KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A global conference about women and girls’ reproductive rights and health, held at the end of May, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — and called the largest of the decade — featured dozens of pro-abortion speakers.
The roster of featured speakers included: Microsoft billionairess Melinda Gates, self-proclaimed Catholic crusader for universal birth control; late-term "partial-birth" abortionist LeRoy Carhart, who was portrayed as a "defender of human rights"; "Catholics for Free Choice" founder Frances Kissling, who called pregnancy "unnatural" and likened it to "hosting an alien"; and Princeton ethicist and infanticide advocate Peter Singer, who compared women and children to cows and suggested that reproductive rights might have to be sacrificed to save the environment.
The 4,000 delegates gathered from 149 countries at the Women Deliver conference represented the world’s leading abortion and population-control advocacy groups. Among those participating were the North Carolina-based International Pregnancy Advisory Service that trains abortionists, offers youth "comprehensive reproductive health care, including safe abortion" and advocates for the reform of "restrictive laws," and America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and its offshoot, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the British equivalent, Marie Stopes International.
Population-control advocacy groups included Jhpiego (a group that has collaborated with India’s government while women undergo mass sterilizations to meet government quotas), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Path, which has assisted the Chinese government in implementing its coercive one-child policy.
Other featured guests included Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and a host of like-minded dignitaries, as well as drug representatives from Bayer, Merck and Pfizer, which all have stakes in the ballooning global birth-control market forecast to hit $17 billion by 2015.
Speaking at the conference, Chelsea Clinton said that, along with promoting international health projects sponsored by her father’s Clinton Foundation, she plans to promote homosexual rights, The Associated Press reported. According to her, the right of homosexuals to marry is part of "the fundamental human imperative."
Many of the same guests were in attendance at last year’s London Summit on Family Planning, which was hosted by Melinda Gates and her friends in the British government, where she garnered $4 billion in pledges to bring contraceptives to an additional 120 million worldwide by 2020.
Gates has described herself to the press as a practicing Catholic who has had to "wrestle" with Church teachings on sexuality and contraception.
A May 2007 Newsweek article reported her saying, "I had to wrestle with: Which pieces of religion do I use and believe in my life? What would I counsel my daughters to do?" Defying Church teaching was difficult, she added, but noted that it also came to seem morally necessary. Otherwise, she says, "we’re not serving the other piece of the Catholic mission, which is social justice."
The only other openly identified Catholic among the featured participants was Frances Kissling, founder of the pro-abortion group "Catholics for a Free Choice." The U.S. bishops have denounced Kissling’s group for falsely claiming to be an authentically Catholic organization.
"In every generation, there are only a few truly great transformative leaders. Most of us are not Mohammed, Jesus Christ, Charles Darwin or Karl Marx," commented Kissling at a closing plenary session at the conference. Too bad, she said, that they were all men, except perhaps Jesus, who might really have been a woman.
The pill revolutionized sexuality and ended male control over women’s reproductive life-giving ability, according to Kissling. "Then along came abortion. ... Now women control life and death. That is heavy."
But Kissling also complained about the way "gestating" is "conceptualized" today. "There is nothing natural about it," she said. "It’s like being ..."
"Taken over by an alien," offered a co-panelist.
"I’m so glad you said it," said Kissling.
Abortion was high on the agenda at the Women Deliver conference. The drug misoprostol, part of the RU-486 abortion cocktail that can be used to induce abortion, was the topic at several panels, where it was promoted as an "essential" drug to treat postpartum hemorrhage.
But pro-life advocates have warned for years that it is under this guise that the drug is being "repurposed" for abortion in countries where it is illegal. Women on Waves, a group that has sailed an "abortion ship" to offer chemical abortions in international waters off the coast of countries where abortion is illegal, promotes the drug.
Wendy Wright, who attended Women Deliver for the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), reported that, at one session, Ann Starrs, president of Family Care International, which is also promoting the drug in the developed world, conceded that the slogan "Misoprostol Saves Lives" is perhaps untrue. But, Starrs added, "The attention span of policymakers means we need some hyperbole."
Singer and Carhart
Princeton University ethicist Peter Singer, who has argued that newborn infants are not "persons" and therefore that killing disabled newborns is sometimes "not wrong at all," linked population control to climate change. He said greenhouse gases could cause a "catastrophe and cause hundreds of millions or billions of people to become climate refugees."
What if, after all the unmet contraceptive needs of 220 million worldwide are met, women still choose to have children so "population continues to rise in a way that causes environmental problems?" Singer asked.
He drew a comparison to the traditional right of villagers to graze cows on common land. As people became more affluent and grazed more cows, he said, the right to grazing cattle on common ground was seen as non-fundamental, he said. Just so, "there can be imaginable circumstances in which you may be justified in overriding women’s reproductive rights."
A few panelists objected to Singer’s suggestion, and a number of presenters argued convincingly that the threat of overpopulation was grossly exaggerated.
Late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart, who was wearing a button that said he was a human-rights defender, accused the pro-life movement of harassing him and creating improper barriers to women’s access to abortion during another conference session, C-FAM’s "Friday Fax" reported May 31. "Abortion providers do not kill children," Carhart asserted.
A woman who was given a late-term abortion in early February by Carhart died afterward, and, during a question period, the abortionist was asked by C-FAM’s Wendy Wright: Who represents women "who have been abused by abortion providers? Women’s groups are silent, and medical boards sweep the abuses under the rug."
Replied Carhart, "I don’t think there’s an answer deserved."
Others at the conference, where participation was limited to supporters of the "reproductive rights" and population-control agendas, also drew attention to circumstances in which women in the developing world do not want Western-supplied contraceptive birth control.
A reporter from Cameroon said her country had received "a huge consignment of contraceptives in 2011 from UNFPA and it’s gone right down to the grassroots level." But only "about 2%" of women actually used them, she said.
The answer, Senegalese Health Minister Dr. Awa Coll-Seck and UNFPA’s executive director, Babatunde Osotimehin, both stressed, lies in "government" and its ability to "drive this" campaign and "create demand" via marketing by local councils, churches, mosques, social media and other advertising and activists.
C-FAM’s president, Austin Ruse — whose organization sent three representatives to Kuala Lumpur to serve as pro-life and pro-family reporters at the event — commented in the May 31 "Friday Fax" that "there was a great divide at the conference between rich women who want poor women to have fewer babies and poor women who want real help and not abortion."
Added Ruse, "This was a shameful conference."
writes from Scotland.