Trudeau government at odds with global community

United-Nations-EmblemEvery March and April, thousands of women’s rights activists, feminists, and abortion supporters flock to the United Nations New York headquarters to take part in — and influence — two annual conferences on social and economic policies.

The 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which took place March 13-24 and the 50th Commission on Population and Development (CPD) which ran April 3-7, were expected to become the perfect platform for the Trudeau government to convince other nations to adopt Ottawa’s global abortion agenda, which was solidified by his recent $650 million commitment towards spreading abortion worldwide, especially in countries where it is currently illegal.

Campaign Life Coalition UN representative Matthew Wojciechowski told The Interim, Canada’s attempt to gain international support for Trudeau’s abortion obsession at these two conferences “was a bust.”

At both commissions, the majority of the delegates rejected “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” – SRHR, an umbrella term for abortion on demand, radical sex-education and sterilization programs. Moreover, unlike CSW where a consensus was reached, at CPD, the issue of SRHR and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), a radical form of sex-education, was so divisive that in the end, the commission did not adopt a consensus document at all, the second time in three years.

Wojciechowski said “this was a great victory for the pro-life side,” because if there is no document, there is no threat of harmful language making it into policy, and therefore abortion cannot be deemed a universal human right, as feminists have long clamoured for. Wojciechowski said, “this begs the question, if the majority of member states consider SRHR divisive and not a priority, why is the Liberal government committing $650 million to it.“

During the annual women’s conference, where consensus was reached, the majority of the UN membership made it clear that they did not want any references to abortion as a human right in the final document, much to the dismay of the Canadian and EU representatives who were at times the only ones pushing it.

Wojciechowski, who attended CSW with a small team from CLC, told The Interim that many delegations from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Asia were more focused on including language that re-affirmed the important role of the family, meeting genuine healthcare needs, and ensuring economic empowerment for women (which was the main theme of the commission), rather than pushing an abortion agenda.

“The pro-abortion Canadian representatives, together with delegations from Australia, New Zealand and the European Union, which is becoming increasingly divided, stuck out like a sore thumb in their continuous push for a universal right to abortion” said Wojciechowski. “Their priorities did not align with the priorities of the rest of the world,” he added. Campaign Life Coalition, one of a few Canadian pro-life NGO’s who attended, distributed postcards to delegates in order to inform them about Canada’s position, and as an opinion-seeking exercise, asking attendees what they would do with more than half a billion dollars. Almost all the delegates that spoke to CLC’s representatives disagreed with Canada’s misplaced abortion funding priorities, pointing to other urgent needs.

Wojciechowski said the United States closing statement was an encouraging sign of what might be ahead. During the eight years under Obama, the US administration championed the abortion issue at the UN. This year showcased a complete reversal on that. On the final day of the Commission, once an outcome document is consensually approved by the members, delegations have the opportunity to present short closing statements. In most cases, these statements include praises for the chairperson and the negotiation process as well as reservations towards parts of the document. The American statement distanced itself entirely from abortion support, by re-affirming that “sexual and reproductive health does not create new international rights, including a right to abortion.”

The United States also added that it, “does not support abortion in reproductive health assistance.” As a way to silence all the abortion supporters and critiques of Donald Trump bringing back the Mexico City Policy, the U.S. finished their statement by reminding everyone in the packed UN Chamber that the “the U.S. is the largest bilateral donor of maternal, newborn and child health assistance.”

Wojciechowski, who was there in the room with colleagues from other pro-life NGOs, said that while the American representative was reading the statement, “the silence in the room was deafening.” Wojciechowski said, “for the abortion activists, this was a massive blow to their efforts of the past eight years under the Obama administration.

A week following the annual women’s conference, the UN headquarters were once again abuzz with politicians and activists attending the Commission on Population and Development. At this conference, the abortion activists were again trying to enshrine abortion access as a right. According to Wojciechowski, the original draft document was problematic, containing unacceptable language on “abortion rights” and radical sex-education. This language was championed by the European Union, and supported by Canada. Some in that camp were also attempting to promote access to SRHR on young children. The linking of “abortion rights” and radical sex-education to young children was seen as going too far by many African delegations, and together with the U.S., they made it clear that they would not accept the text without amendments or a complete deletion of the controversial language. The European Union however, refused to make any compromises on their proposed pro-abortion language, and after a week of intense negotiations, this lack of co-operation, resulted in no outcome document. Wojciechowski said this was a very positive result for the pro-life side.

Wojciechowski points to the statement by the Holy See, which was delivered on the first day of CPD and “set the tone for the entire meeting.” According to CLC’s representative, it was a reminder to member states to always put the human person at the center of development. In his intervention to the commission, the Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, reminded member states that “while responsible parenthood and sexual behavior are always moral imperatives, the coercive regulation of fertility, especially under the guise of empowerment and rights, undermines individual freedom and responsibility.” He later hinted at the new form of ideological colonialism that some wealthy western nations are engaging in by imposing their ideas on developing nations, when he stated that the “respect for life from the moment of conception to natural death, must always inform policies, especially when it comes to international aid, which should be made available according to the real priorities of the receiving nation, and not by an imposed will of the donor.”

The archbishop concluded by re-affirming that the “right to life must also lead us to keep the elderly, the disabled and the most vulnerable at the forefront of our development policies.“