Pro-Life Congressmen Thwart U.S. Support for UN Abortion Initiative

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 23, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Congressmen Thwart U.S. Support for UN Abortion Initiative

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by Piero A. Tozzi and Susan Yoshihara
May 23
, 2008 Note: Piero A. Tozzi and Susan Yoshihara write for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, which monitors pro-family issues as well as pro-life ones that covers. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication.

New York, NY — Pro-life congressmen, led by Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Bart Stupak (D-MI), rescued a congressional resolution supporting reduction of women’s mortality at home and abroad from surreptitiously advancing the pro-abortion agenda advanced at the United Nations.

House Resolution 1022, as now drafted, promotes both “maternal health and child survival” without a stealth promotion of abortion.

The language that was removed by Smith and Stupak called for funding of "global initiatives" and the recognition of maternal health as a "human right." Using such language would have lent U.S. support for a new pro-abortion initiative launched at a London conference last October called “Women Deliver.”

At the Women Deliver conference pro-abortion advocates launched the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights that seeks to link the maternal mortality issue with access to abortion while furthering development of “soft law” norms that include abortion as a human right.

Among those launching the initiative at the Women Deliver conference were UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Thoraya Obaid, the initiative’s architect and then UN Special Rapporteur for Health, Paul Hunt, and the President of the pro-abortion law firm and secretariat for the initiative Center for Reproductive Rights, Nancy Northrup.

Northrup stated at the launching that she believes UN treaties already contain an international right to abortion and she would work through the initiative and with UN partners to further that understanding and bind UN member states to recognize that right.

The Women Deliver conference, organized and chaired by the world’s top abortion advocates, including International Planned Parenthood Federation, Ipas and “Catholics” for a Free Choice, was also sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization in addition to the UNFPA.

House Resolution 1022’s primary sponsor, Lois Capps (D-CA), was one of three members of Congress that attended the Women Deliver conference.

A number of pro-life members of Congress, unaware of the provenance of the global initiative and health rights language, originally signed onto the draft version of the resolution.

One misstatement that remains uncorrected in the present version is the assertion that “an estimated 536,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth” – a number touted at the Women Deliver conference but unsubstantiated by the UN’s own statisticians.

The UN Population Division report The World’s Women 2005: Progress in Statistics states that “more than a third of the 204 countries or areas examined did not report the number of deaths by sex even once for the period 1995 to 2003 . . . About half did not report deaths by cause, sex and age at least once in the same period.”

In a statement preceding passage of the bill, Rep. Smith pointed out that “when women receive proper prenatal care, they are less likely to die in childbirth,” adding that the final form of the resolution “does not endorse – in any way whatsoever – the cruel ideology that pits women against babies by suggesting abortion as a means of combating maternal mortality.”