(International Youth Coalition) The United Nations awarded two affiliates of Planned Parenthood with the Population Award last week at the ceremony at UN headquarters. Hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), this award celebrates individuals and institutions for the ‘most outstanding work in increasing public awareness of population questions or to their solutions,’ including family planning and ‘population control’. The 2018 Population Award was given to Sir Prince Ramsey in the individual category and Guttmacher and Save a Child’s Heart in the organization category.
The Chair of the session, Martha Pobe Permanent Rep of Ghana to UN, set the stage with false alarm in her opening remarks that “215 million worldwide do not have access to modern methods of family planning”.
Natalia Kanim, the Executive Director of UNFPA, lauded Sir Ramsey for his contributions in healthcare in Antigua and Barbuda and the wider Caribbean and “for championing globally for more than three decades people’s health including their right to healthy Reproductive Right and Family planning and raising awareness in the fight against HIV and AIDS epidemic.”
In his acceptance speech Sir Ramsey thanked Planned Parenthood, who supported his nomination for the award. In the past, he has served the board of Caribbean Family Planning Association as Vice President of Antiguan Planned Parenthood Association and International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Ms. Ann Starrs, President of Guttmacher, received the award on behalf of the Institute. Guttmacher received the award in the organization category for “50 years of commitment to advancing family planning and sexual and reproductive health and Reproductive Rights worldwide.”
Ms Starrs, in her acceptance speech, proudly spoke about Guttmacher’s work in achieving changes in laws and policies in countries especially developing nations regarding abortion and Sex education. She specified Guttmacher’s influence in decriminalization of abortion in Rwanda, Mexico, Colombia, and Uganda. In the United States, she said “Access for minors to confidential contraceptive services and comprehensive school based sexuality education” was one of their achievements. In bragging about the institute’s work in providing data to influence policy changes, Ms. Starrs quoted their study on unmet need for family planning which claims globally 214 million women are in need of modern contraceptives. However this massive and misleading number has been long since debunked.
Guttmacher Institute, which was found in 1968, was a part of Planned Parenthood Federation of America until 2007 and maintains close ties with Planned Parenthood to this day.
It is not surprising to note that two affiliates of Planned Parenthood were honored with the United Nations Population award. The 2016 UN Population Award honoree was also a long term affiliate of Planned Parenthood, similarly in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012 .
Stefano Generini, Vice President for Center for Legal Studies at C-Fam remarked that “It shows how embedded Planned Parenthood is in the fabric of the United Nations. Sadly, it is something The US State Department and USAID have a huge responsibility for. The Trump administration may quite possibly be the only force that can shake things up to change this.”
Amina J Mohammed, the Deputy General who presented the awards, remarked that “since it was first conferred 35 years ago this award has become a touchstone to global efforts to put people at the center of sustainable development. Population is after all not just about numbers but about people.”
However, it is important to mention that the first ever recipient of this award in 1983 was Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, who was responsible for 11 million forced sterilization in 2 years and other brutal population control efforts in the country, some of them at gun point.
The 2018 Committee for the United Nations Population Award, which made the selections, was chaired by Ghana, and includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Benin, Gambia, Haiti, Iran, Israel, Paraguay and Poland.
Editor’s Note: Carmel Nisha Pius Franco writes for IYC. This article first appeared at International Youth Coalition, a program of C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute. This article appears with permission.