(NEW YORK – C-FAM) The Dominican Republic has come under fire from some of the world’s most powerful abortion advocates, aiming to block a proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine legal protection of the country’s unborn.
The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), backed by European nations, major foundations and the UN Population Fund, has launched an aggressive campaign to thwart proposed Article 30, which would protect human life “from conception.” The country’s national assembly approved the amendment in a first reading by an overwhelming majority of 167-32 on April 21st, but it must go through a second reading before final promulgation by the President.
IWHC is seeking to draw Dominicans into street protests and letter writing campaigns to the legislature claiming that Article 30 “violates international agreements signed and ratified by the Dominican Republic, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR], the American Convention on Human Rights [ACHR] and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW].”
In fact, the ACHR states that, “Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception.” The two UN treaties cited, ICCPR and CEDAW, do not mention abortion at all, and the committees that monitor them have come under increased scrutiny for reading a right to abortion into the treaties and pressuring States party to the treaties to liberalize abortion laws.
According to its latest annual report , IWHC’s largest backers for its $5.5 million annual contributions include the governments of Denmark, Britain, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), De Beers, and powerful foundations including Ford, the Open Society Institute, Hewlett, MacArthur, Packard, Rockefeller, Woodstock, and Bill & Melinda Gates. IWHC also holds $3 million in assets.
As its funding sources suggest, IWHC maintains strong ties to the population lobby from which it emerged. A recent history of population control details the Population Crisis Committee (today’s Population Action International) founded IWHC to distribute abortion kits in the 1980s. The Hewlett Foundation promoted IWHC to fund abortion that lost U.S. aid under the then newly-enacted “Mexico City Policy.” When “population control” fell out of favor in the midst of massive scandals, the major foundations and feminist organizations re-branded the movement as promoting women’s rights. Today, IWHC’s mission is promoting “sexual reproductive rights and health” for adolescent girls and women.
IWHC’s first president was Joan Dunlop, protégé of John D. Rockefeller, 3rd. Soon after the group’s founding Dunlop recruited Adrienne Germaine, IWHC’s current president from the Ford Foundation where she had successfully convinced Ford to include abortion services in its extensive population control programs. Germaine was a chief negotiator for the Clinton administration’s attempts to get abortion recognized as an international human right at the 1994 Cairo and 1995 Beijing UN conferences. When that effort failed, she joined an elite group of UN officials that launched the 1996 Glen Cove “Roundtable” Report . The report lays out a strategy, which IWHC is using in the Dominican case, to misuse UN human rights treaties to establish a right to abortion by claiming that it already exists.