New York City is brimming over with lots of debate and interesting rhetoric at the United Nations. It’s the 59th session on the Commission on the Status of Women and, strangely, a lot of the conversation has less to do about women and more to do about LGBT activism and the right to kill other humans (aka abortion).
I had the privilege of speaking on a panel titled: “Living Cooperation: Sexual Rights and Religious Rights at the UN” (listen to the audio here), which was moderated by the Reverend Patricia Ackerman, professor of Women’s Studies at City College of New York. Reverend Ackerman ardently supports abortion-on-demand and LGBT “equality” as evidenced by her signed endorsement of this disturbing Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing.
The panelists were evenly divided into two distinct ideological camps. The pro-life/pro-family organizations represented were The Radiance Foundation and the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam). The pro-abortion/pro-redefined-family organizations were the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), SisterSong, and Muslims for Progressive Values.
The dialogue was engaging. As expected, those who adamantly touted their solidarity with LGBT activism and believed abortion was a “human right” presented very few statistics (when they did, they were highly inaccurate), dismissed history, relied on the anecdotal and lots and lots of feelings. For instance, Sistersong’s Monica Simpson claimed that fatherlessness was due to the “prison industrial complex.” Considering 1.3 percent of adult black males (or 526,000) are incarcerated in America, prison hardly accounts for the epidemic of fatherlessness in the black community. Seventy-two percent of black children are born into homes without fathers. She also claimed that black women had a maternal mortality rate (MMR) 4 times higher than whites in Georgia to illustrate health disparities. Abortion occurs in the black community at rates up to 5 times higher, yet SisterSong and other “reproductive justice” activists celebrate it as “self-determined” living and “bodily autonomy.”
Here’s context: There were 23 maternal deaths in Georgia in 2012; 16 were black women, and 6 were white women. That means black women’s MMR was 2.7 times higher. Nearly any article you ever read about maternal mortality never tells you the actual number of maternal deaths. Those deaths are tragic, and according to the Georgia Department of Health, nearly half of them are preventable. Yet, maternal mortality is always used by abortion activists to justify the “need” for abortion. In 2012, Georgia didn’t “need” to abort 28,036 of its own children.
In fact, part of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals to improve maternal health demands that “access to safe abortion” is an essential component of reducing MMR. But history and statistics show otherwise. I responded with the historical fact that in New York, home to the UN, MMR plummeted drastically from 574.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in the early 1900s to 26.1 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1970 prior to Roe. In fact, the MMR rate dropped 2200 percent from 1917 to 1960 without legalized abortion in New York or the legalization of contraception (see the Radiance infographic here).
Marianne Mollmann of the IGLHRC made some predictable remarks regarding reproductive biology as she denied that science knew when life begins. “It’s not possible to study what the fetus or what the unborn child is. It’s a belief,” she proclaimed. Sorry, Ms. Mollmann. It’s already been studied and concluded. A human life begins at conception. It’s not a “religious” belief. Science declares it. (Even Planned Parenthood and SEICUS confirmed this in 1969 in the book Conception, Birth, and Contraception.) She expressed many other feelings that had no basis in fact, such as the Beijing Declaration declaring “sexual autonomy” for LGBT women. The declaration makes no such statement. The phrase “sexual autonomy” or anything related to LGBT never appear in the UN document.
When I asserted that the United Nations defined marriage (not right-wing religious folk as they charged) through in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), she claimed it never specified male-female unions. Well, considering “same-sex marriage” was never legally recognized until the Netherlands became the first country to allow it (in 1989), one can be assured when the UDHR was adopted in 1948, no one even conceived “same-sex marriage” as a possibility. Article 16 states: “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion [not gender identity or sexual orientation], have the right to marry and to found a family.” In the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the UN lists rights of marriage including (in Part IV, Article 16): “The same personal rights as husband and wife, including the right to choose a family name, a profession and an occupation.” Article 9 asserts: “…neither marriage to an alien nor change of nationality by the husband during marriage shall automatically change the nationality of the wife, render her stateless or force upon her the nationality of the husband.”
Let’s not let facts get in the way of feelings. They’re not as sexy…not as dramatic. But they are what social policies should be based upon. Sadly, the majority of the room nodded their heads in agreement, apparently never having read any of these documents or dismissing them, as Molllmann did, because “these were a long time ago.”
I was grateful that C-Fam was there to counter some of the rhetoric, too. In the end, it was a respectful conversation. But for dialogue to be beneficial, as I stated during the panel, it needs to be honest. It needs context. It needs clarity. The United Nations is powerful and hugely influential. We can’t allow sweeping global “policies” to be rooted in feelings, but upon the truth that fuses the emotional with the evidential. For those who embrace a pro-life, pro-family worldview, that fusion is our strength and what both women and men, around the world, so desperately need.