Monday, August 13, 2007

UN Population Fund Plans New Campaign For "Reproductive Health"

In recent postings and articles, the UNFPA has been a party in the discussion.

Last Friday reported on the release of UNFPA’s four year strategy aimed at supporting and raising “awareness of reproductive rights.”

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has assessed the various regions of the world and despite differences in local circumstances, proposes that the solution is the spread of "reproductive health services," a phrase that is used by UN agencies and committees as synonymous with abortion. UNFPA recently released a proposal for a comprehensive four-year, $224 million advocacy strategy aimed at supporting and raising “awareness of reproductive rights.” Claiming “the right to reproductive health applies to all people at all times,” the UNFPA program aims to “increase demand for sexual and reproductive health services and reproductive rights” across the globe by working with all sectors of society from governments and community leaders to NGOs and the media.

UNFPA asserts their new program takes into account the culture and socioeconomic climate of particular regions; for instance, they know promoting abortion in Arab states is problematic. Outlining its proposed actions in Africa, UNFPA targets the region’s relatively high fertility rates, arguing that population growth is “outpacing the capacity of economies to generate jobs” and aims “to address the unmet need for contraception” in the region. UNFPA does not seem to take into account the fact that fertility rates are falling in most African countries and that longevity in some African countries has dropped into the 40's. The UNFPA program also proposes increased condom usage among adolescents.


UNFPA critics take note of the agency’s interchangeable use of the terms “reproductive health services,” “reproductive rights” and “reproductive health.” Both “reproductive health services” and “reproductive rights” remain highly contentious in UN social policy discussions because they continue to be misinterpreted by powerful NGOs and UN agencies to include abortion.

Full report here.

Further background on UN efforts and the UNFPA to "leave no abortion behind." How much is worldwide access to abortion worth?

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