Posted on | June 25, 2012 by Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D. |
Popping up in my inbox today was a lamentation from the new international abortion behemoth Women Deliver, a movement-turned-NGO whose purpose is to pursue government funding for abortion advocacy under the guise of maternal health.
What they assail as a “regression” in women’s rights (that is, “reproductive rights,” that is, abortion rights) at the just-concluded UN Rio conference on sustainable development is in fact just the opposite. Nations eliminated reproductive rights from the Rio outcome document precisely because international feminists have been so successful at changing the term’s official meaning over the last 18 years.
At the UN Cairo conference on population in 1994, the Clinton administration and abortion international won the inclusion of the term by swearing it didn’t include abortion (where it was against the law, etc.) And so at every negotiation since then the wink and nod of assuring pro-life countries it doesn’t mean any such thing has continued. (The Holy See recently termed this kabuki dance a “hermeneutic of suspicion”). But with the denials has come a steady stream of ”research” and “evidence” from the academic and advocacy side, not to mention politicians such as the U.S. Secretary of State insisting that the term “reproductive health” most certainly does include abortion.
And so their success has been their downfall. The deliberate ”progression” of the term is the reason nations utterly rejected it last week in Rio.
Far from a “rollback” of women’s rights, the rejection of “reproductive rights” represents acknowledgment that the term has been largely interpreted with new (albeit originally intended) meaning: abortion.
While pro-lifers can celebrate a victory at Rio, they should also herald Rio as a turning point. There can be no denying that the “international community” does not view “reproductive rights” as abortion-neutral. The term is toxic.