A new report by the progressive think tank Political Research Associates documents the growing threat Christian Right NGOs based at the United Nations pose to international policies supporting women’s reproductive health.
Their power has grown since the election of an anti-choice president in the United States in 2000 and there is no sign it is diminishing with the departure of arch-conservative John Bolton as UN Ambassador.
“Conservative NGOs at the UN are interfering with vital women’s health projects, harming the very people they seek to save,” says report author Pam Chamberlain, PRA senior researcher.
UNdoing Reproductive Freedom: Christian Right NGOs Target the United Nations tracks the growing interest in UN politics from such U.S.-based organizations as Concerned Women for America, National Right to Life Committee, and the Catholic Family and Human Right Institute.
Since 1995, the report shows, these groups have shrugged off their disinterest or even antagonism to the UN to pursue goals based on their domestic agenda: to promote abstinence-only-until-marriage in developing countries, and limit women’s access to abortion provided by international programs.
Using the access to official delegations and activities offered by their consultative status, the NGOs pursue their goals by such tactics as
- attempting to stonewall the deliberative process of committees
- organizing and funding an international caucus composed of other conservative religious entities and governments to mobilize opposition more broadly within the UN, and
- lobbying to defund the United Nations Population Fund and even UNICEF.
“The Christian Right’s interest in the U.N. is not a temporary or isolated foray into international organizing: it is part of a trend of growing Christian Right involvement in international concerns.” says Jennifer Butler, the author of Born Again: the Christian Right Globalized.
The report notes that working through the UN constitutes a shift for the conservative evangelical organizations, which historically opposed the existence of the United Nations as a threatening One World Government.
Electronic Versions of Report: PDF