Day 1 of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

by Josh Craddock

This morning, I sat in the United Nations assembly hall to hear Ms. Michele Bachelet, the former President of Chile and current head of UN Women, address the opening ceremony of the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Before hundreds of spectators and delegates, Bachelet outlined her five proposals for action on the priority theme “elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.” To the dismay of women worldwide, three of the five proposals included “reproductive rights” and access to “sexual and reproductive health” including abortion.

Bachelet called “reproductive rights” essential to prevent violence against women and audaciously asserted that abortion access would make women less vulnerable to gender-based violence, despite the evidence that abortion emboldens criminals. It allows the rapist to escape being caught, because he can take the victim to a local abortion provider, dispose of the evidence, and continue to victimize the woman. Abortion for rape and incest is not compassionate; it is cruel. If the CSW wants to prevent and eliminate violence against women, it shouldn’t give cover to rapists and criminals.

If anyone knows this truth, it’s Personhood USA spokesperson Rebecca Kiessling. Kiessling appeared at the “Survivors of Prenatal Assault” parallel event hosted by the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) and REAL Women of Canada. Kiessling shared her testimony of being conceived through rape and pointed out that abortion just continues to victimize women who have suffered violence. Despite suffering domestic abuse from her adoptive parents and a teenage boyfriend herself, Kiessling told the audience how incredibly thankful she is that her mother chose life.

Liz Carl, who became pregnant from rape at age 17, also spoke at the event, telling delegates that if they really believe in empowering women, they won’t assume women are “too weak” to have a baby conceived in rape. She shared how her son’s life has been a beacon of hope in her healing process. To end the cycle of violence, she said, women need to allow for the opportunity to love.

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