Reproductive Rights Gone Wrong

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Two of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA’s) experts are attending the 50th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held February 27-March 10 at United Nations headquarters in New York. Wendy Wright, CWA’s President, will be directing efforts of the pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family citizen lobbyists during the session’s second week. Miss Wright has attended and reported on U.N. conferences on women, population and cloning since 1997.

Dr. Janice Crouse, who heads CWA’s think tank, The Beverly LaHaye Institute, will report on and analyze the current CSW sessions. Dr. Crouse has particular expertise on emphases at this year’s CSW: violence against women, sex trafficking, Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), women’s empowerment, and women’s political participation. Her report follows.

As usual, it’s important to read the fine print whether it is a contract or a U.N. agreement. This week at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, some digging into the fine print of old and new documents yielded startling discoveries.

Pro-life advocates have avoided using the term “reproductive services” because in U.N.-speak the phrase includes abortion; instead, we have used the term “reproductive health” care. Now, we find that “reproductive health” has been essentially re-defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The rabbit trail goes like this: At the U.N.’s Cairo convention in 1994, the term “reproductive health” included “regulation of fertility.”

So far, so good.

Then, along comes the WHO to define “fertility regulation” to include “interrupting unwanted pregnancies” (abortion). Oops, now there are problems; the left has, once again, usurped language for its purposes so that documents already agreed upon have new and different meanings, and an unwary step is taken into a carefully laid trap during the discussion of current documents.

Negotiating at the U.N. is not for the ill-prepared or the inexperienced! Delegates and nongovernmental organization (NGO) representatives have to constantly stay on their toes.

At this point, some readers are no doubt confused. After all, the 50th CSW is focusing on the participation of women in development and women’s advancement. Some might wonder how reproductive rights fit into those topics. Silly you! Aren’t logical stretches good for health?

Now, it gets even more far-fetched.

Every single paragraph in the section on health is about reproductive health. Further and amazingly, reproductive health is separated from maternal and child health. In fact, there is a distinct hostility toward public health that focuses on maternal and child health. One would think that the only health problems women face concern reproduction.

Nothing NOTHING is mentioned about any of the top diseases that kill women. Heart disease and stroke are the #1 and #3 killers of women, and they kill more than the next seven causes of death combined-including all forms of cancer. Neither is mentioned.

Nothing NOTHING is mentioned about diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, which kill millions of poor people every year. Preventable diseases like measles and diarrhea stem from the lack of essential health services, money for medical treatment and adequate sanitation. One would think these basic health necessities would be the top priorities in advancing women’s health, well-being and development.

Yet, the health section of the document from the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women mentions none of the diseases that cause so many tragic deaths. Instead, the document mentions only reproductive health (meaning abortion).

That’s how sadly out of touch is the United Nations; that’s how totally subservient the United Nations is to the left.

Three days remain in the 50th session of the CSW. Nations like Egypt, Sudan and Pakistan are taking the lead in challenging the current emphasis on reproductive health to the exclusion of every other health concern of women around the world.

There is an orchestrated campaign underway to preserve abortion even when Roe v. Wade is overturned in the United States (and, interestingly, the left assumes that it will be overturned). Documents from the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP) clearly state that with the expected overturn of Roe, when the United States no longer protects abortion, the United Nations must guarantee that the right to abortion be protected as “an internationally recognized human right by treaties ratified by the United States Senate (a reference to the CEDAW treaty now at the Senate), international conference documents endorsed by the United States and customary international law.”

No wonder desperation is so apparent in the attempt to force the United States to ratify CEDAW.

No wonder the CSW deliberations take on a new seriousness in these days after two new justices (both considered to be conservative) sit on the Supreme Court.

These meetings are totally predictable now more than ever in that it all comes down to abortion, all the time, every time, without fail, regardless of the announced agenda

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, twice a former United States Delegate to the U.N., is a CWA representative to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.

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