José Barzelatto lecture: Vision on unsafe abortion
International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 2010 April; 109(1): 5-8
José Barzelatto first distinguished himself as a leader with a vision in his years as a medical student. Later, principally as Director of the Reproductive Health Program at the World Health Organization and of the Ford Foundation program for women's sexual and reproductive rights, he contributed immensely toward the recognition of women's sexual and reproductive rights as part of their basic human rights. José Barzelatto's vision on abortion reflects his drive to promote social justice and respect individual rights, respect diversity, and promote a social consensus for a peaceful society. He believed that the fetus has moral value and did not accept abortion as a method of fertility control, but understood that abortion is a social phenomenon that cannot be changed with legal or moral condemnation. He accepted that condemning women who abort does not prevent abortion, is unfair, and causes great human suffering at a high social cost. José proposed nine points to form the basis for an overlapping consensus on abortion, on which to base a practical consensus that would allow societies to reduce the number of abortions and minimize their consequences. If we can agree on all or most of those points we would achieve the common objectives of: fewer women confronting the dilemma of how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy; fewer induced abortions; and fewer women suffering the consequences of unsafe abortion.
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