UNICEF’s Collaborators

Among the recommendations which UNICEF endorsed at a 1987 Kenya Conference were:

“Community education programmes should emphasize the risks involved in pregnancy in order to ensure social support of contraceptive practice.”

“This conference…calls on the sponsoring organizations to further extend their collaboration at a notional level…”

Two of the sponsoring collaborators of UNICEF are perhaps less well known.  The Population Council was established in New York in 1952 as a professional organization to study all aspects of population problems: political, legal, medical and technical.  It is credited with the development of an IUD, the Lippes Loop.

In 1976 a new president, George Neidenstein, recommended changes in policy.  These included:

  • That the Council’s purpose should be to “stimulate, encourage, promote, conduct, support…abortion.”
  • That its Bio-Medical Centre engage in “mission-oriented research” on abortion technology.
  • That the organization adds abortion to the “range of services” it provides.

Between the years 1987 to 1991 (according to the UNFPA Inventories) the Population Council, together with the government of China, was involved in trials of NORPLANT.  This long-lasting, under-the-skin contraceptive, whose safety and side-effects were still under study and unknown, was “tried out” on Chinese women.

A UNFPA Inventory contains this item about the UN Development Plan (UNDP).  “At its thirty-sixth session in June 1989 the UNDP Governing Council approved UNFPA’s third program of assistance to the Government [China] to the amount of $57 million for five years to support a national population programme.”  The evils of this programme are well known: forced abortion up to and including the ninth month; one-child families; permission needed to have a child; menstrual extraction (a very early abortion).

From 1987 onwards, UNICEF not only endorsed abortion, but also an increased collaboration with agencies whose agendas included contraceptives, sterilization and abortion (often under political coercion).

The Vatican and UNICEF

There was increasing pressure also within UNICEF itself for a greater role in providing a wider access to abortion services.  At the opening general debate at the UNICEF Executive Board Meeting in New York, April 16, 1990, member states were not only agitating for a more active campaign to support abortion but some European countries were even proposing that UNICEF should “become an advocate for abortion in countries where sovereign legislation does not allow it.”

Archbishop Renato R. Martino, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, and his staff acted quickly.  That evening they drafted a response to these proposals and sent it to Rome for approval.  The next evening, April 17, 1990, Archbishop Martino addressed this issue in his speech to the Executive Board.  His statement said:

“The Holy See views with great alarm some repeated proposals that this United Nations agency, established for the well-being of children, become involved in the destruction of existing human life, even to the point of suggesting that UNICEF become an advocate for abortion in countries whose sovereign legislation does not allow it.  The Holy See firmly opposes such proposals not only on moral grounds, but also because they would bring a totally unacceptable deviation from the stated purpose of UNICEF in favour of children.  Moreover, such proposals appear to reveal a dangerous form of neo-colonialism – to which the developing countries are justifiably sensitive – where the mighty will try to impose on the less powerful the adoption of practices contrary to those cultural, social, moral and religious values which have historically formed their heritage and have sustained them in their difficult path to independence and development.”

The next day, April, 18, 1990, Msgr. Dominic J. Bottino who had been present during the debate, said in an interview with Catholic News Service: “We see the beginnings of an aggressive plan to put this idea of becoming a conduit of abortion services in the agenda of UNICEF.”  He added that some government representatives spoke openly and directly in favour of an active abortion campaign, but others used only “code-words” in relation to family planning.

The use of code-words in discussing abortion is not new.  In 1980, Donald D. Warwick, an Institute Fellow of the Harvard Institute for International Development, said that agencies used code-words when discussing their “clandestine” activities in providing abortion services.  In his article “Foreign Aid for Abortion” in the Hastings Centre Report, April 1980, Warwick explained that not only was abortion illegal in many countries but it was also against the 1973 Helms Amendment, which forbade the use of funds for the direct support of abortion.  Data on international aid for abortion “were typically not reported at all” or “buried under such generic manes and euphemisms as ‘surgical methods of family planning’ or ‘menstrual regulation.’”

The most common procedure, uterine aspiration (in which the womb is emptied) went under various code-phrases, especially “menstrual regulation” and “menstrual induction” and “almost all the organizations active overseas distribute kits for this purpose.”  There are no records of these abortions, and the agencies claimed to be lily-white.

Code-phrases were used to camouflage the strictly illegal importation of abortive devices into the Phillipines.  The Family Planning Organization of the Phillipines – an affiliate of IPPF – distributed menstrual-regulation kits which “were brought into the country as ‘medical instruments’ to obtain ‘sample tissue for examination.’”

It is important to note that the Hastings Centre is far from being a pro-life hot bed, and that the article was intended to highlight the misuse of USAID funds for covert abortion practices.  It helps to explain how good people are misled.

An Increased push for contraceptives

Evidence of UNICEF’s involvement in contraceptives continues to mount.  The 1988 UNFPA Annual Report noted that UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA were collaborating in a “strategy for action in the reproductive health of adolescents.”  For its part, UNICEF published Facts for Life 1988) a booklet promoting birth control.  The booklet stresses the use of contraceptives (the only method mentioned) and states that “family planning services will have to be made available for all.”  One of its four “prime messages” is: “Contraceptives give couples the choice of when to begin having children, how many to have, how far apart to have them, and when to stop.”

There is, of course, no mention of the fact that most contraceptives are abortifacients.

In its annual reports, the State of the World’s Children, 1991 and 1992, UNICEF has stressed that its goal is family planning and service for all, by the year 2000.  Natural Family Planning is not mentioned, but, by contrast, there is strong emphasis on the importance of the “availability of contraceptives ’for population control’.”  The 1992 report concludes: “…that an effort now be made, on an entirely new scale, to put the knowledge and the means of family planning at the disposal of every couple of child-bearing age before the end of this present century.”  (our emphasis)

There is also a chilling suggestion that World government might play a part by 2000 A.D.

Policies are all on record

There need be no confusion or doubt about UNICEF’s policies and activities.  UNICEF is a government organization and its proceedings and finances are a matter of public record.  Just as Hansard records debates in Parliament, so do the UN Documents record the meetings of UNICEF’s Executive Board.  Thus the Executive Board’s approval of a recommendation to “authorize UNICEF to include contraceptives in the supplies which can be provided on governmental request’ can be found in UN DocE/ICEF/SR 404 (1970).  Indeed the whole debate of the 395th to 404th meetings in 1970 is reported in: UN Docs. E/ICEF/SR 395-408 (1970).

In the same way the UNFPA’s Inventories of Population Projects in Developing Countries Around the World are annual government accounts of the budget and expenditures of UN agencies in the population control programme.  These are UN official records of UNICEF’s financial dealings in contraceptives and sterilization, and they are public records.

It is a mistake to think of UNICEF as a charity like Easter Seals or Operation Eyesight which are run by people with a personal interest in the cause.  By contrast, UNICEF is an international government organization controlled by an Executive Board of UN representatives from 41 nations, all with their own agendas.  The fundraisers and those who work to feed and clothe the impoverished children are not involved.

In the 1066 debate one delegate said: “It would be wrong for UNICEF to depart from its mandate of saving children to engage in activities to prevent them from being born.”  The pity is that he was not heeded.