Standing Up to the United Nations’ Bullying on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 18, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Standing Up to the United Nations’ Bullying on Abortion Email this article
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by Janice Shaw Crouse
September 18, 2006 Note: Dr. Janet Shaw Crouse is a spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America and a fellow with the Beverly LaHaye Institute.

Last week, a well-respected insider and two stalwart outsiders stood up against the United Nations’ bullying. They’ve had their fill of the UN forcing nations into compliance with non-binding treaties engineered by the left to impose their views on the rest of the world.

The UN, through scolding, pressure, criticism and warnings, coerces member nations into supporting actions and ideology that often are contrary to their national interests and, sometimes, even their country’s laws. Thus, the UN flaunts national sovereignty and international law in its effort to mandate leftist policies, especially those that are pro-abortion and those that supposedly “empower women.”

Three paladins who know first-hand what it means to be oppressed declared, “Enough!”

At a UN luncheon last week, Dr. Krisztina Morvai of Hungary, who has served for four years as a member of the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) compliance committee, released a powerful statement criticizing the treaty monitoring process at the UN.

In Dr. Morvai’s written statement (she missed the meeting because of health reasons), she identified herself as a feminist and framed her critique as concern about whether polices serve “the genuine interests of women and girls.” Instead of increasing the well being of women, Dr. Morvai’s statement asserted that the UN’s policies increase discrimination against women.

Her experiences and analyses lead her to conclude that the “legally binding character” of UN treaties is problematic.

According to Dr. Morvai, the interpretation of UN treaties “often results in the misconception that certain values, principles, policies and practices must be introduced universally.” Further, she noted, UN treaties should not be used to change a nation’s “value systems, policies and practices.”

She disagreed, for instance, with the UN’s position on the “right” to an abortion being a “liberating” act for a woman. She also disagreed with the effort to legalize prostitution — an act that she described as “using women as objects as opposed to treating them as human beings with dignity.” Further, she opposes “sex education” that reduces human sexuality to “mere technicality” and separates “sex” from human relationships.

Dr. Morvai also opposes the distribution of condoms as an “almost exclusive response” to the AIDS epidemic.

Dr. Fernando Carbone Campoverde, a Peruvian surgeon, professor of medicine, author and official with the Association for Public Health in Peru and former Vice-Minister of Health of Peru, declared that “we have reached the limit of what we can allow” regarding UN pressure and interference in national sovereignty.

He described in detail Peru’s experience with the UN’s strong-arm tactics in 1995 when the nation was falsely accused and falsely sanctioned by the UN for violating a pregnant woman’s rights supposedly because of her social and economic status, though Dr. Carbone provided ample evidence that such was not the case.

He declared unequivocally that the right to life is the fundamental right from which all other human rights flow. To illustrate the emptiness of what he called “sentimental abortions” (those instigated simply to end the mother’s “anguish”), he gave an emotional account of his wife’s miscarriage and his family’s experience with having a handicapped child, Benito. He beautifully described their journey with Benito as the joy of “accompanying this child through life.”

The Honorable Konrad Szymanski, a member of the European Parliament from Poland, declared that the UN focuses on abortion, homosexuality and prostitution because it has failed in its primary mission of world peace. Further, he asserted that committee members should not “act in their own name”; instead they should conform to “human rights credibility and accountability.”

Mr. Szymanski also believes that UN pressure on social issues goes far beyond the UN’s appropriate role and such advocacy is not part of any UN treaty. Poland, said Mr. Szymanski, eliminated “social conditions” as grounds for abortion in 1993. That action “significantly narrowed the possibilities for receiving an abortion in Poland.” Thus, most of the legal abortions performed in Poland are because of the “danger to life or health of the mother.”

He cited data supporting the conclusion that Poland’s stance about abortion has increased women’s well being in that nation. Nevertheless, the European Union and the United Nations have put pressure on Poland to change its pro-life laws.

Over 50 United Nations delegates, ambassadors and embassy officials gathered in a private delegates’ dining room at UN headquarters to hear the presentations about the need to reform UN treaty monitoring committees.

Sponsored by Focus on the Family, the three-hour session exposed ways that the UN pressures member nations to legalize and increase access to abortion and documented 44 nations that have been arbitrarily pressured — six of them twice by the same committee and six by two different UN committees.

It is past time for the United Nations to be called to account for ignoring the real concerns of girls and women. It is past time to end what Dr. Morvai called “creative interpretations” of treaties. Last week marked a major step forward in ending the UN’s bullying of nations into policy positions that are harmful to women and nations’ sovereignty.