New World Health Organization Report Cites Global Promotion of Abortion
One of the most interminable and vociferous debates at the United Nations is over the meaning and application of the phrase "reproductive health." Abortion opponents have charged that its meaning includes the use of abortion. And in fact, one UN document, the Cairo Programme of Action, says so. But, Cairo was nonbinding on states and was a very long time ago -- 1994 -- and it has never been repeated. For all intents and purposes, as far as the UN General Assembly is concerned, "reproductive health" does not include abortion.
Still the fuss continues. Why? Primarily because UN committees charged with enforcing UN documents have gone against the wishes of the General Assembly and actually interpret "reproductive health" as including abortion. And even worse, large UN agencies do it, too. The latest example shows that while pro-lifers have largely won the debate about abortion at the General Assembly, they are losing terribly in the field.
Recently the World Health Organization's Department of Reproductive Health and Research(RHR)issued a new report called “Sexual and reproductive health – laying the foundation for a more just world through research and action.” RHR claims it to be the first ever “consolidated report” of its programs, and it illustrates a truly breathtaking scope of activities across the world. If you have ever wondered whether the United Nations operates with energy and commitment, here it is – here is what can only be called the United Nations’ true missionary zeal.
Abortion. WHO has lost patience waiting for the creation of an international right to abortion from the UN General Assembly, and instead promotes the practice worldwide as a matter of public health. WHO’s abortion program has four main components: “(i) generating evidence on the prevalence of unsafe abortion and practices; (ii) developing improved techniques and interventions for safe abortion; (iii) translating evidence into norms, tools, and guidelines; and (iv) assisting countries to develop programmes and policies aimed at reducing unsafe abortions and increasing access to safe abortions.” In other words: prove the need for legal abortion, continue to expand the means and methods of abortion, then change cultures and national laws. For instance, the report claims that WHO’s “work over the past three decades has contributed significantly to the emergence and wide acceptance of the current recommended regimen” for chemical abortions. WHO tests various abortion procedures, sets acceptable safety standards, experiments with new abortion techniques, and trains doctors and nurses to perform abortions. WHO proudly asserts that it has already trained a third of all obstetricians (100 out of 300) how to perform abortions in the nation of Mongolia (one of the most sparsely populated spots on earth.
Contraception. A central goal of WHO is to ensure that every person over ten years of age has access to a complete range of contraceptives, and an unfettered ability to choose them. To this end, WHO works to counter “an individual’s lack of knowledge” about the benefits of contraceptives, as well as unspecified “religious and gender barriers.” RHR even asserts that women should be given “family planning advice…at the time of delivery.” Once any personal, religious and cultural hurdles are crossed, the World Health Organization must be able to deliver the goods: “Despite tremendous developments in contraceptive technology over the past 50 years, the choice of methods is still relatively limited.” Thus, WHO “continues to invest in research aimed at broadening the range of technologies available.” Here are some of the ones WHO is developing: new emergency contraceptive pills, male birth control pills (WHO is “supporting a study in Italy to pilot-test instruments to assess the acceptability of male hormonal methods of contraception, as well as their effect on mood and behaviour”), and long-term “implantable” contraceptives. WHO also conducts numerous studies to prove the safety of existing methods. Not surprisingly, the benefits always seem to outweigh the risks. WHO is even petitioning the US Food and Drug Administration concerning the use of copper-bearing intra-uterine devices, “with a view to extending the registered lifespan of the device beyond the current 10 years.”
Influence. WHO is proud of the fact that it has “an unrivalled ability to bring together experts in sexual and reproductive health from around the world to establish norms and guidelines and provide authoritative advice.” It does gather such experts, from some of the most prestigious European and American Universities, hospitals, foundations and other multi-national agencies. But, in the developing world, WHO actually creates the experts who will implement its “authoritative advice” in the field. WHO studies the beliefs and behaviors of such doctors, themselves, in order to learn where there may be resistance to the WHO agenda. For example, WHO conducts research “on physicians’ knowledge of, and attitudes towards, emergency contraception.” WHO actually trains doctors and medical researchers, providing them with comprehensive guides of “best practices.” WHO pays for their research on sexual and reproductive health, by collaborating with – even funding – the research institutes where these experts work. WHO has a “network of over 120 institutions in 59 developing countries,” some of which receive “long-term institutional development grants or resource maintenance grants.” This ability to bring Western medical and sexual information to the rest of the world, the ability to develop “consensus statements on controversial issues” is unrivaled. WHO can use this power to counter any challenges to its revolution. For instance, WHO admits that, “Since contraception and abortion are two means of regulating fertility, it seems self-evident that increased use of contraception will lead to a decrease in induced abortion. However, in some countries, rising levels of contraceptive prevalence have been accompanied by a rise in the number of abortions.” Not to worry, WHO has performed a “review of the evidence,” and can assert confidently that, “as fertility rates stabilize, however, increased contraceptive use will result in fewer abortions.”
Funding. WHO included funding tables at the end of its report. What do we learn? The nations of northern Europe, such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands, lavishly fund these enterprises (as does the United States). Foundations also donate heavily, most notably the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (about $2 million dollars a year) and the Rockefeller Foundation. We also learn that the United Nations Population Fund (which is supposed to be neutral on abortion) has donated $70 million over the years, and that, only last year, even UNICEF gave this Department of Reproductive Health and Research $30,000.
Holistic Approach. According to WHO, those who want a reduction in things such as maternal mortality and morbidity, and infant mortality, must accept the good with the bad. Or, even more radically, the good can only come with the bad: to reduce maternal mortality, the public health sector must increase access to contraceptives and to safe (legal) abortion services. These are testable premises. But where are the pro-life institutions with the requisite funding, reach, and legitimacy to counter the “consensus statements on controversial issues” emerging from WHO?
This public health challenge to the culture of life – that the consistent antithesis to this culture is actually morally superior to it, based upon large-scale public health outcomes – will prove extremely difficult to counter in the coming years. The RHR report illustrates that this viewpoint is expanding and being applied all over the world, as far away as, quite literally, outer-Mongolia. While the pro-life side – the Holy See, the Bush administration, pro-life lobbyists – has often won the rhetorical battles, especially by keeping the notion of “reproductive rights” out of binding UN documents, what this report makes clear is that it is losing, and losing badly, on the ground – where it counts.
And imagine if the situation were reversed. UN votes to make abortion a human right. (As if that can be determined by vote anyway). Some Catholic charity refuses to provide abortions. Accused of "imposing their viewpoints" on others. Shut down, de-funded, etc. That would definitely happen. Yet, for liberals, of course, they can do whatever they want.
This whole liberal nonsense about "the man" and "the machine," that is a bunch of crap. Organizations like WHO are "the man." Not George Bush, not big business. But these parapolitical organizations that go around killing babies. That is the real enemy.