UNd o i n g   R e p r o d u c t i v e   Fr e e d o m  Christian Right NGOs Target the United Nations POLITICAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATES   2006 8 The   Doha   conference   drew   on   the   common values of conservative Christians, Roman Catholics, and  Muslims,  and  was  held  in  the  capital  of  the wealthy Emirate of Qatar. It involved a year of plan- ning that included regional conferences in Europe, Asia,  and  Latin  America  hosted  by  the  Howard Center. After  the  conference,  the  government  of  Qatar put forth a conservative resolution on the family to the UN General Assembly that was accepted without a  vote—a  little  like  reading  a  document  into  the Congressional Record to give it recognition. What is notable is the attempt to associate an explicitly “pro- family” event with the United Nations. A number of delegates   subsequently   disassociated   themselves from the resolution, generally citing the omission of language, previously accepted at international levels, recognizing  that  family  structure  can  take  various forms.26 The  government  of  Qatar  founded  the  Doha International   Institute   for   Family   Studies   and Development in 2006, led by the previous director of the World Family Policy Center, Richard Wilkins. Doha  was  privately  organized  and  funded,  but only about 1,000 people attended, a small turnout considering the efforts to organize through regional conferences and the level of  international backing. The Doha conference nonetheless reflects an impor- tant development: a conservative international inter- faith coalition using the UN as a vehicle for its own agenda, but its lasting influence on the international scene remains to be seen.27 When  other  nations  hold  conservative  views, U.S.  Christian  Right  groups  laud  an  international coalition that reflects their own values. When it is in their  interests,  however,  anti-choice  NGOs  accuse Western states of imposing their values on develop- ing  nations.  In  2005  a  coalition  of  liberal  NGOs brought suit against Colombia for its prohibition on abortion, and Austin Ruse called the move “sexual imperialism.”28 Impact of the Bush Administration H aving  failed  to  dismantle  Roe  v.  Wade  com- pletely,  the  Bush  Administration  has  sought other means to consolidate support among its social- ly conservative base. Providing access to the interna- tional  arena  may  distract  these  anti-choice  activists from—or  soften  their  disappointment  with — 26http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/ga10311.doc.htm. 27“For Faith and Family,” 3. 28“Pro-Abortion Groups Try to Change Colombia’s Law Through Courts,” C-Fam Friday Fax, December 2, 2005, http://www.c- fam.org/FAX/Volume_8/faxv8n50.html. The Global Gag Rule In reinstating the global gag rule, Bush declared, “It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion, either here or abroad.” In addition to losing funding, organizations that do not comply with the gag rule also lose technical assistance and U.S.-donated contraceptives, includ- ing condoms. Its global impact has been profound, even with the European Union picking up some of the slack. The gag rule has disrupted not only abortion access but family planning services, prenatal care, and HIV/AIDS prevention in multiple countries world- wide, especially in the Global South. Women, who both require family planning resources and account for almost half of the global population living with HIV/AIDS, suffer the most. The rule has resulted in the halting of progressive pro-choice lob- bying in countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya, which have severely restrictive abortion laws. In Uganda, once the site of successful prevention efforts, HIV infections have nearly doubled in the past two years, due to a U.S.- influenced shift to abstinence strategies. And in Ethiopia, where abor- tion is completely illegal, most family planning agencies have refused to abide by the gag rule. As a result, the contraceptive supply has been restricted there, leading to a high rate of illegal abortion, which is currently the second highest killer of women in that country. For more information about the Global Gag Rule, see the International Women’s Health Coalition’s “Bush’s Other War.” http://www/iwhc.org/resources/bushsotherwar/index.cfm.