A Pro-Life Fight at the UN

NEW YORK-During the past two weeks, a seemingly inconsequential UN oversight committee convened with undeniably consequential results. Tasked with reviewing the applications of hundreds of advocacy groups wishing to gain official status and entry into the United Nations, the committee ultimately refused to recommend the approval of several controversial pro-abortion and anti-Catholic organizations.

One of the most problematic organizations up for recommendation was the Argentinian non-governmental organization (NGO), “Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir Cordoba.” The organization belongs to an international network of pro-abortion advocacy groups in Latin America that was founded in collaboration with the American organization Catholics for Choice. Catholics for Choice (CFC) is perhaps best known for directly contradicting the Catholic Church by claiming that it is possible to be Catholic and support abortion.

The organization was denied recommendation when the representative from Pakistan pointed out that the name on its application was different from the name it was registered under within its own country. The Holy See further explained that under Argentinian law the Catholic Church is recognized as a public entity and that an organization couldn’t use the name “Catholic” without their approval. Allowing them to enter under “Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir Cordoba” rather than their legally recognized name of “Associación Civil Por El Derecho a Decidir” would serve to undermine Argentinian law.

Another pro-abortion organization, Women Deliver, was also refused recommendation. Women Deliver is an organization run by abortion advocates that fly under the flag of maternal health in order to campaign for broader sexual and reproductive health “rights” internationally. Various questions were asked of the organization during the meeting related to their membership, mission and activities with UN organizations like the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). In the end, they did not make committee approval because countries on the committee remained unsatisfied with their responses.

Twice during the session, the committee was caught up in heated debate over the Austria based homosexual rights group “Homosexuelle Initiative Wien.” Beyond the fact that Morocco remained unsatisfied with the organization’s responses to the committee’s questions, various committee members, including the Holy See, expressed concern over the lack of seriousness with which the group appeared to be treating the approval process.

The Holy See questioned, in particular, the organization’s contentious claim that the only state within the European Union with a lesser age of consent than Austria was the Vatican, where it was “twelve.” Not only did the Holy See point out that such a law did not exist in the Vatican, but explained that Canon law only referenced the age of consent for marriage which, in any case, was not twelve years of age. Given that the group’s statement was both factually and legally incorrect, and that it represented a defamatory attack directed toward the Vatican, it was requested that group’s application be amended before being considered for further recommendation.

The nineteen-member oversight committee is the main point of entry for any non-governmental organization that seeks to gain official consultative status at the United Nations.  Its purpose is to meticulously review the activities and of each organization and determine whether to recommend the organization for final approval by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

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