This year’s Conference on the Status of Women (CSW) is directed to the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. A New York Times article (March 12, 2013) entitled “Unholy Alliance” claims that Russia, Iran and the Vatican are in league to use “custom, tradition and religion” to “control women” and provide cover for rogue governments to duck their obligation to eliminate all forms of violence against women. However, the statement of Archbishop Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, to the delegates gathered at the UN for the 57th CSW lent little support to this allegation. In fact, he said the opposite:
“Many women and girls, from the moment of conception until natural death, face an array of immoral and dehumanizing acts of violence. In addition, degrading practices, such as female genital mutilation, child marriage, forced sterilization and forced abortions, characterize this continuum and constitute heinous forms of oppression trampling upon the dignity of women and girls. This reality demands that Governments as well as all societal institution undertake concerted and comprehensive efforts to address this grave problem.”
So, why the negative New York Times’ spin directed against the Holy See? Last year the 56th CSW failed to produce an outcome document because of the push-back from UN delegates of the developing world to the radical positions that were advanced by the Obama administration, the EU and their allied pro-abortion non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Basically, last year’s CSW was a big waste of time and money. This year the developed nations, including the Obama administration, are pulling all stops and are intent on forcing poor countries into accepting an out-come document that enshrines abortion as a fundamental right and that classifies restrictions on homosexual sex as “crimes against humanity” to be prosecuted by International Criminal Court.
Many delegates from the developing world are complaining that the CSW has lost its direction and is simply focused on forcing abortion and unrestricted homosexual sodomy on the third world. The real issues plaguing women in the developing world such as potable water, sanitation, and basic health care such as antibiotics and blood banks are being given little attention, they say. Earlier in the negotiation process the Holy See sought to insert language into the proposed out-come document grounding the rights of women and girls in the foundational documents of the United Nations. All reference to those documents, the UN Charter (1945) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) which guarantees the right to life to all persons, was struck from the latest draft of the out-come document.
There was dead silence in the room when law professor, Helen Alvere, read the Holy See statement that tagged abortion as an inherent form of violence against women: “Hence, as many women who have undergone this experience know, abortion, in all its forms, can never be considered as a right solution to any of the plagues that target women; rather, compounding the violence with violence increases social trauma and cannot but contribute to aggravating the spread and the pain of violence in our societies… encouraging her to perpetuate the cycle of violence.”1 She warned the delegates, in the words of Pope John Paul II, that they must not foster a “war of the powerful against the weak.”2
It remains to be seen if the rich nations and their media pundits will succeed in twisting the arms of the UN delegates from the developing world and force them to sign a post-modern ideologically driven outcome document. If this occurs, it will signal that the rich nations have tightened their grip over the least developed nations and that the founding Charter of the UN has been ignored. Why then, UN?
Brian Scarnnecchia J.D.
Reporting from the floor of the UN
1Citing Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in veriate, #15.
2Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, #12.