August 23 (C-FAM)  – The British-style phone booth labeled “Talk to God” appeared in a Plaza outside a UN meeting in Uruguay. It sported a poster asking if Virgin Mary’s pregnancy was “desired.” Pedestrians were encouraged to record a message to God denouncing religious “fundamentalism” and praying for legal abortion.


Inside the meeting, representatives from Latin American and Caribbean nations listened to speeches from Planned Parenthood and a sexologist as they drafted priorities for the next set of development goals. The phone booth was set up by feminist and secularist groups to influence the conference.

The meeting was the first of a series in the region to propose goals for the post-2014 agenda. It was organized by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the United Nations Population Fund, and hosted by the Government of Uruguay, which recently legalized abortion. Officials from 38 countries, 24 agencies, and 260 non-governmental organizations attended.

“Radical extremists infiltrated” the meeting, reported the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.

According to an observer, the discussion was “hijacked” by Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay. The usual “code of respect” at international events was repeatedly ignored, prompting the conference secretary to criticize the attendees’ “lack of diplomacy.”

The result was the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development. The document calls for policies to enable people to exercise “sexual rights” without discrimination. It tells Latin American and Caribbean countries to “consider amending their laws” restricting abortion and allowing adolescents access to the morning-after pill without parental involvement. Legalizing abortion will “reduce the number of abortions,” claims the document, offering no evidence.

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However, in what Argentina denounced as a setback, the consensus reaffirmed the sovereign right of nations to apply the recommendations in accordance with their laws and priorities.

This document “could only be possible in a regional meeting where governments send their radical feminists rather than those who truly represent their own people,” said Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM. Their positions “would have absolutely no chance in passing the General Assembly where delegates are weary of this kind of radical agenda.”

One person was given two prime speaking slots at the 3-day meeting. Carmen Barroso Western Hemisphere director for Planned Parenthood, said in an interview that Latin America and the Caribbean should be leaders in promoting “sexual citizenship.” The concept, introduced in the early 1990’s, views sexuality within the framework of citizenship from a neo-Marxist perspective.

Latin America and the Caribbean cannot progress on sexual and reproductive health if abortion is not a right, Mariela Castro told the conference. The sexologist and daughter of Cuban president Raul Castro sits on the high-level task force for the International Conference on Population and Development. She sponsored a law making Cuba the first country in the region to provide free sex reassignment surgery to transgender people.

Uruguayan politician Gerardo Amarilla denounced the religious discrimination of the phone booth spectacle and mocked the conference organizers for highlighting his country as “progressive.”

He listed Uruguay’s growing problems, including family breakdown, sexually transmitted infections, drug use, violence, depression, and suicide. “Perhaps we are ‘progressive’ and are developing,” he said, “surely toward the precipice.”

Reprinted with permssion from C-FAM