UN Speak at the CSW: New Wine in Old Bottles

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United Nations: New York City – The 56th annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) continues its attempts to spread its radical interpretations of “women’s rights” around the globe as it promotes “reproductive rights” (abortion) and gender equity (quotas) through both representatives of Member States and powerful non-government organizations (NGOs). This year, the CSW, which claims to be a global policy-making body, has even more power through its relationship with UN Women: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women is a new office created in 2010 and described as an “historical step in accelerating the [UN’s] goals on gender equity and the empowerment of women.” UN Women brought together four previously distinct parts of the UN system devoted to women’s issues to form an overarching UN division that gives women unprecedented global influence.

Michelle Bachelet, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with studies in military strategy and the former first female president of Chile, was brought in to be the first head of UN Women. In 2006, Forbes Magazine named Mrs. Bachelet the “most powerful woman in the world.” With the broad portfolio of her new UN position, it could be argued that she is now even more truly the most powerful woman in the world. Bachelet is charged with leading an entity with the express purpose of holding the UN system accountable for its commitment to implementing global policies, standards and norms regarding the “basic human right” of gender equity and monitoring their implementation. That’s pretty heady stuff!

Bachelet, who went through several rocky periods during her presidency, ended her term with an 84 percent approval rating even though in many respects she fundamentally transformed her country (that sounds eerily like another president’s goals). Bachelet, who married twice, had three children and had two affairs, introduced pay equality legislation in Chile, she expanded the bureaucracy by creating two education regulatory bodies, and perhaps most controversial of all, she decreed the free distribution of “morning after” pills to women over 14 years of age without parental consent. Naturally, these moves made her a favorite with the current U.S. administration and, in 2009, she received a $4 billion economic stimulus package from the U.S. for Chile to cope with the “global financial crisis.”

Sustainable Development Goals: One of this year’s new tactics at the UN is to combine feminism with environmentalism — thus capitalizing on the “greencraze” and spreading it globally – to expand the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The newly-established Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) add an overlay of concerns for environmental impact (broadly interpreted) to the economic focus of the MDGs. The concept of sustainability as well as environmentalism includes, of course, population control, i.e., the earth cannot “sustain” so many human beings. In some countries abortion facilities are convincing a woman to have an abortion by telling her that, in these days, a baby is a burden on society and that it is irresponsible for her to choose to have her baby. Ergo: abortion is the key for population control and sustainability (just as abortion was one of the eight MDGs and was central to the attainment of each of them) as well as essential for women to achieve success and significance. Therefore, the theme of the SDGs is “demography, not destiny.” Climate change is also a big emphasis at the CSW with the bottom line being that too many people is the problem. [The UN ignores the fact that the biggest problem facing Member States is underpopulation, not overpopulation; abortion doesn’t fit into the false theme of overpopulation.]

Maternal Bullying: Another tactic is to create a narrative about “maternal bullying,” which means convincing women that marriage is detrimental to a woman’s future and that, once married, a man will control a woman’s life by violence and abuse – especially when she is pregnant. The new term, “maternal bullying,” also encompasses the idea of male irresponsibility and that society discriminates against women because of their maternity. Michelle Bachelet was wildly applauded when she told a personal story during her speech at a UN Women’s event during the CSW. She said her mother told her, “If you want, you can marry . . . but you can do much better than that! Bachelet went on to say, “When women don’t have economic independence, it’s very difficult to have our rights respected.”

In addition to these highly controversial actions, according to a flyer produced by the NGO Pro-Life and Pro-Family Coalition, Bachelet founded the “Chile Grows With You” program that provides protections for children beginning during pregnancy and assists the mother so that she is “oriented, she is guided, to stimulate to the greatest extent possible the life of the child to be born.” The program, according to coordinator Elizabeth Bunster, “is consonant with Chile’s legal protection prohibiting all abortion and recognizing mother and child as having an equal right to life in law.” A significant end result of these efforts is that Chile has the lowest maternal mortality rate in all of Latin America. The coalition also praised the television videos that were produced when Bachelet was president; they said, these are “among the most creative, effective, entertaining and touching spots showing how mother and child truly ‘are connected.'”

Social Protection Floor: A new term has entered the UN lexicon: social protection floor. This concept is an entitlement program establishing economic minimums for the whole world based on the belief that everyone must have healthcare, food and decent work with income that does not fall below a minimum. A common theme is that a tiny tax on everyone would solve the problems of everyone. [There is no mention, of course, of how and who would impose the tax or any consideration of how to avoid corruption and fraud.] The concept of a “social protection floor” also includes the idea that if we would just “stop the wars” there would be plenty of money to go around. While such thinking is utopian, it is solidly entrenched in UN-speak.

The CSW is unique because NGO parallel events are integral to the overall deliberations. While the majority of the parallel events are held off the UN campus, they are part of the official program and a source of information for Member State delegates on the issues confronting the CSW. NGOs use the seminars to inform and lobby delegates as well as to network with like-minded NGOs. Though the Pro-Life and Pro-Family Coalition is becoming more influential and there are more opportunities for us to hold parallel events, the vast majority of the events are cutting-edge in radical ideology. They give substance to the UN speak and show how the radical feminist agenda works in real life. A video in one of the sessions illustrates the kind of distorted feminism that prevails at the CSW. The video featured a mother of several children walking past the crib of her sleeping baby boy and declaring, “I wanted to abort that one, but my husband wouldn’t let me.” While both pro-life and pro-abortion people cringe at such words, pro-lifers are sad about the mother’s calloused attitude toward her child and the bitterness against her husband; pro-abortion people are irate because a woman “had to carry” an “unwanted” child to term and because they view her as a victim of her husband’s dominance and brutish behavior.

Every year at the CSW brings fresh slogans, new tactics, and controversial messages in colorful and appealing packaging, but the “new wine” comes from the same old “wineskins.”

Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., is representing CWA at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, now in session in New York City. She is Senior Fellow of CWA’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.