Vatican reminds the U.N. “reproductive health” does not mean worldwide abortion

Vatican reminds the U.N. “reproductive health” does not mean worldwide abortion

.- During an address given to the General Assembly yesterday in New York, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said that the UN should not consider “access to reproductive health” as a key word for promoting abortion.

Migliore reminded the assembly of the care which was taken when crafting last year’s “World Summit Outcome Document.”  He said the document “sought to balance strongly held views,” and that it is therefore imperative to “ensure that respect for this delicate balance be maintained.”  It’s important to note, he said, that many delegations considered a paragraph on "ensuring access to reproductive health by 2015," to be clearly written as “a means of achieving the target of reducing maternal mortality rather than being a target in and of itself.”

The archbishop’s comments came as a response to the recently released, “Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization.”  Migliore offered thanks to those who worked to compile the report and noted the ongoing process of reforming the international body.   

“As is often said, ‘reform’ is not an event but rather a process,” Migliore noted, adding, “to this end, we welcome the Secretary-General’s efforts in continuing to press for reform.”

“However,” he continued, “despite the progress made, much work remains in many different areas.”

Pointing out areas of particular concern, Archbishop Migliore told the assembly that they must “interconnect more explicitly and more effectively the areas of security and development.”

The Holy See has repeatedly emphasized that a lack of economic equality and development directly affects the global security by fostering a climate in which the world’s poorest are left with a sense of helplessness and resort to violence to fight for economic equality.

In a related issue of international security, the archbishop expressed the Holy See’s “deep concern” at the lack of progress in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, “The whole UN system,” he said, “should grasp the opportunity to acknowledge the links between disarmament, development. and humanitarian concerns, and commit itself to strategies and programs to reduce the demand for arms and armed violence.”

The archbishop praised the establishment of the Central Emergency Response Fund and the innovative cluster coordination system, which he called “important modifications to the existing humanitarian assistance system.”  However, he said, “the United Nations should continue to play a leading role in balancing the autonomy of civil society actors with the need to provide effective aid to the most vulnerable.”

Migliore noted the success which has been achieved in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care, but lamented the fact that several countries seem “almost helpless” in tackling the spread of the disease.  The archbishop suggested that the UN turn its specific focus to those countries which are being devastated most profoundly by the pandemic.

Concluding his remarks, Archbishop Migliore said, “it is our sincere hope that this session of the General Assembly will continue to move from commitments to action, and the United Nations can continue the process of transforming itself into an institution ready for the challenges of the twenty-first century.”

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