First, it used the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Then it used International Women’s Day. More recently, the United Nations pounced on World Health Day April 7 to push for what it sees as a universal right to abortion.
The call was a little more subtle this time, though, and was led by U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. In a World Health Day speech to health care professionals and public and private policymakers at World Bank headquarters in Washington, Clinton noted that in the time it took to deliver her speech, 15 women died around the world from pregnancy complications – including unsafe abortions.
“No woman should ever die in childbirth,” declared Clinton, in calling for renewed global attention to her version of maternal health through more “family planning” and pre-natal care programs. “The vast majority of these deaths and so much of that suffering could have been avoided.”
The theme of this year’s World Health Day was, of all things, “safe motherhood.”
Clinton, having just returned from Africa with husband Bill, cited UN statistics garnered through agencies such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF to show that 40 women have “unsafe” abortions every minute throughout the world. That led her to criticize conservative members of the U.S. Congress who try to block funding for international “family planning” organizations on the pretext that such funding supports abortions.
“We must invest in family planning. Without it, women often turn in desperation to illegal, unsafe abortion procedures that can account for up to half or more of all maternal deaths,” she claimed. “I would like to stress that point because there are some in our Congress and in our country who do not understand how providing family-planning services helps reduce the rate of abortion.”
Clinton was followed at the podium by Malaysian first lady Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, who parroted similar remarks. “Safe motherhood is a basic human right,” she said, calling for the elimination of social and cultural taboos that prevent women from making “reproductive decisions.”
“Women cannot be empowered in the face of the social, cultural and legal barriers that restrain them,” she said. “Women may have legal rights but they are still unable to exercise those rights and make choices.”
The remarks by Clinton and Ali followed the issuance of a World Bank report that stated more than 600,000 women who die yearly giving birth could be saved for as little as $2 a day worth of health care. The Bank announced it was joining forces with the World Health Organization, the UN and “other groups” to press for more “help” for women. That raises the spectre of the rabidly pro-abortion Planned Parenthood being among the “other groups” joining the fray.
“We have never taken enough concern about the rights of women,” said World Bank president James Wolfensohn. “Women are central to the development process.”
In tandem with World Health Day, the recent UN special conference on violence against women meeting in Sri Lanka said a proposed international criminal court should be able to hear cases of crimes against women and individuals should be allowed to petition it. Observers have suggested that such a court will be used to prosecute those who advocate “forced pregnancy,” which would include not only rape, but restrictions on abortion.
“Some countries are suggesting the Security Council should refer the cases,” said spokesperson Radhika Coomaraswamy. “This will be a real dilution. It should be individual petitions and independent prosecutors handling the cases. We want the court to deal with women’s issues, including sexual offences.”
Lawyers from more than 100 countries will meet in Rome in June to complete the plans for the international criminal court. The body will be separate from the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which hears only disputes between nations.
‘Gender issues training’
Coomaraswamy said she wants to see a refinement of existing humanitarian standards to deal with “violence” against women. This would include “gender issues training” for peacekeepers before they are sent into troubled areas.
The concept of an international court is receiving strong support from globalists in Canada. Lois Wilson, chair of the board of the International Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Development, and Fergus Watt, executive director of the World Federalists of Canada, said in a recent Toronto Star article that Canada has a key role to play in the establishment of such a court.
“(The court) will take action when national courts are either unavailable or ineffective,” they said, without explaining how the ineffectiveness of national courts would be determined. “It is also important that the new International Criminal Court have a strong, indepedendent prosecutor. Many states, fearful of losing sovereignty, want to restrict the role of the prosecutor through unnecessary requirements for state consent prior to initiating an investigation or prosecution.”
Wilson and Watt added that the existence of such a court will also “help erode the outdated notion” that the world is little more than a collection of nation-states. “It is an important step, conceptually and politically, from state-centred thinking to a framework in which the individual has broader rights and responsibilities under international law.”
In a related development, the Vatican was reported to have proposed replacing the term “enforced pregnancy” with “forced impregnation” during a New York preparatory conference for the International Criminal Court. The proposed substitute would focus any new criminal law on the act of rape, instead of the state of pregnancy. Pro-lifers fear the original term would leave open to persecution pro-life individuals and groups, and overturn pro-life legislation in individual nations.
The developments surrounding World Health Day and plans for an international court came on the heels of a shocking report out of London, England that population control lies behind UN health advice given to women.
The Scripps Howard News Service says the aid groups Save the Children and Oxfam have removed their names from a UN field manual being used for “reproductive health” in refugee camps throughout the world, saying it may harm and even kill women refugees.World Vision and Caritas International, meanwhile, have expressed serious reservations about the manual.
The agencies say the UN is failing to take into account the unsterile conditions and improperly trained staff often found in refugee camps. Other observers say women’s health interests have been hijacked by powerful, American population-control interests.
“This is taking huge risks with lives,” said Dr. Carole Collins of Oxfam. “There is considerable risk that using manual vaccum aspiration (an abortion method) in these camps will produce hemmorhaging, infection, the spread of HIV and perforation of the uterus. This would amount to clinical malpractice.”
Aid agencies say their concerns have been brushed aside in meetings with the UN over the past two years. Margaret Fyfe, a British aid worker, said it used to be common practice to refer refugees to the nearest hospital if they needed surgical work done. “In 15 years’ experience in refugee camps, I have never known women come to me and say they want an abortion. Women are mainly fleeing fighting. They rarely arrive with their husbands.”
Betsy Hartmann, an American expert on population-control politics, said the developments indicate a “confusion” between women’s health issues and a desire to curb Third World populations. She added that the U.S. State Department, which has helped fund the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, has been “preoccupied” with population control since the 1960s.