New York, NY (CFAM) — Massive lobbying generated few returns for abortion groups who showed up in force at the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Women’s groups – some funded by governments – tried to intimidate delegates by wearing garish masks, crowding hallways outside the negotiating room like a fraternity hazing tunnel, and organizing a “mobilization” parade inside the UN. After marathon negotiating sessions, delegates concluded at 2:00 a.m. last Saturday morning.
The final agreement, negotiated throughout the fortnight on which the commission took place, settled on language from the same commission last year. It does not advance abortion rights, sexual rights or homosexual rights.
Some diplomats were visibly frustrated about the lack of progress on abortion and getting sexual orientation and gender identity as categories for non-discrimination in international policy.
A delegate from El Salvador gave a fiery speech when countries agreed on the document listing the progress and challenges for women in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
“Stagnation should not be an option” he decried, shaking his ponytail. Setting a triumphant tone despite losses, he declared sexual orientation and gender identity is a “journey that my country has traveled for a while.”
An Egyptian diplomat proclaimed she spoke for “all the women of the world” to prevent any rollback on reproductive and sexual health and rights. Mervat Tallawy fears “a conservative mood in the world” in both developing and developed countries. Earlier, during negotiations behind closed doors, she reportedly questioned why the Holy See was allowed to speak since there are no women in the Vatican.
Seventeen percent of all the women in the world are Catholic. Over 134,000 people, including non-Catholics, signed a declaration supporting the Holy See at the UN.
The Holy See also endured the ire of abortion activists in the room. Youth in pink YWCA t-shirts joined gray-haired matrons in taunting the Holy See’s representative, a professional woman from Africa, when the chairman cut her speech short on a technicality.
Negotiations followed the pattern of recent years where western countries that invest heavily in sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights sought to expand these notions to include abortion, homosexuality and a broad notion of sexual rights.
Countries from the developing world, especially Africa, pushed back asking for explicit mention of national sovereignty, culture, religion and tradition, to temper any commitments to controversial policies.
Persons with knowledge told the Friday Fax that this year’s negotiations were somewhat subdued compared to recent years, even on controversial issues. This irritated representatives of abortion groups and sexual rights advocates.
The stakes are high in the quest for what will be included in the post-2015 development agenda — the development scheme that will replace the Millennium Development Goals next year.
The Millennium Development Goals, a 15-year program that determined global priorities and billions in funding, did not include abortion, and did not focus on reproductive health. Abortion groups devoted huge efforts simply to include reproductive health in the goals when it was initially left out. Researchers have since reported this has diverted attention and funding away from maternal health.
Abortion groups face an uphill battle in expanding their sources of funding if the new development agenda does not focus heavily on sexual and reproductive health. This year’s commission was a testing ground for negotiations that will take place next fall.
LifeNews.com Note: Wendy Wright 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.