Original universal agreement
The U.S. remains a party to the universal human rights instruments that formally recognized the right to legal protection for every child “before as well as after birth.” (See historical context and analysis of the texts in “Human Rights and the Unborn Child.”)
The U.S. solemnly agreed to honor the founding principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Each principle was debated thoroughly by international delegations including a formidable contingent of very intelligent, articulate U.S. delegates.
In the Declaration on the Rights of the Child (1959), the U.S. went on to reach a formal agreement that
“the 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 … recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The U.S., influential in drafting this wording, adopted the Declaration in good faith.
In the drafting of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights article on the right to life, the only recorded attempt to introduce abortion as an exception to the right to life occurred in the working group’s second session (1947). Put to a vote in the Commission on Human Rights, it was, with U.S. leadership, resoundingly defeated.