NEW YORK, August 21 (C-Fam) UN agencies and bureaucrats have been part of the global abortion industry for over two decades. But they have never had much ability to compel countries to change their abortion laws. Even though the new UN development goals contain no new language to support a right to abortion, the document nonetheless will open up additional avenues for abortion groups to pressure countries to change their laws.
The newly minted Sustainable Development Goals, the most important UN agreement involving social policy for over two decades, continue to place abortion squarely in UN policy under the guise of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. This is not new. But the new goals present grave new challenges to the pro-life cause.
The goals will be the mainstay of UN policy for the next 15 years. They follow the model of the UN Millennium Development Goals, widely viewed as having ramped up international aid and exerted unprecedented influence on national policies. They are anticipated to mobilize several trillion dollars, exponentially more money than any previous UN development scheme. All that money will not come without strings attached. We cannot be naïve.
Money has been and continues to be the principal game changer in the international pro-life battle.
Until now the pressure from the UN to change abortion laws has come from mostly unknown “experts” working in the UN system, and rogue UN officials. Because of the compromise struck at Cairo UN agencies that receive money from pro-abortion countries have repeatedly denied that they promote abortion, even though they do so both directly and indirectly with impunity.
With the new UN goals countries may face pressure to change their laws, as well as spend lascivious amounts of money on sexual and reproductive health—thereby benefitting abortion groups—in order to receive aid from wealthy pro-abortion countries as well as partner in new global initiatives with the private sector and philanthropists.
Countries’ ability to benefit from the new development scheme may be tied to their performance as measured by UN bureaucrats for whom illegal abortion is synonymous with unsafe abortion and for whom no amount of resources spent for UN style family planning is ever sufficient.
Proposed Indicators to measure progress on the new agenda from the UN system already include access to abortion services, and the ability of teenagers to access abortion without parental consent.
Despite these fresh threats to life, abortion groups that have spent billions of dollars to create an international right to abortion have not been able to gain any normative ground.
The new goals do not change the compromise struck at the 1994 Cairo conference on population and development, namely, that abortion is not an international right, and a subject to be dealt with exclusively in national law—a consensus that reflects how no UN treaty includes a right to abortion either expressly or by implication.
At the same time, abortion groups have become the beneficiaries of a bonanza of funding for sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as a result of the same Cairo agreement. Their lobbying and increased influence at the national and international level, possibly more than any other factor over the past two decades, has ensured that the new UN development goals include more funds for their efforts to make abortion a human right.
This is a significant change from the Millennium Development Goals, agreed over a decade ago, which did not include abortion, focusing on maternal health instead. The new goals include two targets on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights instead, the trademark of abortion groups.
The terms made their way into the new goals last year at the eleventh hour, following underhanded negotiating tactics and arm-twisting, and possibly only because at the time, many governments thought the goals could still be changed. That was not to be.
When governments met again this year to discuss the new UN agenda for development they decided to stick to the goals as agreed last year, with few minor technical changes, and only negotiated a political document to launch the goals into existence at a global summit of world leaders this September.
The details of how the new UN scheme will be implemented are still being worked out and are not expected to be finalized until next Summer.