Report from the 46th UN Commission on Population and Development

by Josh Craddock

The theme of the 46th Session of the Commission on Population and Development was supposed to be migration. Nevertheless, abortion proponents once again hijacked the discussion to push their agenda. Thankfully, the outcome document leaves very little room for abortion advocates to build upon.

During the week, IPPF launched its “Vision 2020” campaign, which includes applauds illegal abortion providers in Latin American countries, even though these medical abortions are hazardous to the woman and fatal to the baby. They call on all governments to “support a woman’s right to abortion by removing legal and policy barriers to abortion services” in the name of reducing maternal mortality. Evidence shows, however, that countries prohibiting abortion can actually provide higher maternal healthcare standards than countries where abortion is legal.

As always happens at the major UN conferences, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and its allies divert attention from real, pressing issues to push their agenda of so-called “sexual and reproductive health and rights” (SRHR) which include “youth-friendly” abortion services. The outcome document addressing migrants never once mentions food and only twice mentions employment, but mentions “sexual and reproductive health” five times and ensures “emergency contraception and safe abortion.” Guess where their priorities are?

When the African group opposed the IPPF agenda, Planned Parenthood sent a private letter to the Nigerian ambassador, rebuking her delegation’s stance as the voice for the African group. In the letter, IPPF issued a veiled threat that if the Nigerian ambassador did not tone done her opposition to SRHR, IPPF would use their influence to cause the ambassador to lose her position as First Chair at UN Women. The IPPF took to bullying again when the Filipino vice-chairman of the Commission denied numerous requests to include SRHR language in the text. On the final day of negotiations, they pushed to have him replaced as moderator of the negotiations.

Because of the US and EU’s neurotic focus on SRHR, the commission could not agree on a negotiated document. The document reverted to a chairman’s text, delivered by the moderator from Moldova. The outcome was not the result of a consultative process of negotiation; it was forced in a take-it-or-leave-it fashion upon the member states.

Nevertheless, the chairman’s text did not allow abortion advocates to make any headway. All references to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (which promotes abortion and early sexual activity to children) from the original draft were deleted in the final outcome document. All six references to “sexual orientation and gender identity” were likewise deleted.

Thankfully, a strong paragraph reaffirmed the national sovereignty of each member state “with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people, and in conformity with universally recognized international human rights.” Remember, despite decades of agitation from the abortion advocates, there is no internationally recognized right to abortion. Universally recognized international human rights do include the right to life (though sadly, this right is ignored when it comes to unborn children).

There is very little in this document to build toward a so-called “right to abortion.” Two major country groups (the African group and the Arab group) and nine specific countries voiced specific reservations against abortion in their final statements. Nigeria for the African group and Egypt for the Arab group both complained that too much focus was placed on SRHR rather than the actual needs of migrants. Honduras issued a strong pro-life statement, reaffirming their position that “The unborn child has the same right as a child that is born.” Chile emphasized its belief that “Life is protected from conception” and that “no part of this resolution can be interpreted an acceptance of abortion in any of its forms.” Malta reminded the commission that “Termination of pregnancy is not recognized as a method of family planning.”

After years of trying, abortion advocates left the 46th Commission on Population and Development with little “progress” to celebrate.


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