UNFPA Releases Annual Ideological Look at State of the World’s Population
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has a dim view of marriage and the family, and believes the only way for women to achieve freedom and equality is through the broadest acceptance of reproductive rights including unfettered access to abortion. UNFPA executive director Nafis Sadik just released her annual “State of the World Population.”
Sadik reports that one-third of the women in the world will experience some kind of violence, frequently at the hands of a husband or boyfriend. UNFPA claims one-third of all pregnancies, about 80 million, are unintended or unwanted. The report says that 500,000 women die each year due to pregnancy, a figure frequently cited by UNFPA and UNICEF that is also described as not provable by the UN’s chief statistics maven Joseph Chamie.
The ideological nature of UNFPA’s annual report comes through in a nearly incessant promotion of reproductive health and rights. [UNFPA and other UN related agencies like the World Health Organization define reproductive health and rights as including abortion-on-demand from conception to delivery.] In seven short chapters, UNFPA’s report mentions reproductive health, reproductive rights or abortion 186 times. “Clean water,” arguably the single most crucial problem facing women in the developing world, is mentioned only once. “Safe sanitation,” another pressing problem for poor women, is mentioned eleven times. Malaria, perhaps the leading killer of African women, gets only a single mention.
There is no doubt that UNICEF will use UNFPA’s report in preparation for next year’s ten-year review of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The report will cause concern among those who lobby for the rights of parents and for a traditional understanding of adolescent sexual behavior. [UN agencies define adolescence as beginning at age ten.]
In the section on “Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health and Behavior,” abstinence is not mentioned at all. The report suggests that “parents need to be more involved,” but says most “fail” and “feel embarrassed.” The report says girls rarely talk to their mothers “about communicating with a sexual partner,” and that “fathers are often silent or absent and thus provide an uncaring male role model.”
The report promotes “peer counseling” for adolescents, which is where children talk to each other about sexual practices. “Young men meet others like them who speak easily and openly about sexuality and promote responsible behavior as an attractive ‘male’ quality. Being a peer educator can also allow girls to talk about sex without risking being called promiscuous,” the report says. Critics view this as a way to separate children from their parents who should be the primary teacher of sex education to their children.
The report also has a dim view of marriage and family. Marriage is mentioned only thirty-three times and almost always in a negative light such as being coerced or promoting violations of women’s rights. Marriage is never mentioned as a way to happiness or fulfillment, which is the experience of most married women. While “family” is mentioned 137 times, most of are related only to “family planning.”
Copyright – C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
2001 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.