At the United Nations, it was an unlikely alliance: The United States, the Holy See and Muslim countries like Sudan, Iran and Pakistan stood together to defend the family at a special session of the General Assembly on Children in mid-May. It was also an effective one.
As is eerily the case with so many of the things that the United Nations does, abortion and the proper definition of the family took center stage at the special session.
It was gratifying to see America on the right side of those questions for a change. In the past, the Holy See and Catholic and Muslim countries were united against a pro-abortion coalition led by the United States.
The pro-abortion side also gathered a strange coalition. Delegates from the European Union and Canada have been reliably pro-abortion for years. But this year, they had the Latin American delegates more solidly in their pockets than ever before—the representatives of the very countries whose residents are most pro-life.
Together, they were pushing U.N. member countries to commit to a far-reaching agenda that attacks the family in the most fundamental ways. On the table were policies that would call homosexual relationships“families,” policies that would promote abortion to children as young as 10, policies that would encourage countries' abortion laws to be disregarded. At one point, a UNICEF book for children that suggested kids try various sexual practices was touted. When it got media attention, it was hastily withdrawn.
In the strange culture that reigns at the United Nations, delegates promote horrific ideas as if they were they were commonplace. In order to do so, they have created their own special vocabulary, and policies rise or fall based on its use or misuse.
For instance,“reproductive health services” has been universally regarded for years to be code language for abortion. But it was never publicly acknowledged to have any reference to abortion. When European delegates wanted to promote abortion but didn't want to have to debate abortion, they pushed for“reproductive health services,” confident that abortion would follow in due course.
But in U.N. meetings last June, a Canadian delegate slipped and admitted that the phrase included abortion. So the European delegates had to abandon the phrase at this month's U.N. summit—thanks to the persistence of the Bush administration.
In another example of doublespeak gone awry, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, Texas, committed a pro-abortion faux pas when she criticized the White House.“There needs to be flexibility on life,” she said of the Bush anti-abortion stance. Oops. Does that mean the congresswoman believes that unborn children are“lives”? A person close to Jackson Lee, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Washington Times that the remarks were intended to urge“more flexibility on family planning.”
Thus, the United Nations can be like an Alice in Wonderland place, a place where delegates from anti-Catholic Sudan join forces with the Vatican, where Americans make friends with the Axis of Evil's friends, where it is impolite to acknowledge the plain meanings of words.
But the reason for the strangeness is simple. The United Nations has attempted to promote policies that are so shameful that unlikely coalitions oppose them, so heinous that clear explanations will only hurt their chances.
Catholics in America can be doubly thankful for our representation at the summit. The Holy See, as always, argued valiantly for life. And it didn't have to fight America in doing so, for a change.
Before the children's summit, there was some question as to whether the Bush administration would do the right thing by the family at the United Nations. For now, the question is closed. Thank you, President Bush.