rapporteur on torture, that pretends that limitations to abortion is a kind of torture on the mother. As it has been established by the ECLJ, this report was partly funded and promoted by the Ford and the Open Society foundations, which supported the mandate-holder with $90,000 and $200,000 respectively. Juan Mendez has worked for Human Rights Watch and the Ford Foundation (Scholar in Residence), among others. One of the signatories of the brief is the successor of Juan Mendez.
The brief also cites report A/HRC/32/32 of Mr. Dainius Pūras, former Special Rapporteur on the right to health, who received $624,417 from the Open Society during his mandate. Contrary to what the brief tends to purport, this report doesn’t affirm a duty to legalize abortion, but “encourages” States to depanelize it, as well as drugs.
The brief also refers to report A/HRC/38/33/Add.1 of Mr. Philip Alston, former Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. Mr. Alston received $600,000 from the Open Society between 2018 and 2019 for his mandate, but only disclosed $5,000 to the U.N. in 2018. He pretends that limiting abortion would be a kind of racism, as women belonging to minorities resort more to abortion than others.
The brief also cites a report by Nils Muižnieks, former Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, entitled Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe (2017). This document is presented as “official,” whereas it was prepared by the Europe Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights (as acknowledged page 4). The Center for Reproductive Rights, already mentioned above, is the lead pro-abortion advocacy group that Mrs. Upreti previously worked for. It is financed, inter alia, by the Open Society, MacArthur, and Ford Foundations. Nils Muižnieks, himself, was also director of programs of the Open Society of Latvia until 2012. In 2009, he explained that the Open Society wishes to create a new man – homo sorosensus [in reference to Soros] – a man of opened society.
Such pressure by U.N. bodies to try and impose the worldwide legalization of abortion has been recently addressed by a large group of States, who felt it necessary to recall, in the “Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family,” that there is no international duty to do so; in fact, there is an opposite duty to protect families and babies.
More generally, this experts’ brief to the Supreme Court is further evidence of the need to reform the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures system in order to avoid appointing activists disguised as independent experts, opaquely paid by some groups, and who abuse their mandates, especially to promote a right to kill.