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Global Monitor: UNFPA’s “Reproductive Health” Campaign Sparks Fierce Opposition


The actions of the UNFPA in Kosovo I sparked immediate outrage from numerous organizations and human rights advocates, and for good reason. By all accounts, the UNFPA assessment of basic needs adds insult to the injury of a persecuted race. A Serbian-inflicted genocide drove these refugees from their homes. The message sent by the UNFPA to the refugees in their plight simply echoes the Serbian threat: “We don’t want any more of you either.”

UNFPA’s first press release announced shipments of “emergency reproductive health kits” to the Kosovar refugees. The press release listed IUDs, oral contraceptives (or “morning after” pills), vacuum extraction equipment, condoms, and so on.

In response, Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights institute (CAFHRI) noted that “[g]overnmental delegations to the UN frequently complain that the UNFPA focuses too narrowly on reproduction, especially in refugee situations .… Critics also charge that the UNFPA promotes abortion in refugee camps, which are among the most unsanitary and dangerous places on earth,” and place the lives of women at grave risk.

UNFPA and Eugenics?

One of the first European wire reports broadcast in response to the UNFPA’s initial press statement charged that the true objective of the reproductive health services in the refugee camps is the coercive control of a population they do not want to see increase…” (“Real Recipients of UN Abortive Pill,” ZENIT, l9 April 1999).

The report called into question the UNFPA’s claim that morning after pills are being distributed to avoid the consequences of ethnic rape, and cited human rights expert Riccardo Cascioli. The abortive pill “is not being given to the women [in the refugee camp] who have been raped by the Serbs in Kosovo,” Cascioli stated, “since these women arrive at the refugee camps after the 72 hours required for an abortion to be effective with this medicine.” Instead, the abortive pill is being given to “women who have had sexual relations in the refugee camps, who often are also victims of rape by their own countrymen.

“There is surreptitious racism in this logic,” Cascioli continued, “confirmed by the fact that the one which supports these UN programs, including in Kosovo, with money and personnel, is the [IPPF], the powerful organization which is the heir to the eugenic movement of the beginning of the century for which the ‘selection of the race’ continues to be a task of society.”

Joint Media Campaign

In what appeared to be a joint media campaign with the UNFPA, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) issued its own press release which confirmed that a local IPPF affiliate, the Albanian Family Planning Association (AFPA), was also distributing reproductive kits to refugees. IPPF donated $50,000 of the total $130,000 in shipping costs, the release confirmed.

Another UNFPA press release confirmed that its workers were inserting IUDs into refugee women in Kosovo, and performing abortions by vacuum extraction. In the continuing flurry of the campaign, UNFPA press releases criticized the Vatican for opposing its reproductive health campaign, and endorsed an upcoming initiative on Capitol Hill to restore $25 million in funding for UNFPA in China.

At the onset of the campaign, PRI raised the following concerns: there is no demand among Kosovo refugees for reproductive health services; there is no objective need for abortion services; and population control is driving the initiative.

These concerns were confirmed by Joseph Meaney of Human Life International, whose reporting from within the refugee camps (on page l of this PRI Review) is the first of its kind.

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