POLITICS

U.S. Abortion Laws Are 'Torture,' Says U.N. Commissioner For Human Rights

“It’s an assault on truth, science and universal values,” U.N. commissioner Kate Gilmore said.

The United Nations deputy high commissioner for human rights said the abortion restrictions that were recently passed in several states in the U.S. are a “crisis” akin to “torture.”

“It’s clear it’s torture ― it’s a deprivation of a right to health,” commissioner Kate Gilmore told The Guardian on Wednesday. “We have not called it out in the same way we have other forms of extremist hate, but this is gender-based violence against women, no question.” 

Gilmore was referring to the recent abortion restrictions passed in states like Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and Ohio, where abortion is banned as early as the first trimester. In Alabama, abortion is banned in nearly all cases, including rape and incest. 

“It’s an assault on truth, science and universal values and norms,” Gilmore said. “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” 

Many of the extreme abortion restrictions are backed by the U.S. conservative Christian base, and much of the language in the legislation is not actually rooted in science. For example, Republicans at both the state and federal levels have pushed to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The measure threatens prison time for medical professionals who do not provide necessary medical care to an infant born alive during an abortion. However, it’s medically nearly impossible for infants to be born alive during abortions later in a pregnancy, and infanticide and murder are already illegal in the U.S.

Additionally, both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have pushed dangerous anti-abortion rhetoric over the last several months. Most recently, Trump said women who want abortions discuss with their doctors whether to “execute” the babies after they’re born.

“We have to stand with the evidence and facts and in solidarity with women, and in particular young women and minority women who are really under the gun,” Gilmore said. “This doesn’t affect well-off women in the same way as women with no resources, or able-bodied women the way it affects disabled women, and urban women the way it affects rural women.” 

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