“The Ugly American” has taken on new meaning since the 1958 political novel by the same name about U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. “Rude” and “ostentatiously wealthy” does not begin to describe the impression that the United States government made on the international community last week.
As Timothy Herrmann of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute reported in the current issue of C-FAM’s Friday Fax dated March 23, 2012:
The United States burned diplomatic bridges during this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women by using force and deception to pass an unpopular resolution calling for international access to contraception.
Countries accused the US of manipulating the negotiations process from start to finish through proposing the initial text of the resolution on maternal mortality, tightly controlling the ongoing negotiation and then using its prerogative as conference chairman to ram home a final document that other countries could not realistically change.
The US push for contraception presents a radical departure from language agreed upon at UN Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994 (ICPD), which used “family planning” instead of the word insisted upon by the US, “contraception.” Abortion is explicitly rejected as family planning in the Cairo document. Many countries worry that the US revision, along with their reference to reproductive rights within the resolution, could encourage a broader abortion agenda, a foreign policy priority of the Obama Administration.
The resolution, meant to address maternal health, was not well received by delegations like Chile, Iran, Malta and the Holy See because the US placed greater emphasis on contraception rather than the health of the mother….
Though concessions were made, the US was unwilling to compromise on “safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of contraception” or any references to reproductive rights. Rumors abound as to why the US would not compromise on this language, but delegations felt it was likely that the Obama administration’s national policy on contraception had now become its international policy as well….
The reason for the unyielding stance of the United States delegation was certainly not women’s health. An international contraceptive mandate would hardly benefit women in Third World countries because it would divert even more scarce medical resources away from basic needs such as clean water supplies and malaria treatments. Nor would it be in the national interests of the U.S.A.; using economic leverage to dictate the terms of population control policies in poorer nations is viewed as an especially repellent form of neo-colonialism. Then what on earth were they thinking?
As early as January 2009, in an interview with CWR, Steven W. Mosher, president of Population Research Institute, foresaw such “diplomatic” initiatives by the Obama administration:
The abortion lobby went overboard to elect Barack Obama. Planned Parenthood’s political action committee alone spent at least $10 million in the elections to turn out one million more pro-abortion voters in order to “elect a pro-choice president” and “to keep [their] doors open”. Now it’s payback time.
The three things that the abortion movement wants from a President Obama are more money for their international contraception and sterilization programs, an end to any and all restrictions on abortions, and a massive increase in [domestic] government funding, including funding for abortion itself.
Mosher’s prediction neatly explains both the recent Health and Human Services Department mandate for contraceptive insurance and the U.S. delegation’s bulldozer approach to passing a resolution at the U.N. last week. Was it worth it? Timothy Herrmann reports in a related story:
Negotiations for a final document at the UN Commission on the Status of Women were supposed to end more than a week ago. However, they dragged on for another several days and resulted in a stinging defeat for the Obama administration and anger on the part of the developing world.
The US was trying to impose its sexual and reproductive rights agenda, and in a dramatic showdown delegations scuttled a final document rather than accept the US proposal.
With benefactors like Planned Parenthood, who needs enemies?
[Note: Michael J. Miller interviewed the president of Population Research Institute for CWR in January 2009 and November 2011.]
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!
Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.