International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) recently launched campaign to end violence against women appears at first glance to be a laudable effort. The more one investigates the claims of the campaign’s writers, however, the more questions are raised about its true intent.
Those who follow the latest trends in marketing for international development groups will recognize IPPF’s modus operandi. Each writer, almost all of whom are women, is prominently identified for a feature they possess—their occupation, their status as a mother, or some other attribute that helps create the impression of the right kind of diversity and authority. Then they all say similar things that sound as if they were written by IPPF, CARE International or other international non-governmental organization (NGO) consultants – carefully crafted statements appealing for greater respect for women’s dignity and rights. Who could disagree with this?
This is not to say that all the stories are untrue, or that there are not real people with often difficult situations who contribute to these campaigns, but the similarity of the writing and reoccurring phrases do raise an eyebrow. For example, several of these writers claim “millions” of women around the world are forced to perform unsafe abortions on themselves as a result of the chauvinistic cultures pervasive today. Many suggest access to legal abortion as the remedy to most injustice against women, including domestic violence. It is natural to be moved by their stories, then you remember that this is a campaign put together by Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider, and an organization that has learned that empathy for women sells better than revealing its founder’s intent to eliminate “human weeds.”
Nicaraguan government representatives Iván Lara (L) and Luis Alvarado were reportedly ‘severely chastised’ by ICHR commissioners for Nicaragua’s ban on therapeutic abortion.
Using true injustice against women to sell further injustices against women is enough to make your blood boil, but it is not only abortion providers who are using women for this sales pitch. Last month the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ICHR), a human rights watchdog for the Organization of American States, held a special session to evaluate women’s rights in Nicaragua. Dismayed over not seeing women legally permitted to have an abortion on demand, the ICHR set its sights on ending “gender violence.” They point out the rate of murders of women and of rapes of women are said to be on the increase in this Central American country. They claim that pregnant mothers are dying at a higher rate as a result of this increased violence. Kate Gilmore, Deputy General Secretary at Amnesty International was quoted as saying, “Nicaragua’s total ban on abortions has had a devastating impact on women in Nicaragua denying them life-saving treatment, preventing health professionals from practicing effective medicine.”
In other words, Ms. Gilmore and other advocates want abortion to be legal, and they see a total ban on abortion as not only a violation against women’s rights, but a health risk to a woman who conceives in rape or has complications during pregnancy.
What these abortion rights activists do not make clear is that very few women died from complications during pregnancy. In their presentations, abortion advocates tend to make the rare examples seem like the norm, when up to 36,000 elective (and often illegal) abortions were being performed each year in Nicaragua up until all abortions were criminalized in November 2006. Prior to abortion being outlawed altogether, abortion was permitted for the “health” of the mother—very broadly defined—if three doctors consented.
The pressure on Nicaragua to again legalize abortion is increasing. Just as the United Nations has been pressing this Central American country to reverse its ban for years now to no avail, Amnesty International has requested Nicaragua do the same, calling the total ban on abortion “draconian.” These abortion advocates see elective, “therapeutic” abortion as the solution to curbing violence against women in Nicaragua.
Human Life International’s director of research, Brian Clowes, PhD, adds some perspective: “When all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail. For IPPF and a lot of the large pro-abortion NGOs and supranational government elites, abortion is the solution to every problem, regardless of whether there is science to justify their claims.”
“In fact, by most measures, violence against women increases the more contraception and abortion are accepted. This may be because when men have no natural brake on their desires, they see women as objects to a greater degree than when they at least had to avoid sex for fear of pregnancy,” he said.
Dr. Clowes continued, “The reason these NGOs and other elites want government-provided abortion and contraception is, first, because there are billions of dollars available to those who sell these services and ensure that they are made legal; and second, because they all think that by adopting the anti-child mentality of the wealthy nations of the northern hemisphere, progress and development will follow.”
“Not once,” he said, “do these groups raise the fact that those nations which have ‘progressed’ far enough to achieve negative population growth are now in a panic to reverse course. The disconnect is jaw dropping.”
Undaunted by Nicaragua’s reversal of its abortion laws, IPPF and its partners have been at work trying to push contraception use among adolescents and teenagers. Planned Parenthood also has 18 clinics in Nicaragua to distribute contraception and to provide other services. In addition, the United Nations (UN) is sponsoring a program called VozJoven (“Youth Voice”), which promotes promiscuity and contraception use among the youth, in addition to the UN’s standard “reproductive health education.”
Add it all up and one finds that abortion advocates have a growing grassroots movement to overturn the current ban on all abortions. In fact, there is a pending constitutional challenge to the abortion ban.
The Nicaraguan government has stood up to the pressure thus far. The tactic of seeking empathy for abused women has proven effective in other nations, however, so pro-life leaders and legislators should be on guard. If abortion advocates can gain enough popular support to allow abortion as a supposed solution to abuse against women, then they can expect to see abortion again permitted legally in Nicaragua—this time for any reason.