This week CWA’s Senior Advisor for Foreign Affairs attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held March 12-23 in New York City where UN member states met to address the priority theme “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”. The commission, held each year, is the main forum where international norms, policies, and programs are established with the goal of achieving protection, empowerment and rights for women.
High on the agenda for conservative and faith-based groups at CSW is to influence UN consensus to align with President Trump’s executive action to restore and extend the Mexico City Policy. The Mexico City Policy, originally introduced by the Reagan Administration in 1984, prohibits U.S. funds for family planning programs to go to any nongovernmental organization that promotes or performs abortion as a method of family planning. Trump’s executive order created the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) plan which expands the policy to include funding for all global health assistance programs, such as “HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, family planning and reproductive health.” Under PLGHA, any organization that offers abortion counseling or advocates for abortion rights in other countries is prohibited from receiving U.S. funding.
Conservative groups are working to strengthen that pro-life stance by calling for the rejection of abortion-related terms in UN negotiations such as “reproductive rights” or “sexual and reproductive health services”—ambiguous terms, often used to promote abortion as a method of family planning. These terms written in international policies and programming can ultimately undermine the U.S. policy goal of protecting life overseas. Meanwhile, liberal leftist organizations, which greatly outnumber conservative or faith-based organizations advocating at the UN, continue to press for “comprehensive” reproductive health services and rights (to include abortion) based on the tenet that these contribute to educational attainment, economic prosperity, and longevity for women around the world.
Why should Americans who value the tenets of family and life care about what happens in UN negotiations and resolutions? Currently the U.S. is the largest provider of money to the UN, contributing 22% of the UN budget in 2017 (i.e. your tax dollars) and supporting the approximately 40,000 UN staff members who are bound by and implement the policies and ideology established in UN resolutions. Perhaps more importantly, U.N. agreements often influence national law or policy and greatly contribute to the creation of national and international social norms.
Join with CWA as we advocate and fight for family values at the United Nations and around the world. We will continue to attend UN events to represent you and conservative Biblical principles and to address the most important challenges to family, life, and women’s well being in the international arena.