Pro-Life Victory at UN as Document on Women Stripped of Dangerous Language

NEW YORK, March 15, 2004 ( - Pro-life lobbyists at the United Nations are rejoicing over a victory at the forty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women which concluded Friday.  A summary from a reporter at the meeting indicated that most of the dangerous language used to advance anti-life and anti-family agendas was deleted from the concluding document.  Our reporter notes that Canada, despite having a new Prime Minister, played its usual extremely active role in attempts to force the dangerous language and served as the chair for the informal sessions.  Canada worked closely with EU countries, but especially with: New Zealand, Australia, Iceland and Norway to advance an anti-life, anti-family agenda. That group was thwarted by the US working closely with the Holy See and several Muslim countries with much assistance and many prayers being offered from pro-life/family NGOs.  The term “gender stereotypes” was deleted from document.  The term, according to UN pro-life lobbyists is particularly worrisome as ‘mother’ and ‘father’ are generally perceived at the UN as negative stereotypes.  When the US asked that the document explicitly state that ‘mother’ and ‘father’ were not under the umbrella of the term ‘negative gender stereotype’, she was jeered by the EU and cut off by the Canadian chairperson.  The term “reproductive and sexual rights” were removed from the document as they are used, among other things, to promote abortion and abortifacient drugs.  Also, references to adolescent males/young males/ adolescent girls/ young girls in terms of access to reproductive health services and/or programs without reference to parental rights was eliminated from the document.  Typical of the interactions at the UN, highlighting the great divide between Canada and many developing countries, a representative from Sudan became exasperated at the Canadian representative’s penchant for political correctness.  When discussing portrayals of women in the media and gender stereotypes, the Canadian chairperson Beatrice Maille said that countries must work together so that girls in the media aren’t portrayed as playing with dolls and boys aren’t seen as sports players as this perpetuates negative stereotypes.  The representative from Sudan responded, “How can we prevent this portrayal of girls? Why should we prevent this? It’s the reality that most little girls play with dolls. In fact, I still play with dolls on occasion!”

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