New UN Maternal Health Commission May Promote Abortion

International   |   Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.   |   Jan 4, 2011   |   1:40PM   |   New York, NY

Last week the UN announced the members of a new commission to enforce its guidelines on women’s and children’s health.

The commission is supposed to “make transparent” the $40B going to the Secretary General’s new Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s health, announced last September at the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Among the strategy’s and the commission’s, main goals is to “prevent 33 unwanted pregnancies” by 2015.

The question is, will that “prevention” include abortion?

If the make up of the commission and the website launching it are any indication, it will. The president of Women Deliver, Jill Sheffield, is on the commission. That organization has hosted two UN-backed conferences explicitly aimed at ensuring that abortion is included in any UN definition of maternal and child health.

Family Care International, a pro-abortion activist group, is in charge of the commission’s advocacy and figures prominently in the new website launching it. Sheffield was president of FCI before taking over Women Deliver.

Richard Horton, the editor of the British medical journal that published an independent study on global maternal health over the objections of abortion activists, is one of two working group chairs. That publication humiliated UN maternal health experts by exposing years of poor UN research methods and flawed data. Horton has expressed his support for abortion, so it is not clear he would be a counterweight to the prevailing trend, but he has proven his fidelity to sound research.

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, who went to the mat before the MDG summit to preclude abortion in global maternal health agenda, is one of the commission’s co-chairs. It remains to be seen whether he can prevail again.

The commission’s report is due in May 2011. Note: Susan Yoshihara writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Turtle Bay and Beyond blog and is used with permission.