by Josh Craddock
After two weeks of late night negotiations at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), abortion and abortifacient “emergency contraception” were adopted by the United Nations as means of combating violence against women.
The New York Times published a letter to the editor Thursday morning from the Director of the UN Population Fund (known for their population control agenda), piling onto the previous editorial by continuing to malign and misrepresent life-affirming nations opposing the inclusion of abortion in the negotiated document. In another letter to the editor, the chairwoman of the N.G.O. Committee on the Status of Women continued the false narrative blaming Russia, the Holy See, and others for “assaulting” the human rights of women.
One United Nations Secretariat representative told the commission that “men’s sexual behavior can be a form of violence, since pregnancy is an outcome of it.” Pregnancy is an act of violence according to some full-time UN bureaucrats.
Nevertheless, it appeared late Thursday night that life-affirming nations had successfully kept language promoting abortion out of the negotiated document. Pro-abortion delegations, led by the United States and European Union, initially caved on including access to “sexual and reproductive health care services” (code for abortion) into the document.
The tension was palpable among the abortion lobby. They took to Twitter, admitting that they’d rather see no commitments on ending violence against women than see one that did not include abortion. You see, the abortion lobby doesn’t care about women or women’s health. They care about abortion.
Heeding the call, Ms. Michele Bachelet, the former President of Chile and current head of UN Women, intervened. At the final, high-level negotiations among ambassadors, Bachelet put all of her leverage into ensuring that abortion was included in the “agreed conclusions” outcome document.
The head of the Commission issued a hostile chairman’s text, heavily influenced by UN Women, which referenced “sexual and reproductive health” nine times, four times in association with the abortion euphemism “services,” and twice in association with human rights. “Reproductive rights” was also forced in.
The chairman’s text called upon member states to provide “accessible health-care services that are responsive to trauma and include . . . emergency contraception, [and] safe abortion where such services are permitted by national law.” This is the first time that the CSW has called for emergency contraception in its outcome document.
An El Salvadoran proposal to provide “comprehensive sexuality education” for 8-10 year old girls through language that acknowledges their “evolving capacity” was kept in the chairman’s text. No longer did the text reaffirm the “right to life, liberty, and security of person” that earlier drafts included.
The ambassadors and delegates were given fifteen minutes to review the chairman’s text and either give an approval or achieve no agreed conclusions for the conference. Given the intense pressure from member states on delegations to the UN to achieve agreed conclusions, the hold-outs caved. Egypt affirmed the document. Then Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, India, and Jordan.
Several nations expressed their reservations to the document, including the Holy See, which repudiated all mentions of abortion and “sexual and reproductive health care services.” But the agreed conclusions were approved by general consensus and there was no going back. The noble effort to eliminate violence against women was permanently stained by the blood of abortion.
However, they didn’t get everything they wanted. All references to “sexual orientation and gender identity” were successfully removed from the text. The agreed conclusions condemned and encouraged member states to take action against “forced sterilization, forced abortion, and forced use of contraceptives.”
With the acclamation of the agreed conclusions, Ms. Michele Bachelet announced that she is retiring from UN Women and plans to return to Chile. Everyone knows she will run for President once more and understands that leaving abortion in the agreed conclusions was her final legacy at the United Nations.
Thankfully, we know that the battle is not over. The agreed conclusions, while carrying the weight of internationally agreed language, are not binding on member states and cannot be used to legally justify domestic changes on laws related to abortion in any nation.
We enter this contest knowing that the United Nations is stacked against us. It has become a vehicle to push an agenda, so it should come as no surprise that the house often wins. Nevertheless, the courage of nations who have withstood their agenda should be applauded. Those nations aren’t ready to back down yet and neither are we.
The parallel-event co-hosted by Personhood USA educated hundreds of delegates that abortion is never medically necessary and equipped them with scientific data supporting the 100% pro-life position. C-FAM’s event featuring Personhood USA spokesperson Rebecca Kiessling showed that life is the correct answer even in cases of rape. Many delegates who attended these events changed their minds and took that information with them to the negotiations, even when their capitals or ambassadors sold them out to get an outcome document.
The abortion lobby may have won this short-term skirmish, but we know that we will win the war. When it comes to defending human rights, we’re on the side of truth, right, and justice. We’re on the side of life.
Josh Craddock, 21, is Personhood USA’s United Nations liaison. He currently studies Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at The King’s College in New York City.