by Steven Ertelt
October 15, 2004
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — A representative of the United States told members of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday not to use a document on families and population to advance abortion on an international scale.
During their Thursday meeting, UN diplomats marked the 10th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), commonly called the Cairo conference.
The Cairo document focuses on population and health issues such as maternal mortality, lack of access to health care in impoverished nations, and dealing with the spread of the AIDS virus.
While the plan does not support abortion, U.S. Ambassador Sichan Siv told the General Assembly that the United States wants to keep it that way.
"As we entered this ten-year review process, there was a need for greater clarity about what ICPD does — and doesn’t — say on sensitive issues like reproductive health services," Siv explained.
Siv said the Bush administration was worried that some nations "might be misusing ICPD to promote abortion." He said he was glad to see other countries committing not to use the plan to promote abortion.
"The United States concurs that nothing in ICPD should be understood to promote, endorse, or support abortion," Siv explained. "[W]ith the understanding that states will not misuse ICPD in that way, we are pleased to continue to offer our support for ICPD and its Program of Action."
On Wednesday, a Bush administration official said the president would not sign a new statement drafted by abortion advocate Ted Turner commemorating the 10th anniversary of the ICPD in part because it appeared to promote abortion as an international right.
The statement refers to the Cairo plan saying it "ensure[s] universal access to reproductive health information and services, uphold fundamental human rights including sexual and reproductive rights."
Such language is often used by abortion advocates to refer to abortion, which prompted the Bush administration to object.
Though he is drawing criticism, only 85 nations around the world have signed onto a statement.
Although the U.S. under the Bush administration does not support advancing abortion internationally, the United States is taking the lead in advocating support for women.
The U.S. is the largest single donor of maternal health assistance, allocating $475 million annually over the last 4 years to that cause. The U.S. will have spent over $1.4 billion on "international health assistance" and committed an additional $15 billion to AIDS relief programs through 2008.
The Bush administration has also provided over $295 million to fight trafficking in persons in more than 120 countries.
Siv also encouraged member nations to promote abstinence to combat the growing threat of the AIDS virus.
"The promotion of behavior change — encouraging abstinence and fidelity — is integral to our fight against HIV/AIDS," Siv said.
President Bush has drawn praise from pro-life groups for his record opposing abortion in the international community.
On his first day in office, Bush re-implemented the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits taxpayer funding of groups that perform or promote abortions in other countries. He later expanded it to cover all State Department programs.
Bush has also withheld $34 million from the United Nations Population Fund because of that groups support for China’s population control program that includes forced abortions and sterilizations.
Related web sites:
Siv’s statement – https://www.un.int/usa/04_190.htm