National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

UNICEF and WHO Embracing a ‘Reproductive Health’ Agenda

BY Jim Cosgrove

October 11-17, 1998 Issue | Posted 10/11/98 at 2:00 PM


NEW YORK—In renewed evidence of the systematic effort by senior U.N. officials to mobilize the entire U.N. system in support of the population-control agenda advanced by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) recently invited UNFPA to become a full partner in a three-agency Coordinating Committee on Health (CCH). Dr. Nafis Sadik, the Executive Director of UNFPA, headed her agency's delegation at the first session of the CCH, which was held recently at WHO headquarters in Geneva.

UNFPA's strong influence within the newly created CCH became readily apparent in the choice of two of the three topics under discussion in Geneva: “Safe motherhood” and “adolescent health.” According to the official U.N. summary of the Geneva gathering, repeated references to “reproductive health” were made in the context of both “safe motherhood” and “adolescent health.” By U.N. definition, “reproductive health” includes access to abortion services and to artificial contraceptives that have known abortifacient effects.

In her own remarks to the CCH, Sadik stressed the importance of the collaboration with UNICEF and WHO in attaining UNFPA's population control and feminist goals. “Indeed, the three agencies had all worked together extremely well, especially in developing the social services agenda,” she reported, according to the UN summary of her comments.

“The program of action of the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo Conference) had placed reproductive health in the context of primary health care, thus recognizing it as an essential component of any minimum package of health services. It was, therefore, important for the three agencies to make sure that their activities contributed to the development of the health system of a given country.”

Further evidence of UNICEF's support for population-control programs is available in the 1998 edition of The Progress of Nations, UNICEF's just-released annual assessment of national child-related policies. It includes an article entitled “The Family Planning Gap,” which alleges that “at least 10% of girls aged 15 to 19 have an unmet need for family planning services.” UNICEF obtained the international data on this claimed “unmet need” from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm for the U.S. affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which is the world's largest abortion provider.

WHO complicity in pro-abortion activity has been even more explicit. At a pair of U.N.-organized youth conferences this summer in Portugal, WHO lobbied aggressively for “reproductive health” services to be made available to children as young as ten, without parental oversight. And last March, WHO released a 110-page abortion compendium entitled Medical Methods for the Termination of Pregnancy. WHO said it was intended to serve “as a guide to the introduction of medical abortion as a routine clinical service.” (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute)