by Steven Ertelt
January 20, 2005
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — UNICEF, a UN agency devoted to helping children, has long been condemned by pro-life advocates for promoting abortion. However, someone new, who says abortion issues are "irrelevant" to the mission of the organization, is replacing the longtime director of the agency.
Outgoing U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman will take over at UNICEF after being nominated by President Bush for the post. She has received support from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Veneman says she will shift the agency’s attention back to helping children combat hunger and disease and away from making sure teenagers can get abortions.
When she starts work at the agency in May, Veneman will replace Carol Bellamy, the agency’s director since 1995, when pro-abortion President Bill Clinton appointed her.
On Tuesday, Veneman said at a press conference that she wants UNICEF to champion "an agenda of helping children, particularly in the areas of education and health and to address the issues of hunger and malnutrition."
Asked by a reporter about "reproductive health" issues, she responded: "I don’t believe that these issues are relevant to the missions of UNICEF."
As recently as October, UNICEF officials wrote members of the New Zealand parliament telling them to oppose efforts to require abortion business to tell parents when their teenage daughters are considering an abortion.
"The child advocacy group said the primary right when a girl became pregnant was not the right of a parent to know," the New Zealand Herald newspaper reported.
"UNICEF denies promoting abortion, but it has endorsed, and even helped to draft, documents that call for the legalization of abortion," Population Research Institute president Steven Mosher says.
According to Mosher, UNICEF has funded the Population Council, the group that holds the U.S. patent for dangerous RU-486 abortion drug that has killed women in California and Sweden recently.
Another group UNICEF funds is a South African organization called LoveLife, which actively encourages teenage girls to have abortions.
Dismayed at the change in focus, the Vatican ended its financial support for the UN agency in 1996.