UN Moves To Expand International Sex Ed, Abortion Rights

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNS) - Conservative UN observers and a coalition of Catholic and Muslim nations have lambasted the final report of the International Conference on Population and Development five-year review, commonly known as ICPD+5.

ICPD+5 is the review of the Programme of Action voted on at the Cairo Population Conference in 1994. The review took shape over a rancorous three day session that ended Thursday - a session that pitted a loose coalition of Third World nations and the Vatican fighting to limit UN funding for abortions and adolescent sex education around the world against representatives from developed countries.

"This is a very dangerous document," Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, a pro-family UN non-governmental organization (NGO), told CNSNews.com, noting that the conference voted down a conscience clause that would allow countries with traditional notions of sexuality to dissent from the conference''s findings.

"The Cairo process is a blatant attempt to separate parents from their children on issues of sexual health and education," Ruse continued. "They are slowly moving toward making abortion and contraception a universal human right."

At issue is the conference''s call to increase funding for adolescent sex education. "There should be more international collaboration, firmer action on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and more sex education and confidential advice and assistance to young people," said Clare Short, a delegate to the conference and the United Kingdom''s Secretary of State for International Development.

Short noted that more than one billion teenagers worldwide were entering their reproductive years - a major theme at the conference, which frequently raised the specter of runaway population growth, especially in the Third World.
Short also accused the Vatican of forging "an unholy alliance" against women''s rights.

"When they say \lquote confidential,''" Ruse told CNSNews.com, "what they mean is \lquote without parental consent.'' They''re trying to separate these kids from their parents so they can eradicate traditional notions about sex."

Jim Sedlak, spokesperson of STOPP, a population control watchdog group, accused the UN of ignoring its own statistics, which indicate not only a falling-off of the birthrate but an alarming rise in the number of elderly worldwide.
"It is time we all wake up and realize there is an impending crisis in health care costs, taxes, and social security programs around the world," Sedlak said in a release.

The original Cairo review document, under consideration at ICPD+5, contained only two references to parental rights, both of which were attacked by U.S. delegates at the conference.

That prompted 34 members of Congress, including House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), House Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX), and House Republican Conference Leader J.C. Watts (R-OK), to send a letter to the conference that read in part, "we are increasingly concerned to discover that many delegations negotiating the document under consideration at Cairo+5 are attempting to remove parental rights, especially in reference to adolescent sexuality. We are particularly dismayed that this effort seems to be supported by some employees of the U.S. Department of State."

Many conservatives delegates accused the conference leadership of favoring coercive population control methods to economic development.

Aldo Carreras of Argentina, an ally of the Vatican in the debate, repeated to the conference his assertion that "what needs to be eradicated is poverty, not the poor. Even those who continue presaging the debacle of the demographic time-bomb . . . must admit that development is the best remedy to the phantom of overpopulation."

The conference worked up until a few hours before the deadline to report the findings to the UN General Assembly, and only ended when chairman Anwarul Chowdhury of Bangladesh ended debate by placing Vatican and other nations'' objections in the record as an appendix, according to wire reports.