Tags: UNESCO | Pledges | End | Support | Abortion

UNESCO Pledges End to Support of Abortion

Thursday, 12 February 2004 12:00 AM

At the same time, UNESCO's efforts to distance itself from one particular document that recommends abortion on demand for girls, by highlighting the U.N. Population Fund's participation in the production of the document, may create further problems for UNFPA as it embarks on a public relations campaign aimed at restoring its U.S. funding. In January, Tommy Thompson, Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS), wrote a letter to UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura voicing Bush administration displeasure with some UNESCO documents, especially a document entitled "Unwanted Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion."

The document, first brought to light in the Friday Fax, and published in 2002 by UNESCO's Bangkok-based Regional Clearing House on Population Education and Communication, recommends abortion for all women and girls without restriction, the public financing of abortion, as well as the removal of all parental notification and consent laws. In response, Matsuura admitted in a letter to Thompson that "Unwanted Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion" contained "material that is not in line with our policies or mandate." Matsuura therefore "instructed the Bangkok Office to withdraw the document and remove it from the Internet."

A search of the UNESCO-Bangkok website confirms that the document has been removed. Furthermore, Matsuura forwarded Thompson an internal memo issued to UNESCO deputies in which he states:

"My attention has been drawn to certain co-publications that could give the impression that UNESCO has a mandate or issues recommendations in the area of abortion. I therefore wish to recall to your attention that abortion, and abortion-related issues, do not come within the mandate of UNESCO. As UNESCO does not promote abortion, and no funds are given by Member States to be spent on abortion-related activities or materials, I ask you to ensure that UNESCO's policy in this area is not misrepresented, in particular through publications and co-publications."

In a letter sent to the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute after the October 31, 2003 Friday Fax exposed "Unwanted Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion," a UNESCO spokeswoman explicitly mentioned who was involved in the "co-publication" of the document, writing that "With regard to the specific document to which you have drawn particular attention, I would like to stress that this publication should be seen in the framework of a long-standing cooperation between UNFPA and our UNESCO Office in Bangkok."

However, UNFPA has always claimed that it does not promote abortion. In a recent press release urging the Bush administration to restore U.S. funding, UNFPA categorically states that "the Fund does not support abortion." UNFPA has yet to comment on UNESCO's statements that appear to contradict these assertions, that UNFPA was involved in the production and publication of "Unwanted Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion."

Copyright - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

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At the same time, UNESCO's efforts to distance itself from one particular document that recommends abortion on demand for girls, by highlighting the U.N. Population Fund's participation in the production of the document, may create further problems for UNFPA as it embarks...
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2004-00-12
Thursday, 12 February 2004 12:00 AM
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