Conference in Paris: ‘SRHR in the 2030 Agenda – A Strong Start’
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pro-abortion elitists joined pro-abortion NGOs from throughout Europe in Paris for a conference—A Strong Start—Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the 2030 Agenda hosted by French IPPF affiliate Le Planning Familial with attendance by French and UN officials. The goal of the conference was “to ensure that the SRHR community is ready to effectively engage in the implementation, follow-up and review of the SDGs, and strategically use them to advance our advocacy on SRHR in a global perspective.”

A featured speaker on 2030 Agenda was the Executive Director of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin, who tweeted: “We won’t succeed in achieving the #GlobalGoals without continuing to advance the #SRHR agenda #EURONGOS2016” and “From a #humanrights perspective, a girl who becomes #pregnant—regardless of the circumstances—is one whose #rights are undermined.”

UNFPA’s Nordic Office quoted Babatunde on the popular theme of working directly with national governments: @BabatundeUNFPA #eurongos2016 “We need to advocate for governments to advance #SRHR.”

Arthur Erken, Director of UNFPA's Division of Communications and Strategic Partnerships also presented on the 2030 Agenda. Twitter provides insight into his remarks: @arthurerken: the US Congress has unbelievable impact on #srhr globally; The #SRHR agenda is under threat, we urgently need to reach out those that are not with us @ArthurErken @UNFPA#EuroNGOs2016;@arthurerken says we need to do a lot more work to build support for #SRHR and to counter growing opposition.

French Minister of Families, Children and Women’s Rights, Ms. Laurence Rossignol, set social media abuzz with her venomous anti-prolife words. Tweets included:Bold speech by Minister Families, Children &Women’s Rights: groups fighting abortions=militants seeking control of women’s bodies #EuroNGOs2016 and French min talks of need of EU countries to abide by basic rights such as right to safe abortion #srhr #SDGs #EuroNGOs2016.

French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development hosted a side event to launch the French Strategy on Population and Sexual and Reproductive health and Rights 2016-2020. The elitist plan targets countries in Africa for advance of SRHR with promotion of access to abortion a major feature including through financial support to US-based abortion activist NGO Ipas: “support for Ipas to improve access to safe abortion in francophone countries in West Africa” and the need for continued funding to Ipas to include abortion in health systems: “More resources will be necessary to re-energize efforts to include comprehensive abortion care in health systems across West Africa.”

UNFPA is partnering with France on the strategy: “UNFPA is a strategic partner for France on issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially in francophone Africa.” Babatunde tweeted: “Pleased to be in Paris for the launch of new #SRHR Strategy, which shows France's leadership on #development issues. @FranceONU @FranceDiplo

The French Strategy is very clear on its intent to seek broader access to abortion and its inclusion in health systems: “Intensify political dialogue on access to safe, legal abortions in multilateral bodies as well as in bilateral dialogue with partners. Respecting women’s rights requires access to a full range of high-quality reproductive health services, including safe abortion services for unwanted pregnancies. Abortion is legal under certain conditions in most francophone countries in West Africa. However, in practice, access to abortion is rare and it is often not included in public health care services.”

Jean-Louis Ville, Acting Director Human Development and Migration, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development for the European Commission also spoke during the session on the 2030 Agenda. A tweet undoubtedly related to his remarks  states:#EURONGOS2016 European Commission is reviewing Cotonou agreement in context Agenda 2030 and have different focus based on current process.”

A number of the sessions and issues discussed can be viewed as an encouragement and motivation for the work of life and family advocates in Europe including Exploring What’s at Stake: Can Europe Maintain Its Progressive Stance on SRHR? with presentations by Petra de Sutter, Senator and Member of Council of Europe and Jon O’Brien, President ‘Catholics for Choice’.

During the discussion, “What can we do to realize reproductive rights? Pro-choice advocacy in a time of increasing opposition”, Ipas shared the various ways it promotes abortion in different contexts.  Questions that were posed: Are we shying away from pushing sexual rights and abortion in international development? What can we collectively do to overcome the perceived obstacles? And how can we support our partners in the Global South in their pro-choice advocacy?

EuroNGOs Chair Tania Dethlefsen explained the urgency of the conference and the issues challenging SRHR activists:

“Ensuring  that  the  SRHR  agenda  is  fully  implemented,  both  inside  and  outside of  the  new  goals,  will  require  broad-based progressive support…Europe’s united and progressive voice is needed more than ever to maintain a strong push for a clear SRHR agenda within this new global development architecture.”

“However, European support for SRHR in the future is by no means guaranteed. The rise of conservative parties shows that we cannot take hard-won gains on sexual and reproductive health for granted.”

“The opportunities presented by the SDG framework must be seized upon to galvanise action and achieve transformative change. At times when we face barriers, obstacles of polarising issues, let us not forget the urgency and importance of this agenda.

“… most importantly let’s plan for collective action.”

Twitter provides additional insight into the discussions:

  • Anti-choicers co-opt lang of human rights, forging advocacy entry points and positioning pro-choice orgs as anti-human rights
  • Push for consensus in post-Brexit EU dampens support for sexual and reproductive rights
  • We can’t change the world form inside the UN. Advocacy needs to be done at Country level
  • Growth of Rel fundamentalism opposition to #abortion #cse #LGBT issues is going to be a challenge
  • #EuroNGOs2016: concerns over rising oppo to #SRHR & decreased funding 4 European #advocacy
  • How to address the role of conservative countries in Europe
  • Human rights activists need to stop preaching from the pulpit and do practical work with MPs

PNCI notes that the struggle for developing countries to maintain national sovereignty on abortion is sure to increase as pro-abortion elitists continue their efforts to hijack the 2030 Agenda.