DAILY CATHOLIC MONDAY March 29, 1999 vol. 10, no. 61
NEWS & VIEWS
VATICAN STATUS AT UN CHALLENGED
NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - A pro-abortion group of self-described Catholics led a petition this week at the United Nations that the observer-nation status of the Holy See be revoked.
Seventy non-governmental organizations (NGO), led by the US-based Catholics for a Free Choice, called on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to review the Vatican's permanent observer status, particularly because of the Church's opposition to abortion and artificial contraception as promoted in UN population conferences.
"Why should an entity that is in essence 100 square acres of office space and tourist attractions in the middle of Rome with a citizenry that excludes women and children have a place at the table where governments set policies affecting the very survival of women and children?" asked Frances Kissling of Catholics for a Free Choice. "Vatican positions on issues in the United Nations [conferences] and in countries across the world have had the effect of increasing the suffering of the world's poorest nations."
Other NGOs complained that Vatican has been effective in blocking consensus at several recent conferences including the Rio de Janeiro environment conference (1992), the Cairo population conference (1994) and the Beijing women's conference (1995).
Judie Brown of the American Life League defended the Holy
See's position at the United Nations, noting that the
demand came from groups seeking the unfettered ability to
promote and even force abortion and contraception on
developing nations. She said, "As the major voice in
defense of the natural law, the Vatican not only deserves
to retain its status at the UN, it should be applauded for
bringing attention to facts that save the lives of women
and their children at every stage of their biological
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NEWS & VIEWS