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Voices Online Edition
Spring 1999
Volume XIV, No 1

UN Frontline Report
UN Declares Abortion a Universal Right;
"Enforced Pregnancy" an International Crime

by Mary Jo Anderson

The recently concluded United Nations Hague Forum skewers parental rights, national sovereignty, and religious freedom while it thrusts forward universal access to abortion under the cover of "reproductive health and rights".

The gathering, held February 8-12, at The Hague, was hosted by the government of the Netherlands and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), courtesy of the Bill Gates and Ted Turner foundations. The Hague Forum is part of the five year technical review process, ICPD+5, which assesses the progress of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) better known as the Cairo Conference.

At issue are globally guaranteed "freedom of sexual expression," access to contraceptives and abortion for the world's youth (defined by the UN World Health Organization as 10-18 year olds) without parental consent, and the demand that abortion and "gender equity" be granted status as a universal human right.

To decode the full import of the draft document submitted by 177 nations (including the Holy See delegation) and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) requires a working knowledge of "UN speak", particularly the term "gender equity" which encompasses a full spectrum of ideological goals: women should be 50% of the administration, education and social work force in all countries; and homosexual "rights" must be accorded equal social, political and legal status in all nations.

The document was forwarded to the United Nations Secretariat. It serves as a background paper for a final negotiated document to be presented at ICPD+5 (Cairo+5) the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in June. The Hague Forum draft, despite courageous efforts by Monsignor Frank Dewane of the Holy See and other Catholic delegates, is a brazen attempt to trounce national sovereignty and to force nations to implement global requirements contrary to national laws or religious beliefs. Parental rights, once protected by national sovereignty, are the first victim.

According to Inside the Vatican correspondent John Mallon, writing for the Daily Oklahoman, if the mandated programs for sex education, including contraception and abortion, are installed in schools and if "you decide, along with other distressed parents to take action starting with local authorities and end up speaking to your US representative", you will be advised that "nothing can be done about it despite your religious beliefs."

Families: "Nightmarish Scenario"
While this nightmarish scenario is rejected by many as far-fetched, according to Mallon, if all the agenda items drafted at the Hague Forum are implemented, parents' voices will be silenced in favor of UNFPA programs, including "peer education."

Austin Ruse of The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI) which publishes Friday Fax on issues of the UN threat to pro-family platforms, spoke with Youth Forum organizer Marianne Haslegrave. The Youth Forum preceded the Hague Forum, which accepted the Youth Forum document as part of its own considerations.

Ruse reported in the February 8 Friday Fax, "Haslegrave responded to a query today about why 'peer education' on 'reproductive health' was advanced in the Youth Forum document. Seeking advice from other children and health professionals was superior to asking parents, she said, because 'nobody is likely to see a health professional who is likely to tell your mother that you went there.'"

These arrogant comments toward parents by a UN functionary are reminiscent of the provisions entered for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Samples include: "The Right to See, Hear, or Read Whatever A Child Chooses" (Article 13), "The Right to Object to All Religious Training" (Article 14), "The Right of A Child to Associate with Anyone" (Article 15).

Concerning the tactic of redefining universal rights as including "reproductive health and rights" (a euphemism for abortion, contraception and sterilization), Monsignor Frank Dewane of the Vatican delegation notes, "If you look at the Cairo documents, this affirmation is nowhere to be found. And yet, here at the Hague, this claim is made again and again as though it is an agreed fact." Further, he insisted, in regard to parental rights, "At Cairo, there was clear reference to the 'rights and responsibilities of the parents'. But at The Hague all reference to parents has disappeared and there is no talk of family."

Hague Forum Stifles Cairo Agreement
The Hague Draft Report stifled the Cairo Chapeau, which was a last minute provision that broke the Cairo stalemate. Most Catholics recall the United Nations' Cairo Conference of 1994 (called ICPD).

The high intrigue which fascinated the media during Cairo was the intervention made by the Holy See to forestall a universal "right" to abortion as part of a women's health platform. The population management cadres promote such measures as a critical component of "sustainable development". Developed nations were assessed 0.7% of GDP to support the Cairo Programme of Action [POA]. The Wall Street Journal, remarking that this provision was a key demand again at the Hague Forum, noted that the assessment amounts to "A transfer of 0.7% of the industrialized world's GDP every year." (WSJ 2/10/99)

At Cairo, friction between pro-family nations (Catholic and Islamic) THAT balked at the repeated attempts by the population control factions to insert deceptive language into the documents sparked tempers and forged a coalition among widely divergent cultures. The new coalition of pro-family delegates sought to parry the UN tactics, which jettison national sovereignty, parental rights and religious traditions in the implementation mandates of the Cairo POA.

Tension mounted. Pressure was applied to the soft spots of vulnerable nations: Those dependent upon World Bank loans for critical infrastructure hospitals, schools, roads, and telecommunications were thwacked with the stick of population control mandates.

The stalemate at Cairo was broken when a resolution was introduced: The "Cairo Chapeau" enabled the Cairo Conference to close with some measure of decorum. The "Chapeau" reads:

The implementation of the recommendations contained in the Programme of Action is the sovereign right of each country, consistent with national laws and development priorities, with full respect for the various religious and ethical and cultural backgrounds of its people in conformity with universally recognized human rights.

Vatican Efforts Unavailing
Throughout the week-long Hague Forum, pro-life delegates and NGOs courageously reiterated the Cairo provision. They adamantly opposed the redefining of "reproductive health" so as to encompass abortion and contraception. Msgr. Dewane of the Holy See, seeking to hold the line by insisting that the Chapeau provisions be respected, inserted this intervention at the Hague Forum:

The role of the family, the basic unit of society, founded on marriage, is forcefully reaffirmed by the Holy See Linked closely to the rights of the family is the issue of education for young people in matters pertaining to sexuality and reproduction. The rights and duties of parents cannot be ignored in this regard.

The Earth Times, a daily conference paper provided in conjunction with the New York Times, retaliated:

The opponents of abortion like Pope John Paul II are supposed to be champions of the poor [they are] leaning on moral authority of a supreme text [the Bible]. [Confronting pro-life proponents] is a matter of rallying a global consensus that fundamentalism is an illegitimate authority and an affront to divine will.

Another conference paper, ICPD+5 Watch ran an editorial headlined "Sex and the Holy See." It complained,

As in Cairo, at the Hague Forum the Holy See continues to say that in matters of sexuality and reproduction, rights of the parents are supreme and the state should encourage this and not override it. We look forward to the day the Holy See comes into the twentieth century.

One reasonably supposes UNFPA programs will supplant parenthood, because, as the editorial claims "evidence suggests parents may have rights, but have trouble carrying out their responsibilities in sexual matters with their children. Who then should take care of this?"

How is such a sweeping assault on family to be accomplished?

Monsignor Dewane explains: "In the past five years there has been a growing acceptance of a human rights based perspective." In point of fact, the rights based approach to abortion and "gender equity" was not accepted at Cairo. On the contrary, abortion was specifically rejected twice as a method of family planning. Most critically, Cairo's Principle One is "the right to life."

The "soft war" on the family which the United Nations and its myriad agencies have launched in the name of "sustainable development" and "reproductive health and rights" attempts a new maneuver.

The Cairo+5 assessment process which began at the Hague Forum is designed to slide past the Cairo Chapeau by moving abortion and sexual orientation into the category of universal human rights. In this manner the United Nations agencies by-pass ratification and avoid the confrontations such as the one ICPD suffered at Cairo.

The maneuver if successful in the final document is a threat particularly for Catholic countries which do not provide legal status for abortion or homosexual "rights". Laws contrary to national culture and religious values would be legislated in those countries, superseding national sovereignty. Homosexual "marriages", for instance, are to be guaranteed as "A voluntary choice in marriage, family forms."

The penalty for not enacting such legislation would be economic sanction for violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Or worse.

The International Criminal Court
Rome, June 1998, saw the negotiation of the terms of an International Criminal Court [ICC], a "Nuremberg style tribunal." There is a dread that accompanies discussions of the ICC: the court will have jurisdiction over individuals whose "crime" is opposition to UN ideology. "Within the proposed ICC criminal statutes there exists language that could make pro-life advocates war criminals simply for working on behalf of the unborn child", warned Austin Ruse of CAFHRI. The danger is real; the April UN Conference on Human Rights passed a resolution entitled The Elimination of Violence Against Women which prohibits "forced pregnancy".

Clever packaging inserts this euphemism into the sterile agenda of the UN, sandwiched between actual assaults such as rape and murder. "The problem is that radical feminists have taken over much of the drafting process of the criminal statutes," explained Ruse. The ICC terminology is another aggressive population control measure which followed on the heels of both the Beijing and Cairo conferences. Pro-family voices are unwelcome at UN conferences. Anti-family groups, anti-family NGOs, conversely are courted. [Women for Faith and Family unsuccessfully applied for NGO status for the UN conference on women in Beijing -- Editor].

Influence of Pro-abortion "Catholics"
So it was, then, that the Hague Forum accorded star billing to a radical abortion rights "Catholic" NGO.

Because the Catholic Church is insistent in defending the family as the primary unit of society and adamant in defense of life from conception to natural death, the Church is identified by UNFPA officials as an "obstacle" to the implementation of the Cairo POA. Once countries are "educated" to embrace global depopulation as a "sustainable development" imperative, or seduced by development aid, the way is clear for global elites to manage humanity and resources for the sake of "justice". The sole remaining mediator of international scope for traditional family values is the Catholic Church. It must be disarmed if the UNFPA agenda is to advance.

Dr. Fred Sai is president emeritus of International Planned Parenthood Federation [IPPF] and now serves as an advisor to the World Bank on population issues. Sai remarked during a Hague Forum press briefing that "countries are too beholden to the Vatican which preaches that contraception is an abortifacient". He then claimed Eastern Europe and parts of Africa were showing "signs of despondency" because their bishops do not sanction "reproductive health and rights."

The strategy of the UN ideologues is transparent: to diffuse the influence of Catholicism, simply elevate dissident "Catholic" voices which will speak for "the people".

Catholics for a Free Choice [CFFC] completed the year-long process to qualify as a UN Non-Governmental Organization. Despite Vatican objections to the use of "Catholic" by this group, it was awarded NGO status, adding a "religious" voice for radical UN anti-family agendas. CFFC declares that its mission is to stand "for the rights of women in both church and society, in the United States and internationally; [it] shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics based on justice, a commitment to women's well-being; [and] works through discourse, education, and advocacy to infuse these values into public policy, community life, and Catholic social thinking and teaching."

In plain words, CFFC is vigorously anti-Catholic. The CFFC agenda matches a "playboy's" dream: funding for CFFC activities is provided by Playboy, and the Turner and Rockefeller foundations, among other "philanthropists". CFFC's collaboration with Planned Parenthood is a convenient arrangement. Frances Kissling, director of CFFC, was the founder of the National Abortion Federation. No surprise, then, to learn that CFFC was given space in Planned Parenthood's New York City office during its early years.

With its United Nations NGO mantle, CFFC can be used to bully developing nations (many of which are Catholic) with new clout. (Shoving abortion and contraception at women under the guise of "justice" is a United Nations art form.) CFFC refined their rhetoric to appeal to third world Catholics, clients of UN programs.

Now, with the ICC, the language employed threatens trial and penalty to individuals and nations who do not share their barren vision. During a closed ICC meeting at the women's caucus of NGOs the term "enforced pregnancy" was coined in order to avoid the use of the word abortion. Where the term once meant pregnancy as the result of rape, the NGOs apply "forced pregnancy" to those refusing to liberalize abortion laws as a matter of "justice" for women.

Tactics are carefully crafted to bring Catholic countries to heel. Borrowing the concept of "involuntary servitude" from a Utah abortion case, attorneys drafting the ICC language read any restrictions on abortions as "forced pregnancy", which they deem a form of slavery. Under the proposed International Criminal Court, a nation, a group or individual protecting unborn children could be guilty of an international "crime".

Seen in conjunction, the ICC and the Hague Forum draft are ominous manifestations of the culture of death. Pressed between the threat of an international "crime" of "enforced pregnancy" and the proposed redefinition of human rights to include "reproductive health and rights" (i.e., contraception and abortion) traditional family values are under grave assault at the global level.

"Final Document" Session Stalls over Parental Rights and Teen Sex
One month following the Hague Forum, national delegates from 177 countries convened in New York City to negotiate a final document for the UN General Assembly. The Hague draft provided a discussion basis for the technical review of the implementation of the Cairo Programme of Action.

Delegates quickly identified points of conflict, chiefly the redefinition of human rights to include "reproductive health and rights", "emergency contraception", teen sexual "rights" which defy parental rights and obligations, national sovereignty and the dearth of basic health services which insure maternal and childhood health in developing nations.

On the opening day, the Vatican delegation objected to "emergency contraception" the popular "morning after pill". The delegation pointed out that medical evidence reveals that emergency contraceptive pills work by preventing implantation of the fertilized egg, which is an abortive effect.

Bishop James McHugh, deputy head of the Holy See delegation, recalled that the Cairo POA specifically prohibits abortion as a means of family planning, and certainly not as an "exercise of an undefined and nebulous reproductive right". (Bishop McHugh is co-adjutor bishop of Rockville Centre, New York.)

As the Holy See fought their battle on the floor of the plenary session, dissident Catholics led by Frances Kissling of Catholics for a Free Choice drew media attention with the promotion of a postcard campaign calling for a formal UN review of the permanent observer status of the Holy See. CFFC wants the Vatican's status rescinded.

Other Catholic concerns were to protect parental rights in the dramatic debate which pitted the European Union, Canada and the USA against the Holy See and the Group of 77 (G-77) a coalition of developing countries. Argentina, a stalwart defender of the pro-family platform, Panama and the Vatican received a boost from aggravated Moroccan, Sudanese and Syrian delegates who resisted the demands of conference chair, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, chairman of the working group and Bangladesh's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Chowdhury urged nations to compromise for the sake of reaching consensus.

At one point an exasperated Sudanese responded to Chowdhury, "Be respectful of our societies do not lecture our countries". The same delegate, responding to the statement read into the record by a Youth Forum delegate who demanded sexual rights for teens, remarked, "You want to see real youth? I will bring my own children to this assembly so you can see children who respect their families and their society."

As the week wore on negotiations stalled over key issues, including a "conscience" clause which would permit medical personnel to decline to perform procedures they found morally objectionable.

Senior US delegate Margaret Pollack led a fight to exclude the conscience clause, resulting in a stalemate.

Despite working into the early morning hours for two consecutive nights, the New York Preparatory Conference was adjourned without reaching a consensus. According to CAFHRI's Austin Ruse, the failure to finalize the document is a positive development for pro-family advocates. Ruse noted that as the conference broke up some delegates chastised chairman Chowdhury for permitting only one side of the issue to be heard.

The document will be taken up again in the days just prior to the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly scheduled for June 30-July 2.

Mary Jo Anderson covered the UNFPA for Crisis magazine, for which she is a contributing editor. Her earlier account of the meeting appeared in the March issue of Crisis. She is also a member of the Voices editorial board.

Related Statement
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women ­ Beijing Platform for Action,
March 2,2005

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