JOHANNESBURG, September 4, 2002 ( – Concluding at 1:30am this morning after gruelling negotiations, the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development inserted language demanded by “reproductive healthcare” ideologues but also language which neutralized its effect.

Pro-abortion activists are crediting Canada for having fought successfully to include a reference to guaranteeing “human rights and fundamental freedoms” which abortion supporters have interpreted to include abortion.  However, the statement on provision of reproductive services is qualified with a reference to “national laws and cultural and religious values”. This would neutralize forcing countries with pro-life laws and values to implement abortion.

Despite the strength of the qualifying reference, pro-abortion activists are claiming victory and most media are trumpeting their victory chants without due consideration for the fine points of the final document’s wording.  “We won. We won,” June Zeitlin, executive director of the feminist group Women’s Environment and Development Organization, was oft quoted as saying.  Canada’s CBC television National News followed this propaganda line in its report on the Summit last evening, giving no information whatever about the defeats suffered by the anti-family, anti-life forces.

Although abortion advocacy groups suggested that they did not lose ground at the conference, they expressed strong disappointment that the United States, the Vatican and some Islamic countries prevented the advancement of population control goals.

The positive spin attributed to the final document was contradicted by a New York Times published Reuters report late this afternoon. It referred to “the mood of gloom that descended on environmentalists.”

Reuters continued, “At a closing session in Johannesburg, speaker after speaker attacked as too weak a plan meant to tackle global problems from AIDS to depleted fish stocks. In formally agreeing to the text, delegates of almost 200 nations applauded for just 10 seconds. ‘We should never have such shameful summits again,’ said Ricardo Navarro, chairman of Friends of the Earth International. `‘We feel anger and despair because world leaders have sold out to the World Trade Organization and big business.’‘’

At the final session the U.S. delegation reminded delegates that the 65-page plan was not legally binding. The U.S. government insists it cannot bind Americans to vague goals. Deliberately vague language in UN documents has often been exploited to justify actions not intended by delegate approval of the documents.  See media coverage of the Summit outcome:

See previous LifeSite reports on the Earth Summit


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