ufilogoThe Commission on Population and Development (CPD) met last week at the United Nations (UN). Not only did the members of the Commission develop policy, but some stood to courageously fight the ongoing battle to protect the family and innocent lives.

This year’s CPD was also the fifteenth anniversary of the International Commission on Population and Development (ICPD) that was held in Cairo in 1994. Formerly low-key, with the new Obama administration feeling its oats, CPD was a nest of activity and debate.

Radical non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and “progressive” member nations openly plotted on how to make reproductive rights the issue of the hour. Two vastly differing points of view were at odds – control and reduce population vs. support services to meet population needs.

It was clear early on that the United States, Canada and the European Union (with a few exceptions) were going to use this conference to push through language that could be interpreted as abortion rights. United Families and other pro-family organizations were on hand to witness some of the historic events that occurred.
The original draft document for CPD included language such as “comprehensive sex education”, “safe abortion”, “sexual and reproductive health and rights”. The latter term had never been used or defined by the body, and would most certainly be used by our opponents to promote the right to abortion. At an informal U.S. delegate/NGO meeting, the U.S. delegates were asked to define “reproductive rights” to which they declined.

United by the belief that life is sacred and that the family is first, Muslim and Catholic nations, fought hard against the pro-abortion language and instead stressed the need for basic education and health care, clean water, economic development and sanitation.

Demographically aging nations such as Russia, Japan, Croatia and Bulgaria reported on their reduced population rate and the challenges it brings. Educating the CPD nations and the need to make marrying and having babies a popular alternative was an interesting reality. To learn more about the world population crisis – click here to see Demographic Winter – the Decline of the Human Family a production of SRB Documentary, LLC.

The final hours of CPD as reported by C-Fam in tells a compelling story that illustrates the struggle smaller nations face when they go up against those with money and power. No matter, through caring enough about the issues of life and family, courage abounds.

Malta and St. Lucia, two of the smallest UN member nations, had their delegates bravely stand and defend their pro-life laws. Both feared that terms such as “‘reproductive rights,’ ‘reproductive services’ and ‘control of fertility’ from the ICPD provision on safe abortion “could lend itself to multiple interpretations, implying among other things, that abortion can be completely free of medical and other psychological risks, while ignoring altogether the rights of the unborn.”

On the last day of the third reading of the document, right before adoption of the draft document, the most controversial language – “sexual and reproductive health and rights” remained. When all appeared to be lost, the Muslim nation of Iran stood in protest at the use of the language. Echoing throughout the chamber, Iran’s delegate calmly stated that this language had never been included in any negotiated UN document before and insisted that the Commission follow protocol and use the “carefully negotiated language” from the Cairo ICPD Program of Action; language that all agree does not create any right to abortion.

Knowing that consensus was slipping away, the Chairwoman from Mexico put the meeting on hold and left the room. Upon her return she announced the acceptance of the Iranian proposal and struck the “sexual and reproductive health and rights” language from the document.

Consensus was reached, but seeing an opportunity, other pro-family nations including Ireland, Poland, Chile, Malta, Saint Lucia, Comoros and the Holy See stated for the record that the CPD adopted document did not create any new rights, nor did terms accepted in the document like “reproductive rights,” “reproductive health services” and “sexual and reproductive health”, “support, endorse or promote” abortion. Saint Lucia compelled to push on, emphasized the need for the Commission to recognize that not only did the document not create any new rights; it also recognized “the universal right to conscience can in no way be overridden or weakened.”

Against all odds a handful of dedicated and brave nations stood up to forces beyond our comprehension to protect families, life and national sovereignty. Doing what is right is not always easy. However, the presence of organizations like ours at these important UN conferences is imperative; making the odds better for families.

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