While defenders of unborn life waged a successful battle in the United States House last weekend, winning a provision to exclude abortion coverage from health reform legislation, an international gathering in Spain was defining abortion as “mega-genocide” and pledging to fight harder to protect human life.

The Declaration of Saragossa, signed by 31 countries represented at the Fourth Prolife World Congress, noted that the six million “legal” deaths of the Nazi genocide are outnumbered by the total of more than 800 million “legal” abortion deaths up until now in countries where abortion has been legalised. The document says that this also constitutes “a crime against humanity” that, because of the numbers involved and their global spread, should now be known as mega-genocide.

It called on authorities at all levels of society from the family to government to promote a number of positive measures to take care of human life and the family, and demanded that respect for life be enforced through the legal system.

At the same time participants committed themselves to a number of positive actions including creating centres to support women and family formation, education in natural fertility awareness, and sexuality education based on virtues and love. They would promote through the UN the abolition of capital punishment for abortion where it still exists and also an international convention to protect all human life. They would call for the sacking of civil servants supporting abortion and ask compensation for women victims of abortion.

It is no coincidence that this congress was held in Spain, where a huge demonstration took place last month against government proposals to further liberalise abortion, making it available to all women up until the 14th week of pregnancy, and to girls of 16 and 17 without parental knowledge.

There were 112,000 abortions in Spain in 2007 — representing a kind of national death-wish in a country whose total fertility rate, at 1.31 children per woman, is one of the lowest in the world and is dependent on immigration for its diminishing population growth.

However, the government appears determined to push ahead with legislation that is says is about respect for women and their rights. A familiar argument that is rejected by large sections of many western populations according to polls — notably in the US.

* The illustration above was a winning entry in the 6-9 year-old category of a contest run before the congress.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet