April 14, 2014 (Tanya Granic Allen) – At the UN’s 47th Commission on Population and Development, the message from some Non-Governmental Organizations with vested interests couldn’t be clearer: nothing will stop them from conducting more abortions. The tone of these meetings has, at times, been uncomfortable to anyone who holds life to be sacred, or believes maternal health initiatives is an excellent way to support women, especially those in the developing world.
While at an UN affiliated meeting hosted by International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Ipas, two abortion supporting and providing global powerhouses, I was targeted, discriminated against, man-handled, and ultimately kicked-out of the meeting room. What could I have done to provoke such an attack? Nothing actually, aside from sitting quietly; oh, and being pregnant and pro-life.
There I was, a participant at an official UN side event, advertised by the UN, trying to learn as much as I could about maternal health. I had taken my seat in the middle of the room, settled in with my note pad and was eagerly listening to what the speakers shared. Within a few minutes, a large, intimidating woman (let’s call her the IPPF man-handler) approached my row of seats and demanded I exit the room. When I enquired why, she said because I hadn’t registered. This woman had seen me in various meetings throughout the week, notably with the pro-life delegation. I had the sneaking suspicion this wasn’t going to be a friendly registration experience. I thought I should take some paper and a pen to document anything that may be necessary. When the man-handler saw this, she became irate and demanded I come with her immediately. Wanting to show respect for the speakers and participants, I quietly explained that I was five months pregnant and as a result move a little slower. However, based on what ensued, I would soon learn that no one organizing this meeting gave a damn if I were pregnant and unwell. In fact, I feel it’s because of my visibly pregnant state and pro-life views, I was categorically targeted.
I followed the IPPF man-handler out of the room to the registration table. I was met by two women who asked my name and organization. They checked their “list” of participants and wrote down my name and said since I wasn’t pre-registered, I would have to leave the meeting to make room for registered participants. I explained I wasn’t aware registration was required and that the official schedule didn’t mention pre-registration was required. I asked since I already had a seat, if they could make an exception and let me stay. I was told “this event is for registered participants only.” I offered to vacate my seat and lean against the back wall. Again, I was told, “this event is for registered participants only.” I explained that I was five months pregnant, I was extremely nauseated, I felt like vomiting, that I had jumped in a cab, raced through NYC traffic just to make this meeting, and if they could allow me to stay based on compassionate grounds. Again, they said, “this event is for registered participants only.” Attempting to appeal to any sense of humanity in these women, I then explained that we are all women here, and offered that they “help a sister out.” Predictably, they said, “this event is for registered participants only.” I tried every angle possible and these women were not budging. I explained how upsetting and disappointing this was but I obliged, and went into the room to gather my belongings to leave.
Now, events have rules and regulations to ensure they run smoothly. I agree with their function. What I disagree with is the selective application of rules, especially those seemingly created-on-the-fly. What I also disagree with is discrimination, especially discrimination based on identity and association. You see, as I was repeatedly told I could not attend this meeting because I had not registered, half a dozen other people who also had not registered were allowed in the meeting. These unregistered people were “friends” of some people, and were supporters of the pro-abortion position. Apparently to the IPPF and Ipas, the abortion obsessed agencies running this official UN event, only pro-life people needed to be removed and excluded from their event.
As I returned to the room to gather my belongings, the intimidating IPPF man-handler was already violently grabbing my purse and bag to eject me. Completely offended, I demanded she release my purse, and allow me to handle my belongings. She then aggressively and belligerently escorted me out of the room, humiliating me in the process. Once out of the room, I offered the ladies running the registration a few words. I explained that as a pregnant woman, I would expect a little more courtesy, and that I have never felt so discriminated against. I explained I saw people who weren’t registered conveniently “added” to the list because they “knew someone.” I suggested they treat all women with equal dignity and respect and offer a little kindness and compassion. I understood their rules, albeit selectively applied, and I would comply and leave, however they could be a little nicer when dealing with people, especially pregnant women.
Of course, I wasn’t born yesterday, and this isn’t my first rodeo- I mean UN Commission. I know I was singled out because of the organization which I represented and the beliefs I held. I know that because I have a different perspective on how to treat the unborn (with respect and dignity, and not death) that I am not welcome. I understand organizations like IPPF operate more like a neo-fascist state, than a democracy. I understand these organizations operate under the guise of open dialogue at the UN, when in fact they prefer a “members-only” approach. I understand principles of inclusiveness, freedom of association and freedom of opinion only apply when they want it to apply. Could I really expect organizations which make their profits on the backs of women in crisis and killing their unborn babies, to actually show me and my unborn child a shred of compassion?
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Hypocritically, IPAS and IPPF claim they help women “have a right to safe reproductive health choices” but, based on this and previous experiences, it seems these organizations' main focus is to help women access abortion, and not help women find a way to carry their babies to term for adoption or otherwise.
Interestingly, when I briefly shared my experience on Twitter, I was told this by an IPPF and Ipas supporter:
Is discrimination and targeting people for their physical appearance and pro-life position, under the guise of “registration requirements,” a laughing matter to abortion advocates? Is selective application of rules now what passes for “quite democratic?” It’s not like this IPPF and Ipas supporter has attempted to become an elected official, right? Oh wait.
Yes, discrimination is alive and well here at the UN. When I, a pregnant woman, am kicked out of a meeting because of beliefs I hold and what I look like, I question the dedication and concern that IPPF and Ipas really has with maternal health. When I ask for compassion and am shown none, I question how much respect these two organizations really have for women. A simple web-search shows that these organizations are more concerned with making money and exploiting women in crisis situations than with truly providing maternal health.
To my unborn child, I’m sorry you had to experience this. I will work harder for your rights.
Reprinted with permission from Tanya Granic Allen