Pro-Abortion Women Want More Funding for New United Nations Super Agency

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 4, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Women Want More Funding for New United Nations Super Agency

by Terrence McKeegan, J.D.
March 4, 2010 Note: Terrence McKeegan is a Washington D.C.-based attorney and the co-founder and vice president of International Activities for the International Solidarity & Human Rights Institute (ISHRI). He writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication.

New York, NY ( — The annual United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) began this week in New York and marks the 15-year review of the Beijing Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995).

While governments are supposed to be meeting to examine national commitments to implementing the UN Millennium Development Goals, the fight so far has been over the structure and funding for a new women’s super-agency that would essentially subsume the four major existing UN institutions dealing with women’s and gender issues: the Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, and the Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues.

The wish is that women’s issues get the same institutional weight that children’s issues get from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) even though much of UNICEF now focuses on women rather than children.

UN Member States agreed in principle to create a new women’s agency last fall in the General Assembly, although very few details were disclosed at that time. The long-awaited details were finally released in January in a UN Secretary General Report, which proposed a $500 million annual budget for the agency that would be headed by an Under-Secretary General.

Most prominent among the supporters of the new agency are members of what is called the Gender Equality Architecture Reform campaign (GEAR), which was launched at CSW two years ago by pro-abortion organizations, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). At a GEAR event on Monday, it was reported that African non-governmental organizations (NGO) have complained that the new agency would take away money and focus from basic development issues to emphasize “First World” gender issues. GEAR organizers also had to admit incorrect reports in their own conference newspaper that the $1 billion budget had already been approved along with sweeping new powers for the agency.??

Another priority for radical feminist and pro-abortion groups is to make sure no one gets the idea that the UN Population Fund (UNPFA) is no longer necessary, even though the work of the new agency will be quite similar to UNFPA’s. IPPF said on its web site, “The important work UNFPA does on sexual and reproductive health and rights should be preserved.”??

An open question this week is who would lead such an agency. In the halls of the UN, there are widespread rumors that outgoing Chilean President Michele Bachelet is the leading contender to be tapped for the job.

Despite Chilean law banning abortion, Bachelet has pushed for access to the abortifacient the “morning after pill” and has thrown her support behind a regional initiative to provide increased access to reproductive health services.

The question of where the money will come from to fund the new entity has been discussed extensively at the conference. It is likely most of the money will be contributed from the existing pool of donor nations including Norway, Sweden, and other rich European countries, along with the United States.

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