By Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D. and Nicholas Dunn

NEW YORK, September 16 (C-FAM) - The appointment of former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet as Under Secretary General of UN Women has garnered praise from several abortion advocacy groups.

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, commonly known as UN Women, was established on July 2nd when the General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution that consolidated four UN bodies on women’s issues.

The creation of this super-agency for women’s issues is largely attributed to the lobbying efforts of the Global Campaign for Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR), a coalition of abortion proponents. Not only was the GEAR campaign instrumental in founding UN Women, the organization reportedly had a heavy hand in the selection process of the new under secretary general, providing the secretary general a list of questions for candidate interviews.

Charlotte Bunch, a founding member and leading advocate of the GEAR campaign, calls Bachelet a “top notch choice” who was one of GEAR’s “dream candidates.” Additionally, Bachelet’s appointment received praise from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who said that Ban ki-Moon's choice “sends a clear message to the global community that women’s rights and equality will be considered at the highest level of deliberation on international human rights.”

Bachelet was viewed as the front-runner when UN Women was established. As president of Chile, Bachelet supported the possibly abortion-inducing “morning after pill,” and she was the honorary co-chair of the recent UN-backed pro-abortion Women Deliver conference in Washington, D.C.

The secretary general’s short list for the head of the new organization was laden with abortion advocates. Rosario Manalo was one of the longest serving members of the controversial committee that oversees the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). During her tenure, the CEDAW committee pressured more than 90 nations to liberalize their abortion laws.

Another candidate, Geeta Rao Gupta, was president of International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Rao Gupta delivered ICRW’s highly controversial paper at the 2007 Women Deliver conference that laid the scholarly foundation for the ongoing campaign that claims the Millennium Development Goals cannot be reached without international abortion rights. Rao Gupta is a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, a candidate who is now the UN’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, successfully campaigned for legalized abortion in her home country of Sri Lanka. As the UN’s Special Rapporteur on violence against women, she addressed Nicaragua’s ban on abortion by saying that “acts deliberately restraining women from having an abortion constitute violence against women by subjecting women to excessive pregnancies and childbearing against their will, resulting in increased and preventable risks of maternal mortality and morbidity.”

UN Women will be funded by the combined budget of the four agencies that are being merged, approximately $220 million, to which all 192 member states contribute. The GEAR Campaign has announced that it is lobbying to increase funding to $1 billion within a few years.

This article reprinted with permission from www.c-fam.org