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May 10, 2002

Child sex book given out at U.N. summit
By George Archibald
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

     NEW YORK — A UNICEF-funded book being passed out at the United Nations Child Summit encourages children to engage in sexual activities with other minors and with homosexuals and animals.
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     As the delegations to the summit remain deadlocked on abortion, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that support the U.S. delegation's anti-abortion stance circulated copies of pages from a UNICEF-funded book given to delegates from Latin America that promotes sexual activity and abortion among teens in their countries.
     "Reproductive health includes the following components: Counseling on sexuality, pregnancy, methods of contraception, abortion, infertility, infections and diseases," says the Spanish-language book, whose title translates to "Theoretic Elements for Working with Mothers and Pregnant Teens."
     An accompanying workshop book produced by the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) tells Latin American mothers and teens: "Situations in which you can obtain sexual pleasure: 1. Masturbation. 2. Sexual relations with a partner — whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. 3. A sexual response that is directed toward inanimate objects, animals, minors, non-consenting persons."
     The book, which was distributed by the Mexican government with U.N. funding, suggests lesbian sex as an acceptable alternative for girls.
     "Sexual relations with a partner: Here we should insist there is no ideal or perfect relations between two or several people," the book says. "The one that gives us the most satisfaction and that which is adopted to our way of being and the style of life we have chosen. This is why we encounter many differences among women. Some women like to have relations with men. And others with another woman."
     UNICEF spokesman Alfred Ironside acknowledged U.N. funding for the book, but said it was produced by the Mexican government in 1999 and pulled from circulation "when the content was more carefully reviewed."
     Mr. Ironside said he did not know how many of the books were circulated. "A very small number were produced — fewer than a thousand," he said. "It was pulled out of circulation when the content was more carefully reviewed."
     "That book was a product of the Mexican government, supported by UNICEF financially as part of UNICEF's support to the Mexican government," Mr. Ironside said.
     "We do everything we do in full agreement with the governments we support. We do not operate independently," he said.
     He said the book was "intended as a training manual for people working with adolescent women to prevent teen pregnancy. That publication was a compilation of articles by different contributors and has a very clear disclaimer in the front that the views of the writers do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations."
     The workshop book is being passed out by anti-abortion NGOs to persuade delegates from the large Latin American bloc of countries called the Rio Group to support the U.S. proposal to remove ambiguous language from the child-summit action document, which has been used in the past by U.N. agencies to promote abortion.
     Delegations to the U.N. Child Summit remained deadlocked yesterday in closed-door negotiations over abortion and other hot-button issues that have held up final agreement on a U.N. action agenda to protect the world's children.
     The U.S. delegation, praised by pro-family groups for standing firm to ensure the agenda does not sanction continued U.N. promotion of abortions, was attacked by NGO critics for a second day at an afternoon briefing, NGO members at the meeting said.
     Douglas Sylva, an official with the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, called the briefing "an NGO feeding frenzy," in which the United States was attacked for its position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; arms sales to allies; the Bush administration's support of capital punishment; and U.S. failure to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
     "The fact that the United States is the only country besides Somalia that has not ratified [the] child's rights [convention] is shocking," said Paula Daeppen, director in Zurich for the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas.
     "We're supposed to be a moral leader of the world and child friendly," she said.
     Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat, told the meeting she applauded the administration's work to protect children from pornography, exploitation and "child soldiering." But she said she disagreed with the U.S. delegation on some issues.
     "There needs to be flexibility on life," she said — an apparent reference to the administration's strong anti-abortion stance. A person close to the congresswoman, who asked to remain anonymous, said her remarks were intended to urge "more flexibility on family planning."
     Abortion is not mentioned directly in the draft child-summit document, but UNICEF, which organized the 187-country special session of the General Assembly, and the U.N. Fund for Population Activities, interpret the ambiguous phrase "reproductive health services" to include abortion.
     A senior Canadian negotiator told delegates in earlier preparatory meetings that the term includes abortion, prompting the Bush administration to start pushing for the alternate term "reproductive health care."
     European countries, with the exception of Spain, along with Canada, Japan and New Zealand oppose the U.S. position. Muslim nations and some African countries also support the United States.
     The Rio Group, whose delegations say their predominantly Catholic populations don't condone abortion, said there is no danger the term "reproductive health services" will be used to promote abortions in Latin America.

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