Mrs Rita Joseph is a Canberra-based writer on social issues whose work has been published internationally. She has represented the interests of families at major UN human rights conferences overseas. She delivered the following paper at the National Civic Council’s annual national conference, held in Melbourne on February 1, 2014.
Remember the parable of the seven evil spirits?
“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)
Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish
version of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, November 1948
Well, that’s what happened to the noble United Nations human rights initiative after Nazism was defeated. We swept our house clean and put it in order. And then the old human rights abuses returned with the evil spirits of a new ideology entrenching many more even worse abuses.
Cleaning house, putting it in order
After World War II, in a moment of grace, we did indeed sweep clean our house and establish order. The nations of the world came together and declared that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind”. On December 10, 1948, in Paris, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The declaration’s drafters, representing the chastened nations of the world, saw the light of truth, that human rights are inherent and inalienable, that they are based on a small number of fundamental principles common to all societies, and major philosophies, legal systems and faith systems, principles recognised to be universals — “permanent principles” not subject to change with each new ideology or opinion poll or democratic vote. And so the whole architecture of modern international human rights law was built on a deontological basis (i.e., duty-based), on human rights principles discerned through natural law.
Several of the drafters were familiar with the natural law — they knew their Aquinas — and the Universal Declaration principles are remarkably consistent with the five fundamental self-evident principles of natural law identified by Aquinas as deeply and irrevocably embedded in our human nature:
1) To do good and avoid evil. (The do’s and don’ts, responsibilities and protection of rights are sorted pretty well in the Universal Declaration).
2) To preserve life: suum cuique — protection for what is one’s own. (“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” — Universal Declaration 3).
3) To procreate through sexual reproduction, a good to be supported and favoured, and what threatens it to be avoided. (“The family is the natural … group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State” — Universal Declaration 16-3).
4) To live in community. (“Everyone has duties to the community…” — Universal Declaration 29-1).
5) To exercise our intellects to search for truth, to reject falsehood, to dispel ignorance. (Again, the drafters of the Universal Declaration did pretty well on this one).
All of these are reflected in the Universal Declaration principles and in the rules set out for their universal application — inclusion, inherency, equality, inalienability and indivisibility.
There are rules set down for interpretation, e.g., the “inner consistency” requirement (Universal Declaration Article 30),which says, basically, that we can’t introduce any new rights that will destroy any of the rights recognised here. Thus we can’t, for example, introduce new “abortion rights for women” at the expense of destroying legal protection of the rights of unborn children; and we can’t make up new “same-sex marriage” rights at the expense of destroying legal protection of children’s rights;
Later, all nations agreed to the “ordinary meaning” test: Article 31 (1), General rule of interpretation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969): “A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.” So we can’t tamper with the “ordinary meaning” of “marriage”, “motherhood” and “parents” to introduce new “same-sex marriage” “rights”.
Search for truth
In the search for truth, the drafters started with the promise “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person”. And, in the context of the drafting history, there can be no doubt “person” means every human being, “without distinction of any kind”. These were definitely “human rights” not “person rights”.
They looked at the Nazis’ dehumanisation of Jews and other “undesirable” groups such as gypsies, and the “mentally deficient” and children of “inferior” physical or mental status.
They looked at the Nazi abortion programs to eradicate Jewish children and the children of migrant workers, and any children deemed not “racially perfect”, and saw how the Nazis condemned these children as having “negative value”.
They saw in Nazi Germany and its occupied territories the abysmal failure of law courts to protect the “unwanted”. At the Nuremberg Trials, the utilitarianism of the Nazi’s positivist laws that clothed atrocities in “lawfulness” was rejected and condemned. The drafters of the Universal Declaration rejected the legal positivism that had emerged in the 20th century. They saw clearly that legal positivism had proved hopelessly inadequate to protect vulnerable human beings from shifting laws newly coined to advance popular new ideologies.
They saw the victims of ideologically-driven legal positivism, and they pledged: “Never again!”
Indeed, the drafters of the Universal Declaration recognised that human rights are logically antecedent to the rights enumerated in various systems of positive law and are held independent of the state. Human rights, they agreed, “constitute a law anterior and superior to the positive law of civil society”.
And so the nations of the world solemnly declared their commitment to the unity of the human race — human solidarity — universal membership in the one family, “the brotherhood of man”.
They understood that every human being conceived is already endowed by nature with dignity and worth. They reaffirmed the existence of the family as the “natural … group unit of society entitled to protection by society and the state”.
It was understood implicitly that every child has a right to care by his/her mother and father. To have a mother and a father is a natural right inscribed in the very nature of human beings, in the very nature of human procreation, regeneration. Each state’s obligation to protect marriage is tied to the obligation to ensure and protect “as far as possible, a child’s right to know and be cared for by his parents”. By reason and nature, one’s own mother and father, one’s genealogy, one’s identity and one’s security of existence belong fundamentally to each and every human being. The natural family — father, mother and children — are united and protected in ties of deep belonging, not ownership, in what the American theologian and philosopher, Benedict Ashley OP, called “flesh and blood ties … tangible and irrevocable”.
This was all good. So what happened that these good principles never really became fully operational?
Return of the evil spirits
The sexual revolution happened.
It wasn’t until 1966 that two covenants codifying these principles into binding law were adopted. By then, however, the sexual revolution was being successfully launched on the back of the civil rights movement, which in the United States overshadowed broader human rights. Soon the new radical feminist ideology dominated domestic human rights agendas in much of the Western world. The sexual revolution spawned a new version of human rights built on the shonky foundation of hastily invented “women’s rights” which demanded precedence over all other rights. “Affirmative action” was introduced to address the lack of married women in the paid workforce and the “slavery” of “forced” pregnancy, which included right from the start a woman’s “right to abortion”.
Jacques Maritain (1882-1973),
French philosopher and political thinker,
was one of the principal drafters of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Through the sexual revolution, the smallest children have now become helpless, rightless pawns of adults’ desires, of adult freedoms grotesquely exaggerated. The sexual revolution derogated radically from respect for every child’s dignity and rights established in international covenants. Adult freedoms would admit of no restraint.
And, finally, today this revolution is reaching its zenith (or perhaps its death throes?). Children are artificially begotten, chosen or rejected in accordance with perceived needs of adults — IVF and surrogacy are supported by embryo reduction and abortion programs — embryonic brothers and sisters are condemned as “too many” or of “the wrong kind”. They are imprisoned in cold storage; selected “spares” are “used” regularly for practice material to improve IVF methods or as research material in stem-cell and pharmaceutical experiments. These tiniest of human beings can be used or abused and discarded at will.
Children are being denied the natural law right to know and be cared for by their biological mothers and fathers. There are of course many children who through tragic circumstances do not enjoy this right.
But it is intellectually dishonest to pretend that setting up radical new marriage laws and corollary adoption, IVF and surrogacy laws that deliberately deprive a child of the intimate knowledge and care by his/her own mother or father is anything other than an intolerable form of human rights abuse. Same-sex couples with adoption, IVF and surrogacy “rights”, actually discriminate against children — and rupture our human rights obligations towards them
The natural law right for every child, barring tragedy, to come into the world with an intimately related mother and father is inherent — it is not subject to legal reconfiguration through social science studies on whether or not being deliberately deprived of a father or a mother is “deleterious” to children.
The sexual revolution triumphs
Many people today look back with an indulgent smile at the sexual revolution, which began in the sixties with the heady nonsense of hippies and flower power. Few realise that only now are we confronting the high point of the sexual revolution that has succeeded in enshrining in law and in practice a near absolute sexual freedom for adults and adolescents.
The revolution has been extraordinarily successful — many of our academics, our scientists, our lawyers and judges, our doctors and our legislators have led the revolution or supported it with enthusiasm. Others have been co-opted, sometimes willingly, sometimes intimidated. Only a few of any prominence have refused to be silenced and continue to raise their voices with courage and integrity.
A sexualised culture, the proliferation of pornography, the idea of a right to “recreational” sex without responsibility, the development of artificial alternatives to natural procreation, the absurd lie that marriage has nothing to do with children — these are just some of the consequences of the sexual revolution.
Been there before
At this point in time, this world of unfettered sexual freedom all looks well-entrenched and invincible.
But we need to remember: that was how Hitler’s intended 1,000-year Third Reich looked for a time, and how communism looked for the greater part of last century.
The state of the world as we came out of World War II was no less demoralised than the state of the world right now.
We’ve been there before. We have a road map to lead us out of the mess. It is the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a set of true foundation principles, a brilliant blueprint soundly based on natural law.
It’s still valid, still good. But this time round there are two things we must do differently:
1) We must prepare our defences more thoroughly. This time round we want a well-educated corps of people, young and old, trained to discern good from evil, who can proclaim the natural law and point to the limitations and deficiencies of positivist law with its utilitarian compromises that count the vulnerable as expendable. In schools and universities (especially law schools and faculties of medicine) and in the media, education in discerning truth and confronting evil is critical to success if we are not to be sabotaged by the next virulent new ideology that comes along.
2) We shall need savvy lawyers and politicians who can offer a coherent set of laws and repeals ready to be put into place when the current legal façade crumbles. We shall need good doctors with sound medical principles who can lead patients back from the lie that contraception and abortion are absolutely necessary to women’s reproductive health and from the lie that increased medication, rather than behavioural restraint, is the answer to the currently raging epidemic of sexual excess and sexually-transmitted diseases.
The hard work on initiatives such as these must be escalated now.
How we erred
In our need to refute and discredit the lies and deceptions that have brought us to this present mess, we must look back at how it happened.
While Eleanor Roosevelt and her brilliant team of lawyers on the U.S. delegation were re-establishing on the global stage the concept of legal personality for every human being “without exception”, in an isolationist parallel universe the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. law schools went on with business as usual. Earlier in the century, the U.S. had forsaken the profound depths of “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”.
By the thirties, U.S. courts had moved into the legal shallows of positivism and utilitarianism. In the sixties, U.S. law schools eventually took on board the human rights language, tacked it on to civil rights and women’s rights and Vietnam War issues; but it was a language emptied of some important original content. Human rights language was corrupted and reconstructed superficially to accommodate the new ideology, new libertine lifestyles, and to undermine the morality of the rule of law.
It was unfortunate indeed that feminist ideology swept the world shortly after the international covenants came into force. For Western governments, such as those of the U.S., Britain and Australia, one hand didn’t know what the other hand was doing. While the lawyers on the U.S. delegation to the UN had negotiated language and agreed on the international human rights obligations of their governments, no one, it seems, had briefed the U.S. Supreme Court justices who on privacy grounds withdrew legal protection from unborn children at risk of arbitrary deprivation of life. The U.S. delegation along with all the other delegations had long before agreed that privacy cannot be invoked to conceal a human rights abuse of children, including violations of their rights to prenatal care, survival and development. Major human rights treaties have laid down the principle that “neither privacy nor state sanction can be a defence for human rights violations”.
While the U.S. in the international arena was reaffirming natural law principles and truths “existing prior to and independent of the state”, back home the courts were continuing with arrogant claims that everything was changeable and open to judicial reinterpretation over time.
It wasn’t just in the U.S. but also in Britain, Australia and other countries that this disconnect took place. The British parliament was first to be derailed –influenced quite irrationally by a slick superficial propaganda campaign launched and financed by a U.S. abortion advocacy group. A parliamentary majority introduced the Abortion Act 1967 which targeted disability as a grounds for legal abortion. These parliamentarians were either ignorant of or in contempt of the human rights principles to which British delegations at the UN had solemnly agreed, namely, that every child is entitled to legal protection before as well as after birth and that disability is never grounds for withdrawal of human rights.
Let’s take a look at what the U.S. Supreme Court justices cobbled together in the pathetically flawed Roe v. Wade 1973 decision. The attention of these justices appear to have been engaged elsewhere while the momentous Universal Declaration was being forged and the principles were being codified in the covenants and conventions of modern international human rights law. Indeed, U.S. Supreme Court justices appear never to have even heard of the universally-agreed principle of “legal protection before as well as after birth” for every child, or the principle of unity of the human race, the principles of inherency and inalienability that were supposed to strip domestic judiciaries and legislatures of the authority ever again to withdraw or deny the human rights of any group of vulnerable human beings.
The distortions we have inherited from Roe v. Wade
The world we have inherited from Roe v. Wade is a world in which mothers (and fathers) are held to have no natural obligation to care for the child they have conceived. Abortion rights advocates reject nature and the natural order of things. The mother must be free throughout pregnancy to choose her obligations — her foetus has invaded her bodily integrity and requires her permission to continue occupation until birth. Natural maternal moral obligations are dismissed as tyrannical and the natural maternal duty of care becomes an option, a choice.
Such is the crazy mixed-up metaphysical reconstruction, by feminist ideologues, of pregnancy. They have taken pregnancy and motherhood, which is the most natural thing in the world, and turned it into an invasion of their privacy and personal autonomy to be seen as an unjust burden that only women are forced to carry.
Incredibly and quite irrationally, every pregnant woman has been given a totalitarian authority to decide whether she is carrying a child or whether her pregnancy is childless. After all, “it’s only a foetus”.
Arkansas abortionist, Dr William F. Harrison, gave succinct expression to this flawed but common defence by doctors who perform abortions: “It’s not a baby to me until the mother tells me it’s a baby.”
Thumbs up, the tiny human being lives. Thumbs down, the dehumanised “foetus” is exterminated.
The law lies through its teeth — and ignores the science
Today the rule of law has abandoned the tiny, voiceless victims. Legislatures and judiciaries have turned a blind eye. Routine arbitrary deprivation of small human lives has been decriminalised.
These small human beings have been dehumanised with all the authority of the law and in direct contradiction of the authority of the science. Biology, embryology, foetal surgery, ultrasound technology, and examination of the human remains of an aborted child all tell us that this child, selected to be aborted, is a human being, belonging to homo sapiens. The law lies through its teeth and insists this is not a human being, this is not a human life: “it” is not harmed when “its” life is aborted. The medical profession lies through its teeth when it insists these “foetuses” selected for abortion are not patients. How have doctors come to this bad place?
Rejecting the tyranny of ownership
An extreme feminist ideology in its first giddy flush of mindless popularity established a founding dogma that women must have totalitarian ownership and disposal rights over their “foetuses”, which are to be treated as a woman’s private property.
The natural law truth, however, is that we don’t own our children.
Unlike “ownership”, human belonging is a two-way street. We belong to our children — and they belong to us. We belong together.
We parents own the responsibility to protect the human rights of children. And, just so, will our children own the responsibility when we grow old, and ill and needy, to protect our human rights, our dignity and our worth as human beings. We belong to each other — there is no ownership, only human solidarity, “the brotherhood of man”.
As with an earlier fascism, today’s ideologues will not tolerate any conscientious objection or refusal to cooperate with their ideologically-skewed “health” programs. Even now, they are fashioning legislation to coerce doctors into being complicit in evil.
The medical profession is compromised. Science itself is perverted. And the law enforces the state-financed termination programs as “women’s reproductive health”.
Now whenever I write or speak of human rights principles and apply them to the tiny victims of abortion, so many women are incredulous — they just can’t accept that a small “foetus” has the same rights as a fully-grown woman. This is surely the same incredulity that the slave-owners would have exhibited when first confronted with the truth that their slaves were human beings with the same human rights as the slave-owners themselves.
As with other longer-lasting tyrannies based on dehumanising victims, the dehumanisation becomes so entrenched, so unquestioningly accepted by legislatures, judiciaries, the media and the popular majority, that challenging the status quo is met with derision and immediate automatic rejection. Democratic majority opinion, expertly manipulated by the ideologically-correct spin, is absolutely convinced that their favourite evil practices are intrinsically necessary to continuation and progress of the economic and social well-being and life styles of the people.
As when the first proposals were made to abolish slavery, the greatest outcry came from those who could not even envisage life without slavery. Just so today, so many women (and men with an eye to protecting their established sexual freedoms) cannot even imagine how they could change their lifestyles in such a way that abortion is no longer “necessary”. Young girls can’t even imagine how they could live their sexually active lives without “access to safe abortion”. High school and university students can’t even imagine now how they could complete their education, and women cannot even imagine how they could keep their jobs and progress their careers, without “access to safe abortion”. And we face the same problem in trying to shut down the IVF and surrogacy industries.
Truth is powerful
On the bright side, I have many times stated truths that were unpalatable to hostile audiences. Every time, without exception, some in the audience have come secretly to me afterwards and told me they have changed their minds. Truth is powerful, the truth is recognisable. If we can give words to the truth, and proclaim it from the hilltops, even out of season, people will recognise truth.
Even the most elaborate deceptions are sooner or later found out and thrown out. Recognition of truth is the beginning of reform, of return to authenticity and integrity.
Starting now, we must expose the lies on which rests this whole massive edifice of fake sexual freedom, fake reproductive health, fake human rights, fake family formation.
Legal professionals must expose corrupt laws. Politicians must reopen all the fake legislation that poses as “settled law”. As Aquinas says, “Every human law has just so much of the nature of law, as it is derived from the law of nature. But if at any point it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law”. Or, as Abraham Lincoln once said more simply, “There is no law that can give me the right to do what is wrong.”
Medical professionals must challenge fake research and ideologically-generated claims of what protects reproductive health and what damages it. They must dismantle false assurances that sexual incontinence, promiscuity and prostitution are harmless as long as condoms and contraceptive “protections” are used.
The media must be shamed into abandoning the fake fictional happy-ending stories to fake marriages based on same-sex copulation, where children are acquired, made motherless or fatherless to accommodate adults’ “sexual lifestyle choices”. Recovering journalistic integrity, the media must begin the slow long process of examining the cracks already appearing in a decrepit edifice destined to crumble.
And our academics have a huge challenge — to overcome peer intimidation in order to expose ideological drivel that poses as genuine research and analysis. And, above all, they must teach natural law once again, making it accessible to every student.
Preparing to get it right
I began this paper with a cautionary parable first told over 2,000 years ago in which victory over one evil proved pyrrhic as seven even more wicked spirits reoccupied and recontaminated the cleaned house. And, as this National Civic Council national conference is about strategy, I shall finish with a recent, very memorable, very modern military disaster, where one evil, Saddam Hussein’s regime, was toppled so easily, so suddenly that there was no forward planning; no plan ready to secure and retain what was good, or at least tolerable, in the political and moral infrastructure; and no plan ready to quickly install good policies in the vacuum.
Today, I believe we face the same state of unreadiness in the coming confrontation with a globalised evil. The seeds of self-destruction are already working within this monstrosity that the sexual revolution brought forth under the hand of extreme feminism. Its defeat and disintegration are inevitable.
Perhaps with good strategy we can hasten its demise a little. Perhaps we can prepare good people to identify evil and recognise the truth. Perhaps we can do this by stimulating research publications and media presentations of the true consequences of the aberrant ideology that has captured and corrupted our institutions and has reached right into our families. All people of good will — parents, teachers, professionals of all kinds, social mentors, young people, retired people, religious leaders and congregations — may be encouraged to engage in this search for truth. All human beings are made for this — it is integral to our dignity and worth — to search for truth, to identify evil and to reject it. Together we may expose the true extent of the social damage wrought by more than 50 years of corruption. Sooner or later, nevertheless, the cover-up of these harmful consequences will prove unsustainable; and yet another bizarre and foolish social experiment, yet another ageing ideology will bite the dust of history.
At that point, our biggest challenge will be replacement — that is, sorting what to keep and what must go, what must be rapidly restored, and what may be reformed more gradually over time. Most importantly, we must make ready beforehand a platform of principles and policies, readily understood, easy to communicate, good to go from the get-go.
I know that a priority in any such plan must be the well-being of our children whose rights to protection in an adult’s world must be fully restored. We must restore the most fundamental connection of all — children have a natural right to be conceived through a man and a woman, who from the moment of conception take on the natural responsibilities of a mother and a father, of a blood relationship.
Once again the human procreative act, sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, must be recognised as an act of dignity and worth.
You see, if there is contempt for the spiritual element in the human intimacies that generate life, then there is contempt for life itself. If it is not the case that all human life is sacred, then no human life is sacred. If there is not an inviolable right to life for everyone, then there is an inviolable right to life for no one.
And certainly we do not want to see a resurgence of that devil again.
Mrs Rita Joseph is a Canberra-based writer on social issues whose work has been published internationally. She has represented the interests of families at major UN human rights conferences overseas. She delivered the above paper at the National Civic Council’s annual national conference, held in Melbourne on February 1, 2014. An abridged version appeared in the printed edition of this issue of News Weekly.
Purchase this book at the bookshop:
 Inclusion affirms the unity of the human race, “all members of the human family” — the unborn child, the disabled, the old, the frail, the dying, the needy. Inherency recognises that human rights automatically belong to us because we are human beings — they are not add-ons for governments or judiciaries to mess with. Equality — every human being has equal value and worth — rights are not be weighted according to size or age or ability or “wantedness”. Inalienability — neither governments nor courts can withdraw these rights, nor bestow new rights that contradict any of our basic human rights. So this principle rules out abortion “rights”, euthanasia “rights” and same-sex marriage “rights”. And the principle of indivisibility tells us we can’t uphold the rights of one group of human beings at the expense of abusing the rights of another more vulnerable group.
 Universal Declaration Article 30: “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”
 Second preambular paragraph of the UN Charter of Human Rights.
 From the first drafting session of Universal Declaration, the drafters expressed concern for “unborn children”,UN Doc.E.CN.4/21. First Draft of the International Covenant (1947) — “any person from the moment of conception”. This was reaffirmed in 1969 in the American Convention on Human Rights Article 1(2): “ … ‘person’ means every human being”.
 Recognition “of the inherent dignity and of equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” appears in the Preambleof all three instruments of the International Bill of Rights and was characterised by the Commission of Human Rights as “a statement of general principle which was independent of the existence of the United Nations and had an intrinsic value of its own.” General Assembly Official Records, United Nations, A/2929 Chapter III para. 4.
 Universal Declaration 16-3; also ICCPR 23-1 & (ICESCR) 10-1.
 Benedict M. Ashley, “Anthropological and ethical aspects of embryo manipulation”, from the minutes of the Second International Congress of Moral Theology.
 HRC General Comment No 31 (2004), para.8: “It is also implicit in article 7 (ICCPR) that States Parties have to take positive measures to ensure that private persons or entities do not inflict … cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment … on others within their power.” International human rights law has consistently rejected the right to privacy as a defence against human rights violations perpetrated by adults in positions of power over children in positions of dependency.
 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969), Article 5(b). Also UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993), Article 1 & Article 2(c).
 A very frank, gloating description (given in 1991) of the unscrupulous antics engaged in by a small but unconscionably powerful, U.S.-funded, contemporary lobby group, the Abortion Law Reform Association, during the lead-up to introduction and passing of the Abortion Act 1967. The reprehensible manner in which this group was able to manipulate the Parliament on such matters as Ground E for aborting children with disabilities “lawfully” is recorded in the Institute of Contemporary British History Witness Seminar Programme, July 10, 2001, School of Advanced Study, University of London. It is still available to be read online at
Here it is made clear also that Ground E of the Abortion Act 1967 was formulated and passed into law without any consultation with people with disabilities.
 “… [T]he child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth … the need for such special safeguards has been … recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child (1959) The U.S. also agreed to UN Resolution 1386 (XIV) Publicity to be given to Declaration of the Rights of the Child (November 20, 1959) calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals … and national governments to recognise the rights set forth therein and strive for their observance, governments of member-states to publicise as widely as possible the text of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
 Right from the beginning of the drafting history of the Genocide Convention, the U.S. and all the other countries agreed that: “domestic law could never be invoked as a defence for non-fulfilment of an obligation under an international convention. Therefore, if under a convention a State undertook certain international obligations, the domestic law would not be a defence for failure to fulfil such obligations.” (E/AC.25/SR.18).
 Justice Blackmun, the U.S. Supreme Court judge who wrote the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade (1973), expanded these views some years later in his concurrence in the 1992 abortion case Planned Parenthood v. Casey 505 U.S. 833, 922-43 (1992).
He said: “A State’s restrictions on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy also implicate constitutional guarantees of gender equality. State restrictions on abortion compel women to continue pregnancies they otherwise might terminate. By restricting the right to terminate pregnancies, the State conscripts women’s bodies into its service, forcing women to continue their pregnancies, suffer the pains of childbirth, and in most instances, provide years of maternal care. The State does not compensate women for their services; instead, it assumes that they owe this duty as a matter of course. This assumption — that women can simply be forced to accept the ‘natural’ status and incidents of motherhood — appears to rest upon a conception of women’s role that has triggered the protection of the Equal Protection Clause.”
 Harrison drew his own moral line at the end of the second trimester, or 26 weeks. Until that point, he would abort for any reason. He is quoted in Stephanie Simon, “Offering abortion, rebirth”, Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2005.