U.S. and Other Donors Pledge Billions at UN Event to Promote Abortion and Radical Feminist Policies
WASHINGTON, D.C. July 2 (C-Fam) Twenty-five years ago, 189 countries adopted a landmark platform to advance women’s rights without creating a right to abortion. This week, the UN commemorated that agreement with a forum in which donors pledged billions of dollars to advance abortion and a radical feminist agenda.
Unlike the 1995 Beijing conference, the Generation Equality Forum, held in in Paris, featured no negotiations and no consensus document. Hillary Clinton, who famously addressed the Beijing audience as first lady of the U.S., remarked from the stage Wednesday that such an agreement would be “impossible” today.
Instead, the Forum, sponsored by UN Women, France, and Mexico, collected pledges by governments and other donors to advance gender equality. Instead of a negotiated outcome, tightly curated “Action Coalitions,” including one on “bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights” set their own targets. One of these is to ensure that “50 million more adolescent girls and women live in jurisdictions where they can access safe and legal abortion by 2026.”
The format of the Forum is such that pro-life and pro-family voices are effectively excluded, and conservative and religious opposition to controversial social policies was frequently denounced by invited speakers. Like the 2019 Nairobi Summit commemorating the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, the Forum provided a platform for wealthy donor countries, UN agencies, and activists to promote an agenda that could never be accepted by consensus.
The U.S. issued a fact sheet announcing its commitments to the Forum, stating that “the Biden Administration is committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world.” Much of its contents are actions already taken by the U.S., including rescinding the Mexico City Policy, which block funding to foreign abortion groups. One new commitment was signing onto a compact on women, peace, and security calling for ‘sexual and reproductive health services” in crisis settings.
Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the Forum during the opening ceremony, saying that for women to “participate more fully in democracy” they need access to “reproductive healthcare.”
The U.S. committed to directing $50 million to a domestic family planning program, in addition to a proposed $340 million for the same program in the President’s budget request.
The U.S.’s international commitments to expand “sexual and reproductive health and rights” include resuming funding to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), including $56 million in the 2022 President’s budget – a 72% increase over 2021. “Sexual and reproductive health” programs are commonly understood to include abortion and comprehensive sexual education.
In place of common agreement acceptable to all nations, the Global Equality Forum’s chief outcome is to mobilize funding for feminist groups and causes. “Beijing was not financed and we’ve struggled in the last 25 years to implement it,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women.
Several attendees called for directly funding feminist movements as opposed to public/private partnerships they deemed not “catalytic” enough to achieve the Forum’s goals.
In addition to country-level pledges, billionaire philanthropists also used the occasion of the Forum to announce their contributions.
“Waves of opposition to women’s rights” have emerged, and structural barriers still exist, said Melinda Gates when she announced the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $2.1 billion commitment to advancing gender equality, including $1.4 billion for family planning. Other noteworthy donors include the Ford Foundation, which announced a $420 million commitment.