Rigging the System: Unraveling the Scheme to Steer Funding and Power to Abortion Groups Through the United Nations

June 2, 2011 04:52

Transnationalism is a legal theory that cedes national power to international bodies like the UN. Opinions from international bodies are perceived as authoritative or superior to national laws, even when the body doesn’t have representatives from one’s country or is made up of nonaffiliated so-called “experts.” In other words, they are unelected and unaccountable.

By Wendy Wright, President Concerned Women for America

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) tells women how to commit illegal abortions on themselves. It trains activists how to pressure governments – with admittedly misleading and false information – to believe that nations are legally obliged to overturn their pro-life laws.

And its top leader was chosen by Hillary Clinton’s State Department to be on a U.S. delegation to the United Nations (UN).

Not for just any meeting, but one that would negotiate issues like “reproductive rights” (i.e. abortion) and government funding for groups that work on reproductive issues. Also present at this little-noticed UN conference was Gill Greer, the Director-General of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), another abortion group that stands to gain from manipulating obscure UN documents.

The IWHC is an advocacy group representing the extreme of the global abortion movement. It claims to work on issues that empower women, yet its narrow realm of interest is sex and abortion. Like Planned Parenthood, IWHC hijacks real problems like HIV/AIDS and violence against women as vehicles to push “sexual and reproductive justice.”

IWHC president Adrienne Germain hid the controversial focus of her work from fellow UN delegates by benignly introducing herself as a “demographer.”

The UN meeting she attended as a U.S. delegate immediately raises concerns of conflict of interest. The 2011 Commission on Population and Development debated “Fertility, Reproductive Health and Development.” A group like IWHC and their ideological allies stand to benefit politically and financially from the commission. By how much depends on the outcome of negotiations.

And a group like IWHC, which misrepresents UN documents and opinions, is sure to do mischief with a document that its president helped write.1

For years, abortion groups have attempted to fabricate a universal right to abortion by trying to insert code phrases (like “reproductive services”) into UN documents. The UN’s veneer of respectability comes from the claim that it represents the views of the world. But its structure (and immense funding) is tempting for people, groups or countries to use as a means to impose their views onto the world and steer money to their cause. They want to use the UN to advance their agenda in their own and other countries without the mess of gaining public support and going through the democratic process.

The thinking is as simple as this: get your cause, or a code phrase, mentioned in a UN document, resolution or treaty. (Or, as IWHC has done, creatively “interpret” existing language in UN documents.) Then get activists inside countries to tell unsuspecting (or colluding) government officials that these documents create international rights that countries are obligated to enforce. Then file complaints in courts claiming the nation is somehow violating this fabricated “right.”

Illegal Acts and Illegitimate Opinions

Transnationalism is a legal theory that cedes national power to international bodies like the UN. Opinions from international bodies are perceived as authoritative or superior to national laws, even when the body doesn’t have representatives from one’s country or is made up of nonaffiliated so-called “experts.” In other words, they are unelected and unaccountable. As expected, only opinions that reach progressives’ desired goals are considered guiding.

A number of left-leaning academics, lawyers, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) promote this form of rule-by-elites whereby international experts concoct international law. Joining this top-down approach are progressive non-government organizations that create pressure from bottom-up, through vocal and abrasive on-the-ground activists.

IWHC and IPPF are groups that apply both the top-down and bottom-up approach. They work with elites to write their pet “rights” into documents that they then call internationally recognized law. And they train activists to challenge or violate laws on abortion or sex-related crimes as their “right.”

For example, IPPF’s “Criminalize Hate, Not HIV”2 campaign insists that people with HIV/AIDS have the right to have sex, and that right includes not telling their partner that they have HIV/AIDS. Its promotional video appears to endorse homosexual sex, drug use and prostitution, three of the most high-risk behaviors for transmitting HIV.

IPPF’s sex guide titled “Healthy, Happy and Hot”3 declares “You have the right to decide if, when and how to disclose your HIV status” and:

“Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else. These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”

International Women’s Health Coalition offers a how-to guide on self-abortions4 for early and late pregnancies. It claims the method is “safe” yet, conflictingly, advises going to the hospital once the drug starts working in late pregnancies and when a woman experiences complications that are known to occur from the drug. It also explains how to hide evidence of the drug from medical personnel. For women in countries without access to penicillin, clean water or a hospital, IWHC is putting women in grave risk.

IPPF and IWHC both advocate for comprehensive sex education and partnered with other groups to produce their own curriculum called “It’s All in One.”5 Among the controversial issues that the curriculum presents as acceptable are: prostitution, advocating for abortion and same-sex marriage (but not pro-life measures or traditional marriage), and changing sex through surgery. It demeans: traditional gender roles, marriage, and abstaining from sex before marriage.

Comprehensive sex education promotes non-marital sex, sex as recreation, and early sexual initiation. Yet early and non-marital sex have been linked to unhealthy behaviors, abuse, disease, and damaging people’s ability to bond. So-called “age-appropriate” guidelines from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS):

• teaches masturbation at every age level beginning at 5 years old,
• introduces abortion to 9- to 12-year-olds as a “very safe” option and a “right” to 12- to 15-year olds,
• introduces homosexuality to 5- to 8-year-olds,
• introduces 9- to -12-year-olds to bisexuality and gender confusion (“Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or a combination of these”),
• teaches 12- to 15-year-olds about “transgender,”
• teenagers with questions are told to consult a “knowledgeable adult” (parents are not mentioned), and
• the first lesson taught to 5-year-olds about family is the definition, “A family consists of two or more people who care for each other in many ways.”

The graphic nature of comprehensive sex education and its distortion of human nature and family destroys children’s innocence, separates children from parents and family, emotionally isolates women and men, encourages self-centeredness and using people for their own pleasure, and distorts a child’s concept of healthy sexuality and marriage.

Yet if the promoters of comprehensive sex education listened to kids, they would learn that a majority of both older and younger teens who have sex wish they had waited.6

IWHC’s reckless attitude toward women’s health extends to the law. It goes beyond the transnationalist approach to unilaterally reinterpret documents to say what they want them to say.

IWHC’s manual on “Expanding Access to Safe Abortion”7 describes how to misinterpret UN documents to argue that countries must provide access to abortion. It generously admits that to do so the agreements must be “viewed from the most favorable lens.”

Through this blurred lens, they claim that language on family planning or “matters related to sexuality” includes a right to abortion. They hold this belief despite explicit statements in UN documents such as “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning.”

Many countries publicly stated at the time they agreed to certain UN documents that they did so with the understanding that they do not allow abortion. Their written reservations, included in the documents, affirm, “life must be protected from the moment of conception,” “we should never include abortion within these concepts, either as a service or as a method of regulating fertility,” “so long as these terms do not include ‘abortion’ or ‘termination of pregnancy’,” and “every person has a right to life, this being a fundamental and inalienable right, and that this right begins from the very moment of conception.”

With fingers in their ears, IWHC ignores these statements. It declares, “The right to security of person can be interpreted to mean that a woman must not be coerced either to carry a pregnancy to term or to end it, and that she has the right to decide for herself whether to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.”

The right to health “can be interpreted and applied to argue that, in order for women to achieve the highest standard of health, they must have access to safe abortion services.”

A woman’s “right to the benefits of scientific progress, and the right to receive and impart information” is expanded to mean the right to access new technologies “such as medical abortion.”

In a nod to the fact that their expanded definitions are illusory, the manual admits, “These rights could be – but have not yet been – explicitly used to promote legal access to all methods of abortion.”

Even more confessional, it states:

“The international conference and human rights documents cited above do not explicitly assert a woman’s right to abortion, nor do they legally require safe abortion services as an element of reproductive health care … Despite these qualifications, however, the conference documents and human rights instruments – if broadly interpreted and skillfully argued – can be very useful tools in efforts to expand access to safe abortion.”

Revealing Tactics

Diplomatic skirmishes break out several times a year as countries and groups like Concerned Women for America (CWA) tackle schemes to invent international rights or to turn representative systems into top-down dictatorial systems.

The 2011 UN Commission on Population and Development revealed another tactic. Present a draft document for delegates to negotiate. Keep adding to it rather than paring it down, wearing out delegates (particularly those from smaller countries without large delegations) with late-night negotiations. Then, with only a few hours remaining, the chairman scraps the document and introduces his own version that includes controversial sections but deletes select parts, some for which there was strong support.

As the clock ticks down, delegates will band together to re-insert the portions with the most support (i.e. the least controversial). Exhausted, late on Friday night, they’ll be glad to have gotten those back in, even as parts that were highly controversial and contested make it into the final version.

The end product is not a reflection of universal opinion. But it is a clever way to rig the system. As the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute reported:

“Twenty three countries opposed ‘sexuality education’ for children as young as ten years old which was proposed by the U.S. while only two other countries supported it. Yet there were five references to it or to ‘sex education’ throughout the document. Twenty two Arab states, joined by Malta, Poland, the Holy See and various other nations objected time and again to ‘reproductive health services,’ a term often used by UN staff to include abortion, but it was included nonetheless.”

So, what else made it into this document8 that Adrienne Germain helped negotiate?

  • A demand for funding “at the national and international levels, as well as new and additional resources … from all available funding mechanisms, including multilateral, bilateral and private sources, and that Governments are not expected to meet the goals and objectives … single-handedly.”

In other words, funding is expected from every source imaginable, and non-governmental groups that work on “reproductive” issues should play an important role. Like, presumably, IWHC and International Planned Parenthood.

  • “…Expanding access to sexual and reproductive health information and health services is essential…” and, “Urges also Governments and development partners … that they prioritize universal access to sexual and reproductive information and health-care services…”

Unsurprisingly, IWHC and International Planned Parenthood provide so-called sexual and reproductive information and services.

  • “Emphasizes the need to strengthen policy and programme linkages and coordination between HIV and AIDS and sexual and reproductive health and their inclusion in national development plans, including poverty reduction strategies…”

The massive funding for HIV/AIDS, and the emotional appeal of poverty reduction have been tempting sources for abortion advocates to connect their issues to. At the Women Deliver conference in 2007, abortion leaders openly talked about strategies to link their issues with HIV/AIDS in order to access the billions of dollars flowing to the treatment and prevention of that disease.

  • “Stresses that Governments and development partners, through international cooperation, should ensure that family planning programmes have a sufficient and continuous supply of safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern contraceptives;”

This is an attempt to obligate governments to provide a product, in this case contraceptives. That would guarantee unending income for family planning groups.

  • “…Countries must ensure that the programmes and attitudes of health-care providers do not restrict the access of adolescents to appropriate services and the information they need, including on sexually transmitted infections and sexual abuse, and recognizes that in doing so, and in order to, inter alia, address sexual abuse, these services must safeguard the rights of adolescents to privacy, confidentiality, respect and informed consent, respecting cultural values and religious beliefs, and that in this context, countries should, where appropriate, remove legal, regulatory and social barriers to reproductive health information and care for adolescents;”

This “children’s rights” approach strikes a blow to parental rights and the ability of physicians to provide conscientious care to patients according to ethical beliefs. It allows groups like Planned Parenthood to hide criminal activity from the authorities, and allows unscrupulous adults to gain access to minors.

  • “Calls upon Governments, with the full involvement of young people and with the support of the international community, to give full attention to meeting the reproductive healthcare service, information and education needs of adolescents to enable them to deal in a positive and responsible way with their sexuality;”

This, again, shunts parents aside. Granting rights to adolescents which they are not mature enough to handle makes them vulnerable to manipulative adults.

  • “Encourages Governments to ensure that adequate financial and technical resources and information necessary for the effective participation of non-governmental organizations in the research, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of population and development activities should, if feasible and if requested, be made available to the non-governmental sector by Governments, intergovernmental organizations and international financial institutions in a manner that will not compromise their full autonomy;”

Translation: Governments and international financial institutions should supply money and resources at the request of non-governmental groups, with no strings attached.

  • “Calls upon the international community to assist Governments to reduce unmet needs for family planning by increasing financial resources … especially in the area of family planning and commodities within primary health care systems, ensuring that funding lines for family planning programmes and commodities are included in national budget formulations and that funding enables the development of quality, comprehensive and integrated reproductive health programmes;”

“Unmet need” is a slippery term created by abortion groups, a fabricated number of people who do not use birth control. It is comparable to an auto company manufacturing a number for all the people who do not own its cars, and, assuming those people want its cars, consider that an “unmet need.” Then, they expect governments to include a permanent line in their budgets to pay for those “unmet needs” as well as related programs. It amounts to a permanent source of funding for select groups.

Surprise Ending

One addition to the document, however, serves to undercut the gains for transnational-advocating abortion groups. A hard-fought-for section recognizes national sovereignty, and the right of countries to determine their priorities and respect religious and ethical beliefs. It reads:

“Reaffirms the sovereign right of each country to implement recommendations of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development or other proposals in this resolution, consistent with national laws and development priorities, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people, and in conformity with universally recognized international human rights;”

Delegates who argued for the sections on “reproductive health” and funding were reportedly visibly angry that this affirmation of national sovereignty and respect for ethical values made it into the final document.

Government officials should be aware when confronted with activists who claim an “international right” to abortion, comprehensive sexual education and funding for “reproductive services” that this is merely a scheme orchestrated by groups that profit from abortion.

About the Author: Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, is a veteran prolife activist who promotes pro-family policies, equips citizen activists, and inspires audiences to take action. She has trained pro-families leaders in Mexico, met with Kosovo’s president and members of Parliament on its new constitution, was an International Election Observer for the 2009 Honduran elections, taught at the Sri Lanka Bible College, and advocated for Chinese refugees who had fled forced abortions.

She has been quoted or published in every national news outlet from New York Times to Los Angeles Times and appeared on radio programs and every major TV news network. Wendy was named among “The 100 Most Powerful Women of Washington” in 2006 by Washingtonian Magazine. The National Pro-Life Religious Council awarded Wendy for her “continuous leadership in the cause of life.” Inside The Vatican magazine named Wendy one of the Top Ten People of 2010. The Patriot Republican Women’s Club honored her with their “Character Counts Award.”


1 In full disclosure, a representative from Concerned Women for America has served on a US delegation to the UN, and the author was considered for serving on one. However, CWA does not seek privileges or funding from governments; believes America, not the UN, should decide our laws; and rejects the notion of “transnationalism.”
2 “Criminalize Hate Not HIV,” International Planned Parenthood Federation, July 2010, http://www.ippf.org/en/Resources/Films/Criminalize+Hate+Not+HIV.htm, accessed May 24, 2011.
3 “Healthy, Happy and Hot,” International Planned Parenthood Federation, January 2010, http://www.ippf.org/NR/rdonlyres/B4462DDE-487D-4194-B0E0-193A04095819/0/HappyHealthyHot.pdf, accessed May 24,2011.

4 “Abortion With Self-Administered Misoprostol: A Guide For Women,” International Women’s Health Coalition, http://www.iwhc.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3747&Itemid=1324, accessed May 24, 2011.
5 “It’s All in One,” International Women’s Health Coalition, November 2010, http://blog.iwhc.org/wpcontent/uploads/2010/11/2010PGY_ItsAllOneGuidelines_en.pdf, accessed May 24, 2011.
6 “Sexual Activity and Youth,” Institute for Youth Development, October 1998, http://www.youthdevelopment.org/download/sex.pdf, accessed May 24, 2011.
7 “Expanding Access to Safe Abortion,” International Women’s Health Coalition, December 1998, http://www.iwhc.org/storage/iwhc/docUploads/ExpandingAccess_English.pdf?documentID=3, accessed May 24, 2011.
8 “Resolution adopted at the closing plenary session: Fertility, reproductive health and development,” UN Commission on Population and Development, April 15, 2011, http://www.un.org/esa/population/cpd/cpd2011/cpd44-resolution.pdf, accessed May 24, 2011.

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