A team of pro-life leaders from Human Life International (HLI) presented a strong defense of life, family, and religious liberty during the legislative sessions of the Sixth Summit of the Americas, an event coordinated by the Organization of American States (OAS). The sessions, which are open to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to comment on the proceedings, lead up to the general session, which is attended by world leaders, including United States President Barack Obama.
“A bold statement in defense of life and religious freedom is highly unusual at these meetings, and we are pleased that our team was able to get the concerns of millions of our brothers and sisters in Latin America on the official record,” said HLI President Father Shenan J. Boquet. “This is a pro-life continent, and we are pleased that our concerns were received by the leadership of the OAS. It is our hope that the OAS will avoid the anti-democratic overreach that is now commonplace in the European Union, and will respect the rights and sovereignty of member states.”
The OAS is comprised of the member states of North and South America and the Caribbean. The theme of this year’s summit, which was held April 9 – 15, was “Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity.”
The HLI team was composed of HLI Colombia (Culture of Human Life Foundation) Director Dr. Gladys de Amaya and HLI Puerto Rico (Guadalupe Center for Life and Family) legal advisor Marlene Gillette-Ibern, Esq. This is the first time that HLI has sent a team to be present at a Summit of the Americas.
At the parliamentary session on Wednesday, April 11, the HLI team was able to respond on behalf of those who are concerned by what was called a “great Social Equity Plan” in the Parliamentary Declaration under consideration. Noting that the phrase “great Social Equity Plan” was not defined in the document, the team argued that the phrase could be used as en entrée for radical gender equity ideology, which does not reflect the will of the majority of Latin American nations. This ideology underlies the push for unrestricted abortion, for a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions, and other policy changes that Latin American states will not choose democratically. At the closing of the NGO session on April 12, the HLI team stated that human rights must include the right to life of the unborn from conception to natural death, adding that pregnant mothers needed to be supported and helped when facing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, or a high risk pregnancy. The HLI team also made a point to note the great harm done to both mother and child in an abortion. The statements will be available on video when the summit proceedings are posted online.
HLI Colombia Director Gladys de Amaya made the following statement upon completion of the sessions: “The Culture of Human Life Foundation has long defended the principles and values that truly allow for a more just society. In promoting these principles and values, governments must promote high esteem for the family, and craft laws that will protect the institution of the family. With the Sixth Summit of the Americas, the hopes of all who live in the Americas have been placed in the hands of a few leaders who are entrusted to secure and defend the most basic human rights. Thus, governmental policies must also be based on these fundamental human rights, the most important being the first right, the right to life; and the first freedom, the freedom of religion.”