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US Mission to UN Panel on Maternal Health Includes Anti-Family Planning Advocates

The United States' Permanent Mission to the United Nations stacked a panel discussion on strategies to combat maternal mortality with anti-womens rights and anti-family planning advocates. According to Catholics for A Free Choice, the event held yesterday at UN headquarters included several panelists with a history of opposing womens rights and sexual and reproductive health rights.

Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, said It is disrespectful to both the UN and women that the US mission will sponsor an event on maternal mortality where half of the speakers are ultra-conservative, anti-family planning advocates who have been opposed to the work of the UN in this area. Through the selection of some of these panelists, the United States is promoting both junk science and views that are biased and discriminatory by two of the speakers."

Ellen Saurebrey, the US Representative to the Commission on the Status of Women, moderated the panel. Saurebrey stated at the World Congress of Families that she stands with the President in supporting the global gag rule and that abstinence is the preferred and healthiest choice for unmarried adolescents. Dr. Fernando Carbone, one of the panelists and a former Minister of Health in Peru, acted to reduce access to free contraceptives and questioned including emergency contraception as part of Perus family planning program. Another panelist, Dr. George Mulcaire-Jones, heads Maternal Life International and has previously said that condoms dont work, and that condoms exacerbate the problem by promoting promiscuity in places where that behavior is most deadly.

TAKE ACTION Please call the US Mission to the United Nations at (212)415-4000 or fax at (212)415-4053 to protest the use of these so-called experts to promote policies that contradict medical science and cause the deaths of countless women in developing countries around the globe.

Media Resources: Catholics for a Free Choice 10/15/04; UN Journal 10/19/04