Official delegate admits ‘reproductive services’ include abortion

A Canadian delegate at the recent PrepCom leading up to September’s Child Summit astonished pro-family advocates and social leftists alike when he acknowledged publicly that the euphemism “reproductive health services” means abortion. He added that it may not refer to abortion in the minds of other delegates, but it does when Canadian delegates to United Nations conferences use the phrase. The surprise among pro-lifers was not due to a lack of awareness of the intent behind the phrase. For years pro-life forces have been fighting such references in international agreements negotiated at UN conferences, convinced that they do refer to abortion. What astonished them was the admission of the same after so many years of militant denial. Doubly surprising was the fact that the acknowledgment of such an anti-child agenda came during negotiations allegedly devoted to a strategy for advancing the best interests of children.

Following the revelation from Andras Vamos-Goldman, who heads up Canada’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, several other delegates expressed their disgust, indicating that they would be pushing for an elimination of all such language wherever it is found in the document being negotiated. Within 48 hours of the revelation, at least two references to reproductive health care services had been eliminated from the document. The EU tried to introduce a new reference to “reproductive health” in the document, but were confronted by the Poles. The Vatican delegation said it would be recommending new wording for the Chapeau of the document where it would establish how the entire document is to be interpreted, forbidding a pro-abortion interpretation of any language in the main body of the agreement.

Indicating how important euphemisms and deception appear to be in UN negotiations, an EU delegate said, following the Canadian admission, “To make something so clear is not so necessary. Sometimes you have to have a high-level abstraction.” By the time the latest round of negotiations concluded, delegates had decided to define the reproductive services a little more specifically by referring to “basic services.” Pro-family Canadians were concerned from the outset at what Canada would bring to the Child Summit negotiations because, as Vivant, a publication of the NGO for Stable Families, noted in an issue published during the latest round of negotiations, this country “has acquired the reputation of being the most reliable pro-abortion and pro-homosexual delegation at the United Nations.” The Child Summit negotiating team is being led by Senator Landon Pearson, known domestically as a strong advocate for children, but from the leftist perspective that sees the state as superior to parents as providers for the needs of young people.

Andras Vamos-Goldman is the alternate head of the Canadian delegation after Mrs. Pearson. Another member of the Canadian delegation is Carole Morency, a lawyer with the Children and Youth section of the Canadian Justice Department. Another Canadian delegate, Diana Rivington, has been a policy advisor for CIDA (the Canadian International Development Agency), in the Women in Development and Gender Equity section. An Internet search indicates that she has also done work on “gender equality” beyond CIDA. John von Kaufmann is another Canadian delegate to the Child Summit. He has been representing Canada at the international level for several years. Delegate Marthe St. Louis is a bureaucrat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

With its anti-family views, Canada seems to be of one mind with the current UNICEF bureaucracy. From the outset of Child Summit negotiations, more traditional delegations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have been fighting UNICEF over the importance of the family. As critical as pro-family forces are of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which is supposed to be the guiding document for current discussions, this original child rights agreement had far more references to the importance of the family than anything UNICEF has introduced in the draft document currently being negotiated.

Some of the delegations from traditional Muslim countries joined the Holy See delegation and pro-family NGOs in criticizing the anti-family tone of the UNICEF-sponsored document. By this current PrepCom, delegates were looking at the third revision of the draft agreement, and the Islamic forces commended some improvements over earlier versions. But they were still very troubled. The document “still does not place enough emphasis on the family and parental authority,” they observed. It “does not refer to religion as an effective element in the development of the child,” they added. The Muslims also pointed out that the UNCRC “mentions the word ‘family’ not less than 16 times and the word ‘parent(s)’ not less than 32 times. We demand that the revised document adopt the same tone of respect for the family and the role of parents.”

Although homosexuality advocacy doesn’t seem to have played as high a profile in Child Summit negotiations as it has at other conferences, one attempt by Sweden to change a reference to family to “various forms of families” raised sharp opposition. An anonymous Latin American delegate, indicating that some negotiators see through the euphemistic cloud that settles over UN talks, told Vivant that Sweden’s proposal was “a clear reference to homosexuality. They want to say something without using the name.” He added: “I think the international community should start talking directly and without lies.” Muslims made the point that the negotiating document was lop-sided in more ways than simply its silence on the family. “HIV/AIDS is mentioned in 15 articles, while other diseases that threaten other societies receive little mention,” they said. Also, “it adopts a general Western attitude on some issues: it accepts pre-marital sex (Articles 30a, 39c) but does not accept early marriage (Article 36n) …. Why is it acceptable for girls to have early pre-marital sex, but not acceptable for them to marry?” Another controversial point at the negotiations was the question of abstinence as part of the recommendations for sex education. At this point, the United States’ new Bush Administration negotiating team made its presence known, to the ire of other western delegates, but to the praise of many developing countries. Michael Ochieng, director of operations for the African Youth Alliance also commended the U.S. “It’s wonderful to note that the world’s leading superpower is advocating a message that few nations will stand up for,” he said.

As a result of the controversies surrounding the draft document at the end of the PrepCom, delegates were unable to arrive at a consensus agreement. Since delegates like to show up at their final conferences with a document in hand and ready to sign, they are expected to schedule one last “intersessional” meeting between now and September to give them one more opportunity to wrestle through their disagreements.