.- Amid controversy over the ârightsâ to contraception and abortion, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women concluded its 56th annual meeting without reaching the necessary agreement for a concluding document.
A Holy See delegation which attended the gathering argued that expanding the definition of family planning âamounts to a wholesale attempt at rewriting history to advance an agenda disrespectful of marriage and the family.â
The U.N. Commissionâs closing meeting, held on March 15, ended without adopting the normal âagreed conclusions.â
This unusual outcome was due to the U.S. delegationâs attempt to expand the definition of âfamily planningâ that has been used for nearly two decades to include âmodern forms of contraception.â
The Obama administration has been pushing expansive âreproductive rightsâ within the United States as well.
The Department of Health and Human Services has recently included abortion-causing drugs as âpreventive services,â calling them âFDA-approved contraceptivesâ and requiring employers to offer health insurance plans that cover them under the new health care law.
However, numerous states at the Commission meeting â including Muslim nations, southern African countries and the Holy See â objected to the attempt to establish an international consensus on the âright to contraception.â
Several states, including Poland, Chile and Malta, also clarified that they did not interpret the term âreproductive rightsâ to include abortion.
The U.S. delegation had worked to expand the term from its past definition, which excluded abortion.
The Holy See delegation joined in criticizing the move, noting that there is âno international consensusâ regarding the inclusion of abortion in the term âreproductive rightsâ and observing that numerous states across the world remain firmly committed in their opposition to abortion.
The Holy See stressed the need to "respect conscience and the freedom of religionâ in developing international policies.
The delegation also strongly criticized a U.S.-supported maternal mortality resolution calling for âcomprehensive sex educationâ for young people and âyouth-friendly sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning.â
âIt is the sacred and solemn responsibility of parents to care for their children and no one â including the state â has a right to advance an agenda which does not respect the natural moral law,â the delegation said in a statement.
It warned that the resolution âundermines international lawâ and conflicts with the stateâs duty âto promote the common good of the family and society.â
The Holy See emphasized the need to fight maternal mortality through âadequate healthcare,â including the availability of âskilled birth attendants, prenatal and postnatal care for mother and child, and emergency obstetric care.â
"In authentic rights-based approach to eliminating preventable maternal mortality and morbidity respects fully all human persons and thus all women,â it said.