Magazine article Insight on the News

War of Words Is Worth Fighting in Document for U.N. Child Summit

Magazine article Insight on the News

War of Words Is Worth Fighting in Document for U.N. Child Summit

Article excerpt

"How are you doing, Ms. Bellamy?" asked a bright-eyed and friendly Mormon coed serving a plate of cheese and crackers to the executive director of UNICEF during an impromptu late-night buffet served by pro-life nongovernmental organizations to U.N. negotiators. "I'd be doing a lot better if you weren't smiling so much," Bellamy replied.

The exchange came during the June preparatory committee meeting for the upcoming World Summit for Children, taking place Sept. 19-21 at U.N. headquarters. It was impossible to tell if Bellamy's frustration came from the protracted negotiations or from the turn of events that had occurred just two nights before. Quite by accident, a Canadian delegate had blurted out the truth when admitting that the word "services" in relation to "reproductive health care" actually meant abortion. That admission and the subsequent uproar have colored the summer-long negotiations that are supposed to produce a document for the child summit, expected to attract more than 70 heads of state, including President George W. Bush.

Woody Allen said a relationship is like a shark-- it must always move forward or it dies. This also is the view of U.N. radicals toward U.N. documents; radical language must always move forward or disaster looms. The tone of European and Latin American negotiators in August and September meetings show they are quite despondent that the Canadian gaffe could produce a rollback of radical language, which to them is tantamount to political death. Such are the ways of negotiating U.N. language, where victory and defeat are measured by mere syllables. If the United States, the Holy See and the Islamic countries succeed in forever branding the phrase "reproductive health-care services" as meaning abortion, then the phrase possibly may never be used again, and in a very small way the tide will have turned.

From 1992 onward, U.N. radicals, led by the Clinton administration, established a body of "agreed-upon" language in U.N. documents that travels a great distance toward enshrining a universal human right to abortion. This was done mostly with tricks of language, since the word "abortion" itself very rarely is used in U.N. documents. The preferred term is "reproductive health care." And here is the tricky part. At U.N. meetings, both governmental and nongovernmental radicals never admit that "reproductive health care" means abortion. Only after this phrase is inserted into U.N. documents do these same radicals insist that it means exactly that. (A recent lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy asserts that the repeated use of "reproductive health care" in U. …

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