By Samantha Singson

  NEW YORK, September 13, 2007 ( – The US delegation to the UN sharply scolded a top UN official this week for perpetuating the falsehood that there is a new UN mandated global goal related to “sexual and reproductive health.” The exchange came during the Executive Board meeting of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The US also criticized UNFPA’s promotion of abortion.

  UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid was presenting UNFPA’s strategic plan and its proposed global and regional programs.  In her report Obaid claimed “The target on universal access to reproductive health under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 paves the way for further progress to improve the health of women, reduce maternal and newborn deaths, expand contraceptive choice, and protect reproductive rights.” The US representative interjected that there is no new global target on reproductive health and that the only thing that could generate one was a resolution of the General Assembly.

  The Millennium Development Goals were first negotiated in 2000 by more than 150 heads of state, the largest such gathering in history, and included eight broad goals none of which included the controversial issue of “reproductive health,” a term that is frequently used by UN agencies to promote abortion. Pro-abortion radicals, including UNFPA, tried to get a new goal on “reproductive health” negotiated by heads of state in 2005 but they were defeated. Since then, they have tried to get a ninth goal or at least a target as part of an existing goal but continue to be defeated. Their defeat has not stopped UNFPA and others from continuing to claim that such a new target exists. Governments around the world are being told such a target exists and are being asked to change their laws accordingly, most recently in the Philippines.

  The US also complained to Obaid about UNFPA’s promotion of abortion and asked Obaid for a clarification. Obaid claimed UNFPA was neutral on abortion and only tries to prevent “unsafe abortion.” “UNFPA does not speak for or against the legalization of abortion,” said Obaid. UNFPA, however, has a history of promoting the legalization of abortion most recently when the agency intervened when Nicaragua’s National Assembly banned all abortion. UNFPA, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other UN agencies directly intervened to stop the law which eventually was passed unanimously by the Nicaraguan Assembly.

  In contrast to the US position, the Swedish delegate urged Obaid to “make sure that sexual and reproductive health and rights remain squarely on the agenda.” A final decision by the country delegations on the UNFPA strategic plan and programming will be made when executive board meetings wrap up this week.

  On Friday, the United States announced that it would suspend its contribution to UNFPA for the sixth year in a row. The US first suspended funding in 2002 upon receiving evidence that UNFPA was complicit in China’s draconian one child policy.