Friday, July 22, 2005

UNFPA Demands Abortion Rights for Children as Young as 10

The latest from the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute:
UNFPA Demands Abortion Rights for Children as Young as 10

Two recent publications circulating at the United Nations demonstrate a growing focus on young people as a way of advancing the abortion agenda. The reports, one by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and another by a radical lobby group, both call for a greater focus on the "sexual and reproductive" rights of youth, a term that UN agencies frequently misinterpret as including abortion. Youth are defined in the UNFPA report as "aged 10 to 24 years."

UNFPA's report, entitled "The Case for Investing in Young People as part of a National Poverty Reduction Strategy," states that "UNFPA's madate [is] to promote youth development, including recognition of their health/reproductive rights and sexual and reproductive health." UNFPA explains that promoting abortion as a human right is advantageous because a "rights-based approach" "entails an obligation on the part of governments and other actors to realize these rights." The report applauds the government of Mozambique's program of "health services that serve the reproductive health needs of adolescents."

UNFPA urges improvements in the "sexual and reproductive health" of young people as a solution to several pressing world problems, such as gender inequality, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and lack of access to education. These issues are currently being addressed by the UN through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The report states that "UNFPA advocates may need to point out to policy makers the direct connections between preventive action in relation to young people's sexual and reproductive health and achieving the MDG targets."

The second report, "Learning to Speak MDGs," was released by a radical Canadian lobby group called the Youth Coalition. The report was produced with "generous financial support" from the Ford Foundation. The report explicitly calls on governments to ensure the "legal status of safe abortion services."

The Youth Coalition's report also claims that the "ABC" method used in Uganda has been ineffective and even detrimental. The report states that "unsound national and donor driven policies, such as the Abstinence – Be faithful – Use Condoms when necessary (ABC) approach have heavily contributed to the impact of HIV/AIDS among young people." However, Uganda's ABC strategy is almost universally viewed as the single largest success in reducing HIV infections, from 18% in 1992 to 5% by 2001.

The two reports demonstrate a renewed strategy of pushing for abortion rights on behalf of young people. Other pro-abortion groups, such as the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), have recently released similar publications. For instance, a recent AGI study on adolescents, defined as "between the ages of 10 and 19," in Malawi suggests that abortion should be legalized, as "[m]ost abortions are performed under unsafe conditions because abortion is illegal…except to save a woman's life."
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