The Maputo Protocol: To be Remembered but Not Celebrated

On July 11, 2003, the Assembly of the African Union in Maputo, Mozambique adopted a document entitled, “Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.” This document, better known as “The Maputo Protocol,” set into motion an agenda that has radically impacted the African continent, and has emboldened population control groups throughout Africa and around the world.

Proponents of the Maputo Protocol want us to believe that the primary focus of their document is female genital mutilation (FGM), a heinous crime affecting nearly two million African women annually. Recognizing this violence against the dignity of women is vital, and every means available to eradicate this harmful practice must be sought. However, a simple read through the Maputo Protocol reveals that FGM is mentioned only once in the document (Article 5-b). The actual agenda concentrates on and further violation of women and their “rights” – legalization of abortion, contraception and sterilization.

Essentially the document promotes a radical agenda seeking full transformation of African society toward the destructive ideologies that are already tearing supposedly “developed” nations apart. In order to accomplish this task, the document calls for a shift in the understanding of the traditional family, and emphasizes a genderless society where real differences between men and women are suppressed by the government.

One of the opening statements of the Maputo Protocol addresses the elimination of “discrimination” against women. Unjust discrimination in any regard is morally reprehensible whether it is against a man or woman; however, the use of this term within the Protocol is aimed specifically at promoting the free exercise of sexual “rights” of women, i.e. freedom to seek an abortion, contraception and sterilization. In other words, denial of the right to have an abortion is considered by the authors to be an act of discrimination, and all methods of contraception are to be provided by the State—including the free use and distribution of abortifacients. The Maputo Protocol specifically states that African governments must legalize abortion in cases of rape, incest or for the health of the mother (Article 14-2-c). The loophole created by the “health of the mother” argument essentially leads to abortion on demand, as seen presently in countries around the world.

The Protocol also mandates that the State provide new educational methods to “modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of women and men” (Article 2-2). For example, the traditional family (husband, wife and children) where the mother remains home to be the primary caregiver is considered a “stereotype” and thus an act of discrimination. This is but one example of the radical attempt to reshape and refocus the minds and lives of millions of people with a propaganda of death that destroys the very foundation of a society and brings into question its future existence.

I use the word “death” because the fruit of such an agenda is not authentic freedom and liberation from tyranny, but the very opposite. Such policies result in the breakdown of the family, illegitimacy, growth in the number of orphans, fatherless families and promiscuity. The contraceptive mentality and legalized abortion endorsed by the Maputo Protocol will not lead to fewer abortions, as its supporters would have us believe, but many more abortions. While population control groups have pushed heavily for more contraceptives, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, the number of abortions actually grew in Africa between 2003 and 2008. Planned Parenthood even published a strategic plan outlining how they plan to increase “safe abortion” services in Africa by 82 percent by 2015.

The U.S. government, under the Obama administration, has used promises of foreign aid to pressure recipients to legalize “reproductive health services for women,” i.e. abortion and contraception. U.S. involvement in Kenya’s constitutional referendum in 2010 is just one example. The Obama administration stated that “money would flow” once Kenya passed its new constitution that included “reproductive health benefits for women.” Another example of U.S. involvement in promoting the coercive agenda of abortion/population control is found in its support of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, which promotes abortion and contraception. The Obama administration has funded, and continues to fund, UNFPA to the tune of around $50 million per year.

We should be clear on what is at stake in this battle. As these “death peddlers” continue to advance their agendas we need to reveal the true aim of their efforts. The Maputo Protocol serves as but one example.

The lives of innocent unborn children murdered in the name of “freedom” and “progress” now number in the hundreds of millions. Developed nations consider their skyscrapers, business districts, ritzy neighborhoods, and hedonistic lifestyles to be their legacy; however, the blood of every unborn child rests at their feet.

Pope Saint Paul VI understood the consequences society would face if it freely embraced the contraceptive mentality. In Humanae Vitae, the Holy Father called humanity to consider the full vision of man as created by God and not to embrace pathways that bring temporary “solutions” to humanity’s problems. Sadly, most rejected Paul VI’s prophetic words and today the consequences have become manifest. It is estimated that 2.2 billion unborn children worldwide have been aborted in the last 50 years. One in five pregnancies end in abortion. Nearly 42% of annual deaths in the world are due to abortion.

In 2011, six million unborn Africans were murdered. If this number represented those lost due to a natural disaster or conventional war we would be moved with pity and outrage. How many more unborn children have to die before the voices of this undeclared global war are heard?

About Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet has served as president of Human Life International since 2011. He was ordained in 1993 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. As HLI’s president, Fr. Boquet collaborates with fellow laborers in the pro-life and family movement in over 80 countries, offering the Sacraments, giving seminars and trainings, appearing on numerous media outlets, and encouraging people of all walks of life to live as faithful advocates for a Culture of Life and Love. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing

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