UNICEF: 10 Year Olds Have A Right to Safe Abortion

Posted on | March 17, 2011 by Tyler Ament |

state of world's children chartUNICEF’s most recent State of the World’s Children Report, reveals that UNICEF’s take on what children need in 2011 and beyond is absurd at the least. A look at their broad definition of adolescence (10-19 years old), their reasons for investing in adolescents, and their choice of health topics demonstrates that UNICEF has stepped away from its job, and towards yet another “empowerment” and “rights-based” agenda with gruesome consequences.

Anyone who sees the world objectively knows that there are significant differences between 10 year olds and 19 year olds. So, one has to ask, why bracket them together? For example, it seems problematic when it comes to determining whether or not an adolescent who works is being abused, or is entering the workforce at an appropriate time.

There is a big difference between a 10 year old who works in a factory, and a 19 year old who works in a factory: the 10 year old is most likely in a situation of abuse and the 19 year old is most likely starting their first job. Yet, with the bracket UNICEF uses, how does one reasonably and practically distinguish between the two? It seems that the solution lies in a distinction between the two age groups, yet UNICEF’s broad definition makes no such distinction.

Another section of the report that should raise concern is the “health” section. At the beginning of the executive summary of the Report, it states that “early sex” is a protection abuse, yet on the next page, talks about adolescents’ rights to sexual and reproductive health as the first item in the “health” section (page 4).

While admitting that accurate data is hard to collect, especially from developing countries, the Report doesn’t blink when it says that 11% of 15-19 year old females claiming that they have had sex before the age of 15 equates to “many adolescents around the world engaging in sexual relations.” Now according to their initial statement about early sex being a “protection abuse,” one would think that UNICEF would respond to this situation of “many” by saying that 10 year olds should be encouraged not to engage in sexual activity. Sadly, this is not the case.

The UNICEF solution to what most would call a problem is no better than their statistics:

To stay healthy and safe, adolescents need access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health services and information from an early age.

Practical translation: 10-15 year olds should be able to access abortion and contraception. Thing I am exaggerating? Read the quote below from page 4 of the Executive Summary:

Insufficient control over their own fertility leads many adolescent girls to resort to unsafe abortions, risking serious injury or death and often putting themselves in conflict with the law.

Now, they do make this statement in the context of 15-19 year olds, but if their definition of adolescence starts with 10 year olds, reason says this “right” to “safe abortion” includes the low end of the UNICEF adolescence age bracket.

So much for “laying the foundation for a more peaceful, tolerant and equitable world, in which each successive generation of children can thrive” (page 2 of the Executive Summary).

View the full Report here.



Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.


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