The radical feminists' push for universal access to contraception went on steroids with the just-released report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Its annual report, "The State of World Population 2012: By Choice, Not by Chance: Family Planning, Human Rights and Development," was released in numerous languages and in more than 100 capitals around the world, including Berlin, Geneva, Madrid, Paris, Tokyo and Washington. The basic message of the report is that contraception is a "human right" that is fundamental to the "sustainable development" of nations.
Making contraception a "human right" enables the UNFPA (formerly the U.N. Fund for Population Activities) to support those people around the world who want to "transform gender attitudes and cultural barriers that impede access to and use of family planning."
The proclamation that family planning is a "human right" stakes out the territory for U.N. dominance over individual states' national sovereignty. Put bluntly, the move is modern-day colonialism. Further, such a move puts nations under obligation to implement the UNFPA declaration and requires them to put down any local defiance.
Clearly, "ensuring universal access" to family planning means challenging traditional and local practices -- another way of saying that any disagreement is to be squelched, and that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are irrelevant when family planning "rights" are at stake. Ironically, the pro-abortion champions of the UNFPA goals have the temerity to state they are justified by the claim that reducing unintended pregnancies would mean fewer abortions.
Throughout the report, words like "all" and "everyone" pile up as the UNFPA declares its intent that "everyone" in "all" nations has a "human right" for family planning and that nothing can stand in the way of implementing the UNFPA's family-planning goals around the world. This year, they especially stress the need for "family planning" for "those who are young and unmarried."
The UNFPA focuses on what it calls the negative consequences of ignoring family planning (poverty, poor health and gender inequality). It also points to the positive "multiplier" effect of empowering women by boosting their labor force participation. The arguments for access to contraception are framed against a backdrop of "religious conservatives blocking" access to contraceptives, especially for those who need access "most desperately" -- the young and those in developing nations.
All these reasons constitute ammunition for the women's rights advocates who have long promoted the idea that family planning is a "human right." Their agenda is also their rationale for seizing control over billions of dollars on the grounds that family planning is a vital, integral part of nations' development priorities. The UNFPA claims that it would be a "sound investment" to apply more than $4 billion to address the "unmet" needs of 222 million women.
Keep in mind that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others contributed significantly to the $5 billion already committed at the London family-planning summit earlier this year.
Keep in mind, too, that the UNFPA report brands as unacceptable any and all cultural or religious objections to contraception, including sterilization, IUDs and emergency contraceptives like Plan B and Ella (which many consider to be abortifacients because they prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus).
The champion of "women's liberation" that it is, the UNFPA nevertheless sees nothing wrong with encroaching on liberty by forcing believers around the world to give up their deeply held, long-established religious convictions in order to grant someone else's far-fetched, newly minted "human right."
While women around the world long to be free from hunger and desire the opportunity for an education, the U.N. talks about "family planning" as a "human right." Many of the targeted nations are desperate for clean water and basic sanitation. Untold multitudes of women in the targeted nations lack basic health supplies like aspirin and penicillin. Many women in those nations are affected by health problems (like female genital mutilation and obstetric fistulas) and safety issues (like sex trafficking and rape) -- and the U.N. sends condoms.
Meanwhile, Diane Stewart, the UNFPA director of information and external relations, focuses her attention and energy on the "global challenge" of removing all legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family-planning measures -- barriers that are "an infringement of women's rights." Based on her own particular set of values, she takes exception to the fact that in many cultures, women are encouraged to have large families and to avoid or minimize the use of contraceptives.
In an interview with Cheryl Wetzstein of The Washington Times, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat, linked the UNFPA report to the re-election of President Obama. While she praised the fact that Americans would continue to receive family-planning services, she declared, "Women and men everywhere need access to education, counseling and services on birth control and legal, safe abortion. This is a human rights issue."
With the establishment of taxpayer-funded contraceptives and abortions through Obamacare, religious liberty has been compromised in the United States. Sadly, our nation -- through its strong-arm tactics at the UNFPA -- is taking on the "global challenge" of infringing on the religious liberties of people throughout the world.
Janice Shaw Crouse, a speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, is spokesman for Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and author of "Marriage Matters" (Transaction Publishers, 2012).