Once again, the United Nations is pushing abortion into developing countries under the guise of “accelerating” progress for women. And once again, the Trump administration is fighting back.
Backed by Western organizations and money, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), Norway and Kenya staged a summit last week in Nairobi to reflect the narrow interests of abortion proponents. Among supporters are the abortion-promoting organizations Plan International, the Gates Foundation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Women Deliver, the U.N. Foundation, and She Decides.
Coming on the heels of the September U.S. Joint Statement on Universal Health Coverage, the summit seems a direct contradiction against 21 U.N. member states committed to “not support … ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights in U.N. documents.” In response to the summit, the U.S. issued another statement on behalf of eleven countries reaffirming a commitment to protecting life and protesting that the priorities of the event do not enjoy international consensus.
The Nairobi Summit claims to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) which negotiated reproductive health and population issues with representatives from 179 countries. But U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter wrote pro-abortion groups actually used this year’s summit as “a vehicle to try and further their agenda” saying they “are attempting to rewrite ICPD’s … language … with an alternative set of commitments that go beyond what was agreed to by member states in the original ICPD.”
Summit planners were, in fact, fairly open about their one-sided goals. Commenting in September about “building momentum” toward the summit, Kate Iverson from Women Deliver said they would “hold back the tide” of “conservative winds” in order to promote progressive policies. She arrogantly ended by saying they battle for power with the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) agenda declaring “the opposition is strong, but we are stronger.”
Among their rewrites is to “Achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of universal health coverage.” But as Ambassador McCarter points out, SRHR was not part of the original ICPD consensus. Particularly, the term “sexual rights” was not defined or agreed upon, but is a term used by abortion promoters to include abortion as a method of family planning.
Furthermore, the 1994 ICPD firmly declared legal abortion be decided by the national legislative processes of member states at the national and local levels, adding that “governments should take the appropriate steps to help women avoid abortion, which in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning.”
But Nairobi is just another ploy from western organizations boldly pressing a so-called progressive agenda abroad. They, and others like them, spend millions of dollars promoting abortion in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Sadly, according to two Africa-based maternal health doctors:
There remains a chasm … between a woman dying in a birthing hut … and…board rooms where strategies are developed and priorities assigned … Rather than focus on the real causes and solutions to maternal mortality, (we) become entangled within a “reproductive rights” agenda, which emphasizes access to contraception and promotes abortion.
In 2015, Pope Francis warned against an abuse of western power saying that without limits, well-intentioned foreign aid pushing “alien” lifestyles can be a type of imperialism, or ideological colonization, and a cover “for all kinds of abuse and corruption.” Kenyan citizens and religious leaders agree, declaring the Nairobi Summit destructive and intrusive to African society. Referring to the Kenyan constitution, Bishop Alfred Rotich asked: “What is our interpretation, we as independent and sovereign nation? Are we aware of the enemy that is continually interfering with our tradition and culture of protecting life?”
The U.N. would be wise to respect the values of the people in the countries it purports to help. The ICPD clearly intended this, stating that U.N. recommendations are the sovereign right of member states to be implemented consistent with national laws and development priorities, calling for “full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people.”
Shea Garrison, PhD is vice president of international affairs at Concerned Women for America and policy fellow at George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.