by Steven Ertelt
March 3, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life organization that lobbies at the United Nations is concerned the international agency is closing off non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from participating in discussions on a new document that could affect abortion.
The United Nations announced Monday that all negotiating sessions on the draft document to come out of the 2008 Commission on the Status of Women would be closed to NGOs.
Closed sessions are not unusual as the negotiations heat up towards the end, but closing sessions at the beginning of the drafting process is unprecedented.
Dr. Janice Crouse, a Concerned Women for America spokeswoman, told LifeNews.com, "This lack of openness is creating a storm of protest" from pro-life NGOs worried about the UN using the meeting to advance abortion.
"The ruling has caused NGOs to think that the U.N. is railroading pet programs through the sessions," she lamented.
The decision could make it hard for pro-life advocates to assist representatives of smaller pro-life nations in opposing a pro-abortion agenda brought by better-financed, pro-abortion nations in leadership positions.
"NGOs have traditionally provided language for the delegates and briefed them on the ramifications of the various aspects of the draft document for the constituencies that the delegates represent," Crouse explained.
"Delegates tend to be political appointees who serve briefly, while the NGOs are long-term activists supporting specific issues and have institutional memory and are experts on previous U.N. agreements and documents," she added.
Ultimately, Crouse said that, without NGO input, the agreements will represent pro-abortion UN positions without any counterbalance from pro-life groups. As a result, pro-abortion NGOs shut out of the process will have little to complain about.