Posted on | March 15, 2012 by Piero A. Tozzi, J.D. |
The annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meeting broke up today after failing to reach consensus on “agreed conclusions” – a very rare occurrence.
The impasse was due to the insistence by the United States delegation on changing language regarding “family planning” that had been agreed upon and in continuous use since the mid-1990s in favor of the term “modern forms of contraception.” Insiders speculate that the US intransigence was linked to the Obama administration’s domestic Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church and other religious freedom advocates: the US delegation wanted to establish “international consensus” accepting a “right to contraception” to support its Health and Human Services contraception mandate.
In the end the US heavy-handedness backfired, and unified opposition from a number of southern African nations, Islamic countries and the Holy See caused the meeting to recess without an outcome document.
Opposition had crystallized earlier in the week following the US strong-arming acceptance of a Maternal Mortality resolution that called for “comprehensive sexuality education” and “youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning.”
A forceful Holy See statement criticized the US-sponsored resolution for undermining the role of parents as primary educators of their children:
It is the sacred and solemn responsibility of parents to care for their children and no one—including the state—has a right to advance an agenda which does not respect the natural moral law. The attempt on the part of the main sponsor of the text [i.e., the United States] to not recognize the prior and primary responsibilities, rights, and duties of parents regarding their children, is disrespectful of the nature of marriage and the family and undermines international law (cf., Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26,3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 18,4; Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 5 and 18,1). The advancement of an agenda which promotes “sex education” and artificial contraception to children, and completely disregards their parent’s involvement, is antithetical to the role of the state which has the responsibility to promote the common good of the family and society.
The Holy See also criticized the US delegation’s insistence on delinking “reproductive rights” from past consensus statements that excluded abortion. Following the Holy See intervention, Chile, Malta and Poland restated reservations clarifying that they interpreted the term as not including abortion.
Also rejected today was an HIV/AIDS resolution that sought to advance “harm reduction” theories which fuel rather than curtail practices which contribute to the spread of AIDS. In its place delegates passed a short procedural resolution on HIV/AIDS which took note of a recent UN Secretary-General’s report and deferred consideration to a future point in time.