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Smashing Pro-Life Victory at UN

JCWillke   |   September 01, 1996

Here’s news that few of you have read about. The reason is quite obvious – pro-lifers won. If the pro-abort forces had been victorious, it would have been on the front page and highlighted by all of the media.

It was the fourth and last major UN conference of this century. It was held in Istanbul, Turkey, and entitled “Habitat”. The meeting was programmed to speak about housing throughout the world. Why then were pro-lifers involved? What has our issue to do with housing? Well, very little, except that the UN powers-that-be had an agenda. Yes, there was business to attend to regarding housing, but those questions were addressed and settled in the first week.

It was the second week where it came to a knock-down, drag-out fight. This international meeting of the almost 200 nations in the UN was to make decisions that would set guidelines worldwide. We in the US pay little attention to the UN. In most other countries, however, UN decisions are literally the law of the land and certainly guide the “foreign aid” policies of the Western world.

There were two sides when the battle lines were drawn up. On one side was a huge United States delegation, in close cooperation with Canada and the European Union which is made up of Western European countries. On the other side were the “G-77 countries” (a coalition of 131 developing countries), the pro-life, pro-family lobbyists, the Vatican and the Muslim nations. The Western nations have the money and totally control the UN apparatus. They set the agenda and give aid to those nations who obey what the rich Western countries want.

The Clinton appointees and their UN allies inserted into the document “reproductive health” in six places. They also inserted wording to establish sex clinics in schools worldwide, legalization of homosexual marriages, and a broad “gender” definition that included alternate lifestyles. All of this was in a housing document that had no relation at all to these controversial social proposals.

Pro-life, pro-family forces had blunted the Western nations’ anti-family assault at the Cairo meeting. Partly because of the physical set-up and other rules, some very destructive language had been passed at the Beijing meeting. One result from these meetings was that many nations came to understand the actual meaning of the kinds of wording that the Western nations wanted to insert. Particularly sensitized to this were Muslim nations which, in this meeting, were led very effectively by Saudi Arabia. For instance, “reproductive health”, translated into Arabic, means a safe delivery. Therefore, nations less than totally familiar with the nuances of this English wording had to have the true meaning explained. When this happened, they coalesced and became an effective, functioning alternative to the Western pressure.

There were about 60 pro-life lobbyists in Istanbul, from every continent. An office was set up in a hotel room with a copy machine (over 30,000 copies were made), computer, fax, desk-top publishing, etc. John Smeaton, from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child in London, guided the pro-life activity. Every night, at different secret locations, all available pro-life lobbyists met to plot strategy for the next day, and to pray together. The result of our activities was a firming up of the non-Western nations and a refusal to bow to what in fact became intense bullying, arm-twisting and outright blackmail. One African delegate told us that she was in complete sympathy with our pro-family views, but that if she did not vote with the United States, her country would lose their aid from the US, and they could not afford that. This was repeated by other countries.

The second week was programmed to have a gentle ending. Tuesday was to wrap up all of the discussions. Wednesday was to be a free day to allow full translation of the agreed-upon text. Thursday was to be the adoption of the text, and Friday was to be the formal acceptance and everybody would leave. It didn’t quite work out that way. At the beginning of the second week, all of the housing questions had been answered, but the conference was at total impasse on the proposed radical, social agenda.

The Western nations, who totally controlled the agenda, then adopted a policy to wear the opposition down. The session convened on Wednesday at 11:00 am and was held in formal session until 11:00 pm. During this time essentially nothing happened, and the chair of the president sat empty. But pro-family lobbyists fully understood that the president of the assembly could walk back in at any moment and ask for the assembly to vote on any proposal. This necessitated the pro-life, pro-family phalanx of countries and our people to sit and stay full-time. This was a real problem for small countries. For example, Guatemala sent one delegate, and there was a limit to such a person’s endurance. On Thursday the session reconvened at 11:00 am. Again nothing happened, but everyone stayed until the recess was called at 7:00 am Friday morning. Still no decisions. On Friday, instead of going home, as scheduled, our determined people stayed at their posts. So did the Muslim countries, and so did most of the G-77 nations. The meeting was reconvened at 11:00 am, and again the clock turned around until finally at 2:30 am on Saturday morning the Western nations finally gave up. Totally frustrated and visibly furious, the chief US negotiator accepted the pro-life, pro-family package.

The pro-life victory eliminated the Canadian insistence on an ambiguously defined “families”, which would have conferred equal status on homosexual “families”. It reaffirmed the importance of parental rights. It guaranteed respect for member states’ religious and ethical values. It recognized the family as the basic unit of society. Five of the six references to reproductive health were deleted, with the one remaining hemmed in with such strong protective language that it could not be used to force abortion on a developing country. All references to gender were eliminated, and school-based clinics were deleted.
It was in fact a resounding pro-life victory, or, as Mary Meaney, in her report of this in National Review Magazine, called it, “The Istanbul Miracle”.


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