Youth Blog

Youth Blog

Days 3 - 5 of the UN's CSW66

The 66th session of the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women has now reached its midpoint.  

CLC’s youth delegates have continued to actively attend a number of side and parallel events and have attempted to engage panelists via the chat boxes and Q&A sections of the virtual platforms.  


On Wednesday March 16th, a side event hosted by UNFPA discussed the supposed correlation between the “climate crisis”, the attack on “gender equality” and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), an umbrella term for abortion on demand and birth control. During this event, a Canadian member of parliament, Anita Vandenbeld, insisted that women can only partake in remedying the current climate crisis if their sexual and reproductive health and rights are respected and upheld. The meaning of her statement is quite elusive but, can be generally chalked down to a remark on the feminist perspective that women can only be “free” and able to contribute the society if they have access to abortion. There is an odd connection being made between the tackling of climate change activism and SRHR access. These two social issues appear to be mutually exclusive, but could contend to a disguised agenda of population control and the stunting of population growth.  


The international advocacy coordinator at l’Associació de Drets Sexuals I Reproductius, Almudena Rodriguez, attempted to further this nonsensical connection between climate change and abortion by asserting that both women and LGBTQ communities are the “key” to reversing the “climate change crisis” and therefore, their “needs” (meaning access to reproductive “rights”) must not only be held at the centre of all legislation but, are essential to maintaining the sovereignty of nations.  


Although the supposed advancement of reproductive health and rights is championed by a number of UN-appointed NGOs, not all events have been abortion-centered. On Thursday March 17th, UNFPA held a side event focused on midwifery and its role in achieving gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. Although this event relayed some implied references to abortion, it did not appear to be the focus of the event. They did however, emphasize the importance of bringing midwives up to “international standards”, which is a rather ambiguous assertion that could include the training of midwives to participate in the committing of abortions. UNFPA representatives did, however, mention the importance of providing support for over-worked midwives. That way maternal health is less likely to suffer in undeveloped areas. Moreover, it is a good way to empower women, encourage education, and reduce poverty.  


One of the speakers, Maria Hogenas, Midwife Director of Art Life and Birth on "The Panzi Holistic Birth Model for Pregnant Survivors” spoke about the work being done in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, explaining that with the nation’s instability, sexual violence is being used as a weapon. She explained the women have "the right to be protected from a second trauma when [they] give birth." To that end, they pair a midwife with these women and girls, (about half the victims of sexual violence are minors), from the moment she comes to them and up to a year after the birth for support. They encourage pre-natal bonding to reduce abandonment and rejection. Control has been taken from these women so, the midwives work to educate them to help them feel in control again. Epigenetics was also mentioned, stating that when these babies from rape are born, they ensure skin to skin contact. Hogenas considered this a great "act of peace." Since many of these women are kicked out of their homes for being pregnant or raped, they have developed support systems to help empower these young mothers who have experience sexual violence. The work of these midwives to remedy and heal pregnant women from sexual violence is truly extraordinary, and yet some pro-abortion NGOs insist that midwives be trained to assist with abortions as well. Abortion doesn’t ‘unrape’ the women. Birthing the child on the other hand, when offered proper care and support, can bring healing to the trauma of the child’s conception. 


In a youth workshop on Friday organized by the Japanese Association of International Women’s Rights (JAIWR), a similar connection was made between SRHR and climate “justice”. The two-hour event can be abstracted into one sentence: gender inequality is exacerbated by the climate crisis (natural disasters) and women empowerment is the solution. 


Although there was no direct mention of abortion, several of the youth presenters alluded to abortion via the guise of “health rights”. Ichihara Akina, JAIWR Youth Presenter, stated that the health rights of women have been “violated by climate change”. In what way exactly? This repeated correlation remains ambiguous. She went on to claim that the protection of “rights to health” are not adequately met and that there is a lack of SRHR provisions for women by governmental bodies. This can be blatantly translated to a desire for the increase in abortion access globally. One of our youth delegates had the opportunity to pose a question to the panelists asking for a definition of gender inequality and how empowerment can resolve this supposed inequality. They downplayed the question claiming that it is too “difficult and deep to answer”.  


In a later event on Friday, Argentina, Denmark, France, Mexico, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) delivered the ICPD and Beijing agendas pertaining to SRHR. Esperenza Delegado, Director of Advocacy for the Mexican Foundation for Family Planning, affirmed that women who are victims of sexual violence should have access to “safe” SRHR and abortion, and that victims of rape should have the right to “terminate” their pregnancies. However, we know that when a woman gets an abortion after the traumatic experience of sexual assault, an additional trauma, being the losing of one’s child, is imposed upon her. Abortion does not “unrape” the woman, it just imposes the same violence that was done unto her, upon her innocent preborn child. Children are never punished for the crimes of their fathers so why should preborn children who were conceived in rape receive the death penalty? The truth is, rape as an exception for abortion is not championed by abortion activists because they want women to heal from sexual trauma but rather, they want abortion to be universalized and, in many cases, the rape exception is exploited as a gateway to allowing for “abortion-on-demand". Abortion does not eliminate the trauma of rape; it just eliminates the baby.  


The Director of the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation, Carme Gual, stated that the defense of SRHR is at the heart of the climate change agenda, and that feminists and the LGBTQ community among others are at the forefront. But the connection between climate change and access to SRHR has yet to be uncovered. The parallel has been parroted innumerable times across CSW events and yet, this connection has never been fleshed out by panelists. Perhaps, we could infer that the push for SRHR to remedy climate change could allude to a scheme of population control to “curb” population growth.  


The Founder and President of The Sustainable Development's Youth, Hatim Aznague, stated that the commission's agenda assures sexual and reproductive justice. Of course, by “justice” they are referring to the supposed “injustice” of preventing women from obtaining abortions. All event speakers championed the “advancement” sexual and reproductive rights.  


Without fail, the past few days of the commission have made way for the infiltration of a pro-abortion agenda by various NGOs. The elusive connection made between SRHR and the thwarting of climate change has continued to run ramped throughout the duration of the commission. The exploitation of victims of sexual violence to promote the committing of violence against innocent preborn children also appears to be a central theme. In the remaining days of the commission, delegates will continue to attempt to combat these narratives and champion the message of life.