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By Pete Baklinski, LifeSiteNews, June 30, 2017
GENEVA, June 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican’s representative to the United Nations (UN) criticized a resolution that called for an abortion vacuum machine, among other things, to be included in emergency kits to aid countries facing a humanitarian crisis.
Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN in Geneva, told the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC ) in a June 23 meeting that “healthcare services must never be intended – or operate – against the life of the most defenseless or the unborn.”
In April, the Council updated its policy for responding to a humanitarian crisis. Titled Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, the new policy has made it a “priority” that women in areas of crisis have access to the “Minimum Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health” (MISP). Part of the service package consists of “reproductive health kits” that include abortifacient contraception as well as a “vacuum” extractor for abortion.
Archbishop Jurkovič stated in his address:
The Minimal Initial Service Package (MISP) is a set of priority activities, provided by UNFPA, and includes 13 types of Reproductive Health Kits designed for women and girls of reproductive age, some of which entail abortion. Among them, “KIT 10” provides the well-known “vacuum extractor”, which is the most common method to procure abortion, and which brings serious risks also to the mother’s health.
Our Delegation would like to insist that healthcare services must never be intended – or operate – against the life of the most defenseless or the unborn. The application of the right to life must never discriminate based on the various stages of life. Although we acknowledge the particular risks that women and children face in humanitarian emergencies contexts and their specific and integral needs regarding access to basic healthcare, essential obstetric services, sanitary and food security, we cannot accept as an appropriate solution those services that provide and/or promote abortion. For these reasons, our Delegation dissociates itself from the paragraphs of the resolution that promote MISP as a proper answer to the already dramatic situations faced by so many women and children in challenging humanitarian settings.
Archbishop Jurkovič stated the Holy See’s formal “reservations” regarding the policy’s use of the concepts “sexual and reproductive health” as well as “gender.”
“The Holy See does not consider abortion, access to abortion, or access to abortifacients as a dimension of the terms ‘sexual and reproductive health’ and ‘sexual and reproductive healthcare services,’ he said.
“With reference to ‘gender,’ the Holy See understands the term to be grounded in biological sexual identity and difference. We kindly ask that the text of this statement be included on the official records of this meeting,” he added.
Despite Pope Francis’ enthusiastic support for UN policies, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — that among other things push “universal access” to “sexual and reproductive health” — the Catholic Church’s official position at the UN has largely been more reserved.
For instance, last year the Holy See’s representative to the UN clarified that the Holy See opposes any interpretation of the SDGs that could be used to support abortion, contraception, population control, and gender ideology.
Prior to this, however, in 2015, the Holy See told the UN that it supported the goals and targets of the SDGs “verbatim.” The Holy See later told pro-life advocates alarmed at the affirming language that it had already raised formal “reservations” about the “sexuality and reproductive” language used in the goals.
The Holy See “cannot and will never support … anything that can undermine the Family or the Right to Life from the moment of conception,” Msgr. Joseph Grech, who works closely with the UN on behalf of the Church, told LifeSiteNews at that time.
“As Delegation of the Holy See we have always raised our concerns and our opposition on issues which undermine the Family and Life from the moment of conception,” he added.