It comes as no surprise that in its crusade for radical “social justice,” the United Nations has long attacked conservative measures to protect life and family. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan fought the U.N.’s agenda to support governments that forced abortions and even sterilization. Almost two decades later, the administration of George W. Bush actually cut off funding because the organization’s agenda — largely influenced by International Planned Parenthood Federation — was out of control.
What is surprising is how callous the U.N.’s disregard of fairness and objectivity became during the “go-go” years of President Barack Obama — a disturbing and even dangerous development that was on full display this week in what was supposed to be an “inclusive” United Nations Civil Society Conference held in Salt Lake City. At first, the U.N. told pro-life and pro-family groups that they were “delighted” to accept their workshop applications. They took workshop fees from those organizations, included them in their planning and then officially approved a merged workshop — a request readily agreed to by the conservative groups.
Then, less than 48 hours before the conference began, they told the conservative groups that they could no longer present their workshop. In other words, the U.N. Department of Global Communications, which organized the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference, brazenly discriminated against voices that did not fit into their agenda and ironically turned a conference touting inclusivity into a propaganda roadshow. This came at tremendous cost to the groups that had already purchased airline tickets for their presenters, reserved hotel rooms, and — as mentioned — even paid the conference workshop fees.
The vague reason given for the last-minute censorship was that the pro-life and pro-family messages were “not well-rounded” and potentially “too controversial.” This despite the fact that the U.N.’s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the “dignity and worth of the human person,” the “right to life,” and that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and State” (emphasis added).
Too controversial? The approved theme of the conservative presentation was “The Protection of Life, Women and Girls for Safe, Sustainable Cities.” The organizers had asked for the merger of workshops on the protection of life and on the protection of women and girls. The conservative groups complied. Then at the last minute, they canceled it completely.
At this point, reasonable minds can only guess why. However, it appears that “controversial” topics such as protecting women and girls from violence, protecting unborn babies and promoting safety within the family must have triggered this last-minute exclusion from the conference.
Rather than too much controversy, perhaps the organizers were concerned about too much rational discourse, too many hard and disturbing facts that fall uncomfortably outside what has become a radical agenda to promote risky sexual behaviors that lead to dangerous outcomes and undermine the family. Rather than reasonable discourse and constructive engagement, perhaps the U.N. grew frightened of information that might influence or even alter the declaration the conference surely intends to formalize at the end of its carefully controlled proceedings.
However, the voices on behalf of life and family will not be deterred. Since the conference report will no longer feature an outcome document that honestly represents the views of all those who were to participate, a number of pro-life and pro-family organizations will publish an “Alternate Salt Lake City Declaration.” Its purpose will be to capture and proclaim the pro-life, pro-family viewpoint on how to create safe and sustainable cities and communities. The declaration will be widely disseminated and posted at UNFamilyRightsCaucus.org, there to serve as evidence of the lengths to which radicals will go to silence honest discussion, and as a reminder of just how high the stakes are on this issue that is literally a matter of life and death.
Merrilee Boyack represents Abortion-Free Utah, Annie Franklin represents the United Nations Family Rights Caucus, Deanna Holland represents Pro-Life Utah, and Sharon Slater represents Family Watch International.