Editor’s note. This comes from the pro-life Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues—PNCI
PNCI Director Marie Smith reports that the new United Nations office on women, UN-Women, is being criticized for not promoting abortion in its strategic plan. According to Smith, “In the endless quest to establish legal abortion as a human right and funded as a so-called “solution” to reduce maternal mortality, pro-abortion organizations have attacked UN-Women for its strategic plan, which does not include the violence of abortion in its policy recommendations.”
The report, “Progress of the World’s Women” presents a favorable position on the legalization of abortion stating: “Despite progress in some countries, in many more the failure to make reproductive health care available and accessible, and the criminalization of abortion, results in severe restrictions to women’s rights and in some cases serious injury or death.”
However, it carries an all important disclaimer: “The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of UN-Women, the United Nations or any of its affiliated organizations.” The authors relied heavily on information from pro-abortion NGOs.
The resulting UN-Women Strategic Plan 2011-2013 issued by Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, and the Executive Board of UN-Women does not include any reference to abortion and does not promote the legalization of abortion in the effort to advance “gender equality and the empowerment of women”. Such exclusion of abortion is in keeping with the Cairo ICPD Programme of Action para 8.25 that places that responsibility on lawmakers: “Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process.”
The Executive Board of UN-Women is composed of representatives of over 41 member states, including countries that protect unborn children from the violence of abortion. Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile-the country with the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America and with a prohibition on all abortion- has been criticized by pro-abortion activists who object to the omission of abortion from the Strategic Plan.
Womens News reports on complaints from leading pro-abortion activists that include blaming funding fears and the fact that abortion is highly controversial at the United Nations for the fact that abortion is not included in the policy recommendations. The article laments that only a handful of donor governments-the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland-fund abortions and endorse abortion as a right.
“[Michelle] Bachelet is building her political capital within the U.N. and worldwide,” says Carmen Barroso, regional director at International Planned Parenthood Federation. “She is also fundraising for an entity that is severely under resourced. In light of this, she will not engage on controversial issues such as abortion.”
“Unfortunately, the discussion of these topics would have erupted into a contentious debate amongst member states, stalling the approval of the plan,” says Margot Baruch, program coordinator at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University in N.J.
“It boils down to a systemic political failure. The donor governments and major players need to demand leadership, ” according to Luisa Cabal, director of the International Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights.
“U.S. leadership is a big problem,” says Barbara Crane, executive vice president of Ipas, who believes that agencies of the United Nations “want to avoid controversy and they want to avoid offending the U.S. congress because the U.S. is such a major donor.We need a mobilizing goal or target to inspire the international community to take stronger action on this issue.”
Smith suggests, “Lawmakers around the world who seek to save the lives of women and their children should be encouraged by this news and increase their efforts to de-fund abortion so real progress to save women’s and children’s lives can proceed unhampered by a radical pro-abortion agenda. The goal is to save lives, not advance the violence of abortion.”