Special Conference Abortion Amendment

Special Conference Abortion Amendment
Marina L

During the second day of the 2022 IMUN conference, there was a significant increase in the submission of amendments in Special Conference, coming from a greater variety of delegations. Although all amendments received special attention from the delegations in the room, the amendment submitted by the delegation of Poland ignited the most heated debates. 

The delegation of Poland submitted an amendment adding a clause to the resolution made by Argentina regarding the issue of bodily autonomy and efforts made to restructure health systems. The amendment ignited a pro-life versus pro-choice debate in the room. The amendment urged all member states to be in accordance with the UN Rights of Bodily Autonomy in Healthcare (UN-RBAH). However, one of the sub-clauses declared that governments and healthcare workers have the right to deny medical services if the service is not “in line with a nation’s established laws, legislations, or values outlined in a national constitution” and if “the service goes against a healthcare worker’s social, cultural, and religious beliefs.” The amendment created a polarized discussion.  

The floor was passed to the delegation of Holy See which whole-heartedly agreed with Poland’s amendment. The delegate of Holy See encouraged all member states to vote for this amendment as it would limit abortions. In fact, the Holy See strongly agreed when the delegate of Egypt stated that abortions heavily contradict religions like Islam and Christianity, and therefore go against the ‘name of God.’ As a result, a  number of delegates raised points of information. Delegations of the UK, Denmark, and Germany asked to extend points of information to the delegate of the Holy See. The UK, specifically, inquired if the delegates of the Holy See and Poland were aware that this amendment went directly against bodily autonomy and therefore contradicted the resolution. They also expressed their discontent with healthcare workers refusing service for those in need. To this, the delegate of the Holy See replied, “This delegation believes that religious freedom comes first.” When the debate moved to voting time, mainly Middle Eastern and African countries like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Liberia voted for this amendment, reflecting the values of their represented nations. However, delegates for The Netherlands, Greenpeace, and Human Rights Watch voted against this amendment.  

The abortion debate is a longstanding, ongoing controversy that touches on the moral, legal, and religious convictions. Nations across the world have varied thoughts on the issue, which is why this amendment was polarized.