17 Mar Anti-Family Forces Target Pro-Family Coalition at Commission on Status of Women
Anti-Family Forces Target Pro-Family Coalition at Commission
on Status of Women
March 17, 2008
Dear Friend of the Family,
Our opponents at the United Nations are getting more and more frustrated with the presence of and the success of our pro-family coalition at major social conventions. Due to the dogged determination and the effectiveness of our coalition, anti-family forces are closing meetings and threatening to move conferences to Geneva, Switzerland in hopes of weakening our group. During the recent second week of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), at the UN headquarters in New York, our opponents tried yet another tactic to thwart us.
The large pro-family coalition monitored CSW meetings and lobbied delegates in hopes of repelling efforts to universalize abortion and promote homosexual rights. Our presence and our effectiveness significantly raised the tension level among the anti-family groups and delegations.
At one point, UFI representatives Beverly Rice and Kathy Wall were approached by the captain of security and were asked what they were presenting. He told our group that they could not lobby. We believe this resistance came from a complaint by anti-family forces. The coalition challenged the captain and went to the UN Security Office to talk to the chief of security. As fully accredited non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, we were well within our rights to talk with delegates. Nevertheless, security personnel continued to closely monitor coalition members.
We know we are effective when the opposition resorts to using the security detail to harass us.
What were we doing that was so threatening to our opponents?
Commission on the Status of Women
We issued flyers opposing so-called “sex workers” and the legalization of prostitution. We fail to see how legalizing these activities fits the agenda of the 52nd session of CSW and its theme of financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Additionally, we educated delegates and non-governmental organizations by presenting a booklet on the first nine months of life of pre-born children. This booklet was prepared by Tom Jacobsen of Focus on the Family. On the previous day, a presentation on abortion by Concerned Women for America, in a nearby church, had been disrupted and taken over by a less-than-tolerant activist group.
The pro-family coalition educated delegates to CSW on the real causes of maternal mortality, while requesting increased health care for pregnant women in the hopes of saving lives.
UFI’s Side Event
UFI sponsored a side event of its own on “Empowering Women to Make the Ultimate Difference.” I chaired a panel discussion and presented a message on “Economics and Motherhood.”
The new president of United Families California, Beverly Rice, followed with a presentation on “Education and Motherhood.” Carolyn Hubbard, another member of our UFI team attending CSW, followed with a presentation on the “Impact on Children-The Early Years.” UFI’s UN team leader Kathy Wall presented “Mother-In or Out of the Home?” Our presentations were well received.
Documents Posing Problems
A CSW document addressing HIV/AIDS referenced “International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS.” Upon closer investigation, it was discovered that the text of the reference was loaded with abortion and homosexual language. We took a position opposing this language. Kathy and Jeanne Head, a member of the National Right to Life Committee, prepared opposition statements and forwarded them to key delegates by phone and email. The resolution on HIV/AIDS passed, with Egypt and Uganda stating that it did not provide for abortion.
Another area we addressed with delegates concerns the Maputo Protocol, a regional document drafted by 27 African nations which includes language on female genital mutilation and legalized abortion. Thus, we opposed UN citation of the Maputo Protocol. The resolution on female genital mutilation passed.
These references must be opposed. Every time something is referenced at the UN, it gains clout and will continue to be referenced because it was done before and deemed acceptable. Soon it becomes “reaffirmed” and regarded as consensus language.
Another major effort pressed by anti-family groups was Gender Equality Architecture Reform, which – you guessed it – was an attempt at legalizing abortion internationally. This initiative did not gain the traction the feminists were aiming for, but they will be back to promote it in the future. And we will be there to oppose it.
Going the Extra Mile for Family
On the final day of CSW, delegates met well into the early morning hours. We stayed as a unified team to monitor the closed-door meeting, to hold vigil in support of family and life and to show support of delegations friendly to our cause: Egypt, Iran, Syria, Uganda, Sudan, Kiribitia, Ireland, Malta, Qatar, the Holy See (Vatican) and United States. After 18 hours of negotiations, CSW ended at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
We felt good about the language in the draft agreed conclusions. We would like to have kept out all references to the International Guidelines, but instead it was watered down to “Guidelines on HIV.”
Some of the delegates expressed gratitude that we “were still there.” We spoke at length with the head negotiator for Chile, a woman who approached us and complimented us on our involvement. She assumed that we represented the general body of women at the UN and shared with us some strategies for getting action on our concerns by going to local and national government ministries for women at a grass roots level to get a ground swell of support that would gain the support of lawmakers. She stated that working closely with delegates is very important and urged us to require accountability and transparency from them.
We had a great team at CSW. I hope we have all learned from our experiences and have a renewed commitment to protect our precious rights here in this country and throughout the world.
Carol Soelberg, President
United Families International