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Pro-life Voices Needed for United Nations Lobbying

Editor   |   April 01, 1999

By Austin Ruse

Of the more than 2,000 non-governmental organizations officially recognized by the United Nations, no more than 10 actively lobby on behalf of the unborn child. It can easily be said that hundreds of NGOs lobby actively against the unborn child. Moreover, hundreds actively promote abortion around the world.

International Planned Parenthood Federation is so loved at the UN that they have been given a very special designation. The United Nations considers them an “apex” NGO, which means that they are recognized by the UN as one of the most important NGOs regarding their work. IPPF is the world’s largest and richest abortion provider and is a key distributor for UN population control.

The pro-life movement at the United Nations began in 1994 when Pope John Paul II asked people of all faiths to go to Cairo to lobby foreign delegations at the International Conference on Population and Development. This was a major battle in the war between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death. At that conference, radicals attempted to get abortion-on-demand recognized as an internationally protected human right. They were defeated in that move, but only because of the citizen lobbyists who made great sacrifices to attend the meeting.

To this day, UN bureaucrats try to keep pro-life NGOs out of UN meetings. In February, at a Netherlands meeting that was a five-year follow up to the original Cairo conference, UN bureaucrats put a quota on pro-life participation. Out of 720 NGOs approved, only six were pro-life. At this same conference, UN personnel repeatedly harassed pro-life journalists. One was even bodily ejected by uniformed UN security. One respected Catholic journalist was interviewing the pro-life First Lady of El Salvador when she noticed UN security personnel were listening in to the interview. They were chased away by the First Lady’s own security.

It need not be this way. There is a solution, and that is to have more pro-life organizations become officially recognized UN NGOs. This is not hard or as daunting as it sounds. It takes a long time, the application is lengthy, but it is well worth your while. There is no cost, and it will help pro-life work at the UN immeasurably!

Maybe you have no plans or desire to ever send anyone to the UN. That’s all right. The existing pro-life organizations at the UN can find people to represent your group at UN meetings. Once the number of pro-life NGOs grows, the UN bureaucrats will have a much harder time keeping us out. Then we can more easily go on the offensive and succeed on behalf of the unborn at the UN.

If you are interested in having your pro-life or pro-family organization become an UN NGO, you can contact Life Issues Institute or Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. We will assist you every step of the way.

Austin Ruse is the Director of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, the only full-time pro-life group working at UN headquarters in New York City. He can be reached at 212-754-5948 or at

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