U.N. Population Conference Rejects Bush Administration's Anti-Abortion Stance
December 30, 2002
by NOW Staff
In a victory for the reproductive rights of women around the world, delegates attending a U.N. regional family-planning conference in Bangkok this month resoundingly rejected the U.S. stance on abortion and teenage condom use.
Bush administration officials have spoken out against an agreement, reached at a 1994 U.N. conference in Cairo, that calls for controlling population growth by expanding access to health care and being more responsive to women's needs. U.S. officials argue that certain phrases in the agreement - including "reproductive health services" and "reproductive rights" - condone abortion as well as sex and condom use among teenagers.
Attendees reported that the Bush administration's stance was opposed by all of the approximately 30 other nations represented at the Bangkok conference, including India, Indonesia, China and Pakistan.
U.S. feminist leaders registered their disapproval of the Bush administration's stance, saying it does not represent the vast majority of Americans' views on abortion rights and access to reproductive health care.
"Hundreds of millions of women around the world do not have adequate access to reproductive health services," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "If the Bush administration truly cared about women's health, it would join the global community in supporting the Cairo agreement."
"The most important news of this conference is that the global community - with or without the Bush administration - has reached a remarkable consensus on the need to curb population growth by addressing the broad issues surrounding reproductive health."
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