New York, NY (CFAM/LifeNews) — Admitting a stinging defeat, political leaders joined abortion and population control advocates this week to express outrage over the omission of the term “reproductive rights” from the outcome document produced at the UN’s Rio +20 conference on sustainable development last week.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed heads of state on the last day of the conference and pointed out where the battle had been lost. “[W]hile I am very pleased that this year’s outcome document endorses sexual and reproductive health and universal access to family planning” she stated, “to reach our goals in sustainable development we also have to ensure women’s reproductive rights.”
Though reproductive health is mentioned six times and in three different paragraphs, many lamented that in their view without a mention of reproductive rights, a term that abortion proponents use as synonymous with abortion, the document could not be counted as a victory for women’s rights or sustainability.
The Women’s Major group which represents over 200 different women’s organizations at the United Nations, went as far as claiming that the absence of reproductive rights meant that “two years of negotiations have culminated in a Rio+20 outcome that makes almost no progress for women’s rights and rights of future generations in sustainable development.”
Throughout the two-week conference, International Planned Parenthood Federation and other groups sponsored events explicitly linking reproductive rights and population control, especially in developing countries.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway, was one of the creators of the notion of sustainable development twenty-five years ago, and has been unabashed in making the connection, warning “the only way to respond to increasing human numbers and dwindling resources is through the empowerment of women.”
She went on to say, “regrettable is the omission of reproductive rights – which is a step backwards from previous agreements,” and concluded that “the Rio+20 declaration does not do enough to set humanity on a sustainable path.”
Many delegations, along with the Holy See, sounded the alarm on the link of those terms and successfully excluded any mention of them from the final document. Bruntland responded with frustration, “we can no longer afford this outrageous oversight, driven by old-fashioned tradition, discrimination and pure ignorance,” in direct reference to the Holy See’s intervention.
Also criticizing the exclusion of terms was Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and chairman of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health. She stated, “we have not been able to mainstream the issue of family planning into this conference at Rio de Janeiro. That is a mistake. Population growth in poor countries has become a global problem, one with long-term implications for the economic, environmental and political health of the entire world.”
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Maternal health is only mentioned indirectly in the document, and in only one paragraph. Evidently the push for reproductive rights at the conference was not so much about women’s health as it was about putting abortion and population control in the Rio +20 document under the guise of sustainable development.
Given that the Holy See called attention to this agenda and several nations were able to build the consensus necessary to keep the controversial term out of the document, it is no wonder abortion advocates are angry about their loss and continue to deride the Vatican as waging a war on women’s rights. Their real lament is the unmasking of their agenda to push for abortion and population control and having been caught red handed.
LifeNews.com Note: Timothy Herrmann and Stefano Gennarini, J.D. write for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication and is used with permission.