ROME, SEPT. 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Last week´s attack on New York delayed the U.N. children´s summit, originally scheduled to begin today. But it won´t put off indefinitely the battles that are sure to surface at the summit.
The summit´s preparatory document already has ignited scandal and controversy.
Some passages of the text, instead of concentrating on the objective of saving millions of innocent human lives, are being turned into claims for free abortion and the diffusion of contraceptives among adolescents, without parental consent.
These two proposals have been defended particularly by the governments of the European Union and Latin America — in most cases, in flagrant violation of their own national constitutions, which recognize the right to life.
Two delegations asked that the proposals be rejected on the grounds they are not part of the summit´s objective. Indeed, the Holy See and the United States have resolved to concentrate on concrete aid to help children around the world.
In addition, 17 Muslim countries have declared their total opposition to measures that deprive parents of their authority over their children.
UNICEF, which started as the United Nations International Children´s Emergency Fund but later dropped “international” and “emergency” from its name, was created in 1946 for the specific purpose of helping the child victims of the war in Europe and China.
Beginning in the 1960s, UNICEF adopted Malthusian theories, promoting contraceptives, sterilization and other birth-reduction programs.
In May 1966, the then executive director, Henry R. Labouisse, submitted a report entitled “Possible Role of UNICEF in Family Planning” to the Executive Council.
The debate caused division in the council. The Swedish, Indian and Pakistani delegations approved the idea that UNICEF participate in population-control programs. Delegations of Catholic countries were opposed. The African nations, with the exception of Nigeria, also responded with a clear “no,” stating that the programs were racist.
Hilaire Willot, head of the Belgian delegation, criticized the program to control births in India because, he said, “incentives were offered to accept abortions and sterilizations,” which he thoroughly opposed.
The proposal was put on hold, and participation in family-planning programs was instead decided on a case-by-case basis.
Subsequently, as also happened in the World Health Organization, these types of proposals were accepted with a stratagem: The program to reduce the number of births was renamed “reproductive health” of mothers and children.