UNITED NATIONS: by Denise MountenayNews Weekly
UN feminist gab-fest gets up steam
, April 3, 2010
This year, at the UN's feminist gab-fest on the Status of Women (i.e., the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women), there were 6,500 NGO participants, long queues to get ID badges, limited seating, confusion and changes in venues to control who went where, chaos and disgruntled women.
Two of our team attended an International Planned Parenthood Federation's parallel event that included gourmet food. Their last speaker spent her whole talk bad-mouthing our
parallel event of last year on the abortion/breast-cancer link.
She tried to discredit the Babette Francis's Endeavour Forum and breast surgeon Dr Angela Lanfranchi. She was clearly very nervous and repeated herself over and over for 20 minutes - then ended by promising to give a PowerPoint presentation, but found that there was no time left!
Our team felt that she inadvertently did a lot of free advertising for our work, and made pro-choice women question whether there really might be a link between breast cancer and abortion.
I placed a full-page advertisement in the official NGO Handbook
, providing websites and information on the abortion/breast-cancer link, and on how abortion damages women and kills babies.
We had many appointments with NGO leaders and with UN ambassadors and delegates, including the UN ambassador from Ghana, UN representatives from Sweden and Belgium, the UN ambassador of Sierra Leone, his minister of health and social services, and women's minister.
Irene van der Wende, a post-abortive woman from Holland, joined me for some of these meetings as well as for an executive lunch with the UN ambassador of Italy. We also met with the UN ambassador for India. Canadians Heather White, Carolynn George and I met with the UN ambassador on human rights for Canada.
Everyone listened intently as we shared our personal experiences of legal abortion and the subsequent physical and psychological impact. I gave them statistics and research from the mountains of studies proving that induced abortion is harmful to women and that it killed our children.
We brought humanity to the pre-born children and left each ambassador with a package of information on these truths with colourful brochures and foetal models.
Concerning European nations with below-replacement-level birth-rates, I pointed out the economic impact that their fertility rates and ageing/dying populations will have on their nations in the decades to come, and the social consequences of the higher birth-rates of Muslims in these nations.
All thanked us for sharing our personal experiences and asked us how to answer the rhetoric and about hard cases. Those who were pro-life and under pressure to legalise abortion in their countries were especially thankful for the information.
A Swedish representative confessed she was post-abortive, but said she was fine. I asked if she had any born children. She said she never wanted to have any. She became agitated with our reports and tried to shut down the meeting; but I persevered with my testimony and she listened. Irene van der Wende focused on foetal development and stated emphatically that, even though she herself had been raped, abortion was still wrong.
Colleen Barry, an enthusiastic pro-lifer from New York, was an incredible help, securing a venue for our parallel event on "Reproductive health and breast cancer prevention". We had about 60 UN delegates/representatives, NGOs and at least two doctors who attended.
Dr Angela Lanfranchi and Dr Joel Brind gave excellent presentations on the abortion/ breast-cancer link, and Carolynn George (Ontario) and Elaine Webster (Saskatchewan) shared their testimonies on the pain of legal abortion in Canada.
Betty-Ruth Ngozi Iruloh, PhD, a psychologist from Nigeria, who treats post-abortive women, described the psychological pain of abortion experienced by her clients.
I provided testimony on the lies I had once believed, and on the physical and emotional damage of the abortions I underwent. I showed a picture of my only born child, son Shawn. I declared that abortion, whether legal or illegal, devastates women and is the greatest violent crime against humanity in our generation.
The feedback was very positive, and I have been invited by a woman lawyer to travel to Nigeria with this message.
There is a sign of hope from the European Union. In Brussels, following a debate to mark the 15th anniversary of the UN's Beijing conference on gender equality, the European Parliament adopted an opinion resolution that included an amendment highlighting the importance of not
promoting abortion as a method of family-planning.
The resolution called for the provision of counselling services to women suffering distress as a result of undergoing abortions. This is welcome recognition by the European Parliament of the very real problem of post-abortion trauma.Mrs Denise Mountenay is founder of Silent No More (Canada) and the Canadian NGO representative for Endeavour Forum Inc. at UN meetings.