The following was presented by PNCI Director, Marie Smith, during a panel discussion sponsored by Human Life International at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC on February 11, 2012-
The tone here at this meeting of conservatives is so positive and energized. It is much different than what I hear from individuals from other countries who fear that they might be “accused of being conservative”. This fear—accused of being conservative—is present at the United Nations and applies not only to individuals but to countries as well. ‘Conservative’ in that setting refers to belief in the protection of children from the violence of abortion and support for traditional marriage and the natural family.
However, despite this fear, countries are standing up for their beliefs and rejecting the radical agenda promoted by the United Nations and United States. They are standing firm in protecting their national laws on abortion. In 2009, over 141 countries restricted abortion in some way; including 68 that prohibited abortion completely or allowed for a life of the mother exception while only 56 countries allowed abortion with no restriction as to reason.
The struggle is real and the US administration is one of the chief architects of the radical agenda.
We have a glimpse of this agenda in a speech Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave three years ago while accepting the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood.
Mrs. Clinton stated:
“At the end of the next four years, I hope that we’ll be able to look around the world and see that it is more peaceful, more prosperous, more progressive,…and that organizations like Planned Parenthood will be our partners.”
This sentence sums up the path that US foreign policy has taken in the three years that followed that speech. The words peaceful, progressive and partners help to explain how a radical agenda has been advanced through the use of political pressure, coordination with radical non-governmental organizations, the use of undefined terms, new definitions of words, and reinterpretation of international law to advance an agenda that is devoid of international consensus or agreement.
One of the first things Secretary Clinton did was let Congress know that she believes abortion is a part of health-- women’s health, maternal health and reproductive health. That abortion is a “reproductive right”, “a woman’s right” and a “human right”. And she told the world that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender agenda (LGBT) is key to US foreign policy and that so-called ‘gay rights’ are human rights.
Under the Obama administration, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have taken on new powerful roles as the partners of the US government. As Secretary Clinton stated in that PP speech, NGOs like Planned Parenthood are “one of the great exports that America has” and “are on the frontlines around the world.”
As governments worldwide rely more and more on NGOs to advise them on health care policies and implementation of programs, there is growing concern over the undue influence of these agenda-driven organizations that often cloak their promotion of abortion, even hide their performance of illegal abortion or in the case of US funded Marie Stopes International which boasted at a Women Deliver Conference that they perform illegal abortions, which violates national sovereign laws.
As we look beyond US partners, the word “peaceful” is used in new ways and to promote controversial issues. This past December, President Obama launched the first-ever U.S. national action plan on women, peace, and security, a joint project between the State Department and the Defense Department. It was described by State as “a fundamentally different way for the United States to do business” and that “this National Action Plan expresses the United States’ unqualified commitment to integrating women’s views and perspectives fully into our diplomatic, security, and development efforts.”
The National Plan at first glance appears to focus on helping women in conflict situations and includes positive protection and real humanitarian assistance, but a reading of the plan reveals much more.
The plan includes the integration of women’s health—remember this means abortion—and women’s rights—which includes the broad spectrum of so-called sexual rights — in all programs.
An article about the plan Advancing Women’s Rights Is Progressive Foreign Policy stated:
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is spearheading a quiet revolution in progressive foreign policy by making the empowerment of women and advancement of their rights a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. …the Obama administration has embarked on the most concerted effort to advance women’s rights in the history of U.S. foreign policy.”
These efforts to advance the complete package of so-called “sexual and reproductive rights” has been on a continuum for the past three years but reached an unprecedented level this past December 6 when in a speech in Geneva, Secretary Clinton announced that “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights” and declared that the US will pursue these rights around the world.
On the same day President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons. Included in the memorandum were instructions for all embassies and US agencies to end “discrimination” against LGBT persons and to use the tools of the US government to do so.
It must be remembered that non-violence protection is very different from non-discrimination measures, but yet the two terms are often combined-- resulting in confusion. Individuals with same sex attractions or who are transgender need to be protected from violence and abuse and have equal protection under the rule of law.
But, non-discrimination is a different issue. It often includes measures to prevent, punish and eradicate what is identified as discrimination by LGBT advocates but what may instead be actions resulting from religious beliefs and conscience objections. These could include the refusal by a faith-based school to hire a homosexual teacher because his lifestyle conflicts with the school’s religious beliefs. Or the refusal of a Catholic adoption agency to place a child with a same sex couple could be classified as discrimination. We have already seen Catholic adoption agencies shut their doors rather than compromise their religious principles.
Some countries are losing patience with the growing radical agenda and are responding. Russian and Ukrainian NGOs that defend life and family issued a statement criticizing the United Nations for promoting abortion and attacking the family under the guise of human rights.
The Saint Petersburg Resolution included an Article that states:
"We are seriously concerned over the activities of some very small groups who proclaim their own ideals on behalf of the entire civil society, while in fact those interests are contrary to the true interests of sovereign nations. The real interests of any nation focus on the natural (traditional) family, the preservation of its rights and benefits, and the protection of traditional family values."
While countries are considering the latest US action, the agenda continues to be advanced under the context of stability and peace. On January 31, the State Department sponsored a webchat on LGBT Issues and US Policy with Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer. He emphasized that LGBT issues are a key part of the US human rights policy efforts to advance “a more stable, peaceful, and democratic world.”
Naturally one has to ask—Is it really doing that?
Is this policy priority promoting stability, peace and democracy?
Let’s look at one event from this past June—proclaimed as LGBT Pride Month by President Obama. US Embassy Islamabad hosted the first gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender event in largely Muslim Pakistan, a key US ally in a volatile region.
The event for GLBT Pride Celebration was attended by U.S. Mission personnel, representatives of the diplomatic community, and leaders of Pakistani NGOs. Outside, street protests began in three Pakistani cities against the event calling it “cultural terrorism”. Protestors chanted anti-US slogans and burned American flags.
When the State department was questioned about this event and the resulting protests, the response was: We have not received any official complaint from the Pakistani government over the event.
This event and the protests it provoked can hardly be considered a path to increased peace and security.
Finally, we need to consider the word ‘progressive’. ‘Progressive’ can be seen as the anti-conservative term used by elitists at the UN and elsewhere who prefer it over the word ‘liberal’ in attempts to disguise the radical nature of their agenda and enlist support.
In 2009, then executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Thoraya Ahmed Obaid recognized this and stated in a speech entitled: Promoting the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender Equity in Diverse Cultural and Religious Settings:
“I believe that religion is the final frontier in our work to promote human rights, including the rights of women and the right to sexual and reproductive health. I firmly believe that including faith-based organizations and progressive religious leaders in our circle of partners will generate greater progress, even in dealing with what is considered taboos such as sexual orientation, gender identity, abortion or sex work.”
She understood that religious and moral beliefs and values are strong around the world. She sought out religious leaders whose positions were not committed to life and family in an attempt to change values and promote a radical agenda.
The good news is that there are courageous leaders standing up to unprecedented pressure from the US, the UN, and other donor countries and holding on to their cherished principles even in the face of the loss of development aid. There are faith-filled men and women around the world who are fighting to uphold the dignity of life, marriage and family.
They need our support.
John Adams once said, “Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”
Let us find ways to help countries maintain their religious and moral beliefs while securing freedom and democracy.