Sexual and reproductive health gains ground in UN agreement, family loses
September 16, 2016 (C-Fam) The family continues to be a sticking point in UN negotiations as Europe and America try to eke out international affirmation of homosexual relations and lay the foundations of an international right to abortion.
A finalized agreement for the UN Habitat III conference in Quito in October was reached on Saturday evening. As anticipated, the agreement on urban development does not include any substantive reference to the family.
Instead, the agreement advances “sexual and reproductive health” in a new context where it had previously been excluded. The term of art has been used at the UN for more than two decades to financially and normatively support a powerful global abortion lobby.
The Quito conference is expected to gather unprecedented attention as urbanization becomes one of the leading demographic issues facing developing countries.
The mention of sexual and reproductive health in the Habitat agreement is especially noteworthy.
The term is unqualified by reference to previous UN agreements that exclude a right to abortion and guarantee respect for sovereignty. While this does not necessarily imply a change of consensus on this matter, it represents a loss of ground for the pro-life cause, and a necessary starting point for establishing abortion as a human right.
The family did not completely fall off the radar. Thanks to a last ditch effort from member States belonging to the Group of Friends of the Family, a brief reference to “green” public spaces “friendly to families” was inserted in the agreement. In previous Habitat conferences, however, the family occupied a prominent place among critical concerns underlying urban development and was a cross-cutting issue in many areas of the UN urban agenda.
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Previous Habitat agreements committed countries and international agencies to consider the “specific needs” of “the family” as the “basic unit of society” in urban planning, and made it abundantly clear that what the international community refers to as a family involves the union of a “husband” and a “wife,” and not two husbands or two wives.
Moreover, the plural “families” is historically a term that is less favored by pro-family nations and advocates, who have been proponents of “the family” in the singular, because it is more unequivocal in referring solely to the natural family formed by a man and a woman who exercise their right to feely marry and found a family.
This loss of ground for the family is surprising in light of recent developments in Geneva, where pro-family advocates have had success promoting a comprehensive resolution on the family widely among the UN membership at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Geneva resolution reaffirmed the special status of the natural family in international human rights law. As the Family Articles note, relations between individuals of the same-sex are not afforded the singular protections afforded to the natural family in international law and policy.
It remains unclear if pressure from wealthy donor nations in Europe and North America can prevent the recent pro-family developments at the Human Rights Council from eventually reaching New York, or if the reverse will take place. On the one hand, the West’s aggressive stance against the family and in favor of special homosexual rights seems to be backfiring. On the other hand, pressure from the most powerful countries has influenced traditional countries in the past.
Reprinted with permission from C-Fam.