.- Universal access to reproductive health, which includes abortion, should be included in the United Nationâs strategy for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), concluded a UN conference this week.
The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute reported that delegates at the two-day meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) agreed Thursday that the international strategy to reduce poverty and improve quality of life should be expanded to include a broad feminist agenda.
The conference was held in preparation for a major progress review of the MDGs this September.
A number of delegates voiced their support for universal access to abortion. France Donnay, chief of the Reproductive Health Branch of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), reportedly said, "reproductive health and rights are at the core of life for every human being" and "include...the means to avoid unwanted pregnancies."
She added: "Universal access to reproductive health, including family planning, is the starting point" for achieving the MDGs, and nations should include sexual and reproductive health in their universal health care plans.
Lynn Freedman, lead author of a key UN-commissioned report on reducing maternal mortality, recommended that universal access to reproductive health be achieved by 2015.
Norway and Canada welcomed these recommendations.
The UN Secretary General's progress report on the MDGs will be released March 21.