The Fifth World Congress of Families, co-sponsored by PRI, was held in Amsterdam from August 10–12. Joel Bockrath and I went to the Netherlands with two goals. The first was to encourage European pro-life and pro-family leaders to work for a ban on sex-selective abortions in their own countries. My formal presentation to the Congress focused on the evidence that many unborn baby girls around the world are being aborted simply because of their sex and detailed what we are doing in the U.S. to stop this horrible practice.
From there, I went into private meetings with leaders from Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and our own country to urge them to make this issue a priority. Banning sex-selective abortions would save many lives, I told them. Moreover, it would help to lift the veil of silence that surrounds abortion in so many European countries, where there is virtually no public debate. In this way, it would move us closer to our common goal of banning all abortions.
Our second reason for traveling to Amsterdam was to share our evidence that the UNFPA remains deeply involved in China’s one-child policy. As you know, we recently put boots on the ground in China and found that the UNFPA’s claim that it was “introducing a voluntary reproductive health approach in China” was nonsense. Forced abortions and sterilizations continue to he the order of the day even in counties that the UNFPA has certified as being free of such abuses. Although the Obama administration has turned a blind eye to our findings and refunded the UNFPA, we were hopeful that they could be used to help convince other countries in Europe and around the world to reconsider their support for the U.N. population control organization.
The UNFPA is a very clever fundraiser. Although it receives the lion’s share of its funding from dying European countries — the Netherlands alone gives it almost 20 percent of its budget — it collects contributions from over 150 countries. This is a transparent attempt to create the impression that the UNFPA enjoys overwhelming international support for its activities. Most of these “contributions” are tiny, however, like the paltry $100 that it receives from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean or the whopping $1000 handed over by Ukraine. Moreover, they are in reality nothing more than kickbacks, demanded by the UNFPA in return for its funding of a local population control programs.
I can’t say that we made any progress where the Netherlands is concerned, given what a moral sewer that country has become. But we did speak with conference attendees from many other parts of the world about cutting off the funding from their countries to the UNFPA. Delegates from Cyprus ($1500), Kenya ($9984), Poland ($10,000) and Nigeria ($31,167) were interested in taking action, among others, and the King of Se Ghana ($12,500 from Ghana) said he would follow up. The amounts are not important. It’s the appearance of broad support that needs to be called into question, and I think that we will make progress towards that goal.
Those on the other side of the life issues sounded the usual sour notes. As we walked into the conference center each day, we were greeted by a gaggle of protesters. These were, to judge from their dress and behavior, mostly lesbians. “The conference has been canceled,” they would shout at entering conferees. Our Dutch friends would brush past them without any visible reaction. Some of the rest of us were not quite so intimidated. A friend of mine, who represents an American pro-family group, responded to their shouts about the cancellation of the conference with a pleasant, “God’s work is never canceled.”
Things have been so upside-down in the Netherlands for so long that the Dutch organizers of the conference seemed almost pathetically eager to avoid any kind of confrontation. We were instructed not to wear our conference ID badges outside of the conference and not to talk to the local media. The anti-life, anti-family forces thus had a field day in the Dutch media, while our side was largely missing in action.
One of our few media successes came when the head of the Dutch local organizing committee, Simon Polinder, complained about the one-sided coverage of our issues by a Dutch TV station. They agreed to air a live debate between him and a local population control group called “The Ten Million.” (These friendly folks want to reduce the population of the Netherlands from its current 16 million down to 10 million, hence the name.) Simon came to me for some pointers. We sat down with a copy of my book, Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits, and went over its arguments chapter by chapter. The debate the following day went well, as Simon pointed out that the Netherlands was wealthy precisely because of its people, and that reducing their number would send the country into a permanent economic depression.
Another disappointment came when the Dutch Minister for Youth and Families, André Rouvoet, who had been scheduled to attend, decided he had a schedule conflict and sent a recorded greeting instead. I took particular exception to his assertion (made at the end of his recorded greeting) that some of the Congress’ sponsoring groups took extreme positions. Nor did I appreciate his comment that he wanted to “challenge us to learn to live in a pluralistic society.”
No one who is alive today doubts that we live in pluralistic societies. But recognizing the reality of abortion-on-demand in the U.S. does not mean tolerating it. And in the case of the Netherlands, no one who is concerned about the family can view the Dutch embrace of euthanasia, homosexual “marriage”, legalized prostitution, and government-supplied drugs with indifference.
With all due respect to Minister Rouvoet, the other side is not willing to tolerate us, as the protesters outside the conference center made abundantly clear. They want their way of life — or should I say their way of death — written into laws, and these same laws then used to silence us.
We will never consent, as the Dutch have, to live in such a society, For the sake of our children, we must work to reestablish the normative laws and beliefs that have guided Western Civilization for thousands of years, and which are based on the God-given institution of marriage and the sanctity of life.