A United Nations document released in mid-January reveals the international body’s plans to prohibit “forced pregnancy,” which many interpret as an attempt to expand abortion services.

The document, entitled Implementation of the Human Rights of Women and the Girl Child, says “all violations of the human rights of women in the situations of armed conflict, including in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy, are flagrant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

It also urges all governments “to ensure that protection against gender-based crimes is adequately reflected in all aspects of the Statute and Rules that are currently being negotiated for an International Criminal Court, and in particular that the crimes of rape, widespread or systematic rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and other gender-based crimes are addressed throughout the principles, definitions, and rules of evidence and procedure for an International Criminal Court.”

Any law criminalizing pregnancy, whether by rape or otherwise, can only lead to a push for universal abortion access.

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Frank Dobson, Britain’s secretary of health, wants to liberalize abortion laws to make it easier for women to terminate pregnancies early.

He is keen to find a Labour MP to sponsor a backbench bill or amendment ending the requirement that two doctors certify that having a baby would damage a woman’s health. Dobson said the existing law, introduced 30 years ago, could discourage women from seeking treatment in the first weeks of pregnancy because it was too restrictive.

“You could do things that make it easier to get an abortion early so that there would be fewer late-term abortions. The biggest advantage would be for young girls who don’t know what they’re doing,” he said.

Dobson’s comments infuriated pro-life campaigners.

Ann Widdecombe, the former Home Office minister, vowed to do everything she could to thwart any liberalization of the existing legislation. “He is saying the unborn child is intrinsically worthless,” she said.