The Pro-Abortion United Nations

It's January, and pro-life folks are getting their hand warmers ready for the annual march Jan. 25 in Washington. The abortion lobby remains delighted that Roe v. Wade wasn't decided in April.

The thousands of pounding feet might be better pointed toward the United Nations, which seems to hire writers from the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984. The UN's scary pro-abortion doublespeak pushes access to "medical abortion" as a health issue worldwide.

This is how the World Health Organization puts it: "Recognizing the important role that medical abortion can play in women's reproductive health, the WHO launched a research initiative to first understand the barriers to its use, and then to develop ways to overcome them and expand its provision with these goals as its focus of research, the initiative emphasized issues of high relevance in the local contexts where the different studies were to be conducted."

Give me a break. They are talking about the abortion drug mifepristone (RU-486), which is so controversial its German owners sold it off. Now Paris-based Exelgyn S.A. makes it in France, and Danco Laboratories makes it in China for the U.S. market.

Now the UN is pushing it worldwide, and the United States is footing a large part of the bill.

All told, the United States pays about a quarter of the United Nations' budget. The statistics are conflicting and confusing. Suffice it to say the United States contributes billions of dollars. The money comes from my (and your) small coins thrown into government coffers on income tax day as well as those touted taxes on rich people. Then there are the taxes on gasoline, plane tickets, telephone service, and just about anything manufactured or imported for sale to the United States.

So U.S. taxpayers are paying to "understand the barriers to [abortion], and then to develop ways to overcome them." Give you a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach? I don't think it's the potato salad.

The intensive and very professional spin on the world's abortion debate has landed in Ireland, where the Irish government is planning legislation (by Easter, of all days) to "clarify" Irish laws. Irish bishops are in a swivet, especially since the Irish prime minister effectively said, "Oh, yes, the pope is entitled to his opinion, but we have ours."

Two prongs of the pro-abortion fork are stuck in the public's eye: 1) All those poor people in developing countries need access to abortion; 2) Developed countries are backward in their ideas about abortion.

Prong No. 1: Poor people need abortions. We can debate the UN's efforts on birth control. Catholic teaching says no woman need become pregnant against her will. So if she can't defend herself any other way, anything before the fact seems OK. But that is before pregnancy. Is there any percentage to the attitude that children are a problem and abortion is the solution?

Prong No. 2: People in developed nations are often saddled with antiquated laws. That's where the Irish situation is so interesting. Not long ago, a Hindu woman arrived at a Galway hospital in the midst of a miscarriage. For three days, the hospital just watched. Septicemia took hold. The hospital refused to assist the miscarriage, saying Ireland was a "Catholic country." Mother and her 17-week-old fetus died. But do misunderstandings of Christian ethics require changes in law?

Whether for rich nation or poor, the argument is that everyone deserves access to health care, and abortion is health care.

News flash: Pregnancy is not a disease. Septicemia, pulmonary hypertension, ectopic pregnancies and cancer of the womb are conditions that possibly (even probably) warrant termination of a developing fetus, especially during miscarriage. That's called "double effect," and medical ethicists dance all day on pinheads refining the discussion.

But ethics are out the window at the UN, whose documents tout successes and advances in pushing "medical abortions" in Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, China, India, Nepal and Turkey. Those are just the countries they name.

It's just plain nuts. Why is so much of the human race so bent on killing its young?

[Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University and author of several books in Catholic studies. Her most recent books are Women & Catholicism (Palgrave-Macmillan), Women in Ministry: Emerging Questions about the Diaconate (Paulist Press) and Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future (with Gary Macy and William T. Ditewig), (Paulist Press).]

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