Tag Archives: education

Pro-Abortion and Pro-Homosexual Youth Lobby Sent Home Empty-Handed from UN

By Timothy Herrmann

NEW YORK, May 4 (C-FAM) Youth activists arrived at the UN in droves last week in an attempt to hijack the 45th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) by promoting homosexual rights and abortion. However, countries rejected their demands and produced a fairly balanced outcome document that focuses on more pressing youth concerns like education, employment, health and development.

Sponsored by organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the Youth Coalition, and the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), youth activists flooded the conference floor and were strategically placed on country delegations with the hope of shifting the conference’s focus to sexual and reproductive health of youth and adolescents.

Throughout the week, they lobbied country delegates to place controversial language in the outcome document that would undermine the right and responsibility of parents in the sexual education of their children and include sexual and reproductive health “rights” as well as comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).

Though comprehensive sexual education was eventually included in the document, countries refused to mention it without reference to “the rights, duties and responsibilities of parents” to provide “appropriate direction and guidance on sexual and reproductive matters.” Similarly, any reference to sexual and reproductive rights in the document was explicitly understood by countries not to include abortion as a method of family planning.

Even more disappointing for radical activist groups was the exclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity language used by the homosexual lobby to promote homosexual rights at the UN. The Arab group and a majority of the African countries along with the help of the Holy See, the Russian Federation, and Pakistan threw out the only reference to sexual orientation in the final draft of the document on the last day of the conference.

While the exclusion of “sexual orientation” appears to be a victory, the UN dialect is so misleading that the single mention that does exist in the document of the right to “decide freely and responsibly on matters related to…sexuality” greatly worried delegations like Uganda, who believed it was an attempt by countries supportive of homosexual rights to sneak in new language.

In addition, even though the conference theme was “Adolescents and Youth,” countries could not agree upon the definition of either term. Initially, they were defined as falling within the ages of 10 and 24 but given that the document mentions sexual and reproductive rights, countries were unwilling to afford these rights to 10 year olds and the definition proved too controversial to include.

Despite the hard fought battle of many delegations to move beyond reproductive rights and, instead, secure strong references to education, employment and the Millennium Development Goals in the document, the serious misgivings among countries related to the reproductive rights and sexuality of youth made it nearly impossible to reach consensus. As a result the chairman of the Population Commission took it upon himself to put together the final outcome document, or chairman’s text, which even he admitted, “was not completely satisfactory to all.”

Timothy Hermann is Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute’s Representative to the United Nations. His article first appeared in Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM, a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (http://www.c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.

How About Reducing Some Bureaucracy?

By Marc Kilmer

Ohio is only a few months into the new fiscal year and the state is already facing a budget deficit. On one side are the governor and some of his legislative allies, proposing to close the deficit by raising taxes. On the other side are some legislators who want to close the deficit by consolidating government services. The idea of raising taxes in order to keep afloat a bloated state bureaucracy should be a nonstarter, but many in Columbus are choosing bureaucrats over taxpayers in this fight.

First, we need to be clear about something — Governor Strickland’s tax proposal is a tax increase, pure and simple. He wants to raise tax rates that have been in place since January. It’s not a “postponement” of a scheduled tax cut; it’s an increase in tax rates that are already in place. The governor wants to call it something other than a tax hike since he has loudly opposed raising taxes in the past, but there’s no avoiding the simple fact that his plan increases the state’s current income tax rates.

The governor says the only alternative to this tax hike is to cut education spending. Legislators should welcome the opportunity to examine just how well the state is spending taxpayers’ money on educating students. Student spending has steadily risen over the years but there is no evidence students are getting a better education. If they were so inclined, the governor and legislators could work together to seek more effective ways to fund education. But this probably won’t happen.

A good alternative to the false choice of cutting taxes or reducing education spending is the proposal to consolidate state government agencies. This would merely eliminate some redundant state agencies and departments and move their functions to another area of the government. It would not cut any government services. The projected $1 billion in savings would come from the staff reductions and savings on rent, equipment, and supplies.

Public employee unions claim the state government is already going through an “unprecedented downsizing.” It’s hard to see how this is true. In 1998, the state had 174,000 full-time and part-time employees. In 2008 that number had swelled to over 187,000. State taxpayers fund the salaries and benefits for all these workers. If the business of state government can be accomplished just as well with fewer workers, then legislators of both parties should embrace that goal.

Some object to this consolidation measure on grounds that it would not produce the savings projected or that these savings would not happen quickly enough to affect the current deficit. There is probably merit in both these claims. However, the fundamental reason to consolidate state government is not the monetary savings it will produce, but the reduction in unnecessary government bureaucracy. This would be a good idea even if it produced no savings to taxpayers. The fact that it will certainly save some money (and do so quickly depending on when the restructuring begins) makes it a great idea.

Saving taxpayer money is more than a function of just trimming government spending. State policymakers need to rethink how the state and local governments spend taxpayers’ money, which may mean restructuring state government, ending public sector unionization, reducing taxing districts, and other similar steps. Only through fundamental reform of how state and local governments operate can Ohio restore its economic strength. This state government reorganization proposal is a good first step.

Marc Kilmer is a policy analyst with the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a research and educational institute located in Columbus, Ohio.