Introduction I n June 2004, U.S. officials brought along a special guest  to  a  regional  United  Nations  (UN)  confer- ence on population issues held in Puerto Rico. It was Congressman  Chris  Smith  (R-NJ).  Smith,  one-time head  of  the  New  Jersey  Right  to  Life  Committee, promotes  himself  as  a  champion  for  international human  rights  and  a  strong  opponent  of  abortion. “Anti-life  strategies  which  rely  on  deception  and hyperbole…   are   now   being   deployed   with   a vengeance  in  the  developing  world,”  he  once  pro- claimed.1 A  member  of  Congress  for  over  twenty  years, Smith took advantage of his presence at the region- al UN conference—the biannual Economic Council for  Latin  America  and  the  Caribbean—to  directly lobby delegates against language that he felt hinted at  abortion  rights.  His  target  was  UN  support  for “reproductive health,” a phrase that was first adopt- ed    during    the    International    Conference    on Population and Development in Cairo a decade ear- lier and that has since become UN boilerplate. The Congressman wanted to revert to the pre-Cairo lan- guage of “family planning.” Although Smith was a guest and not a diplomat at the conference, that didn’t stop him from bypass- ing usual protocol and contacting the presidents of Uruguay  and  Guatemala,  asking  them  to  support the   language   reversion.   His   message,   faxed   on Congressional stationery, urged these heads of state to instruct their delegations to vote against “direct attacks on the right to life, family rights, and nation- al sovereignty” at the conference.2 Smith’s direct lobbying of foreign leaders was a godsend for anti-choice NGOs—an elected official who   was   willing   to   take   their   agenda   abroad. Indeed, Smith has been a friend and ally to groups such   as   National   Right   to   Life   Committee   and Concerned Women for America. Efforts by Christian Right groups and individu- als   like   Smith   to   influence   UN   policies   have increased  substantially  in  the  last  ten  years  with eleven   U.S.   anti-choice   groups   becoming   NGOs since 2000. Many within the Christian Right see the abortion  struggle  as  a  cosmic  battle  between  the forces of good and evil. To this sector abortion is not only a sin, but women’s control of their reproductive lives is seen as threatening the preservation of fami- ly and society.3  This worldview raises the stakes of issues like abortion to a very high level in believers’ eyes,  and  contributes  its  share  to  the  dualistic  or “black/white”  thinking  that  dominates  the  repro- ductive rights debate today. The reach of this evangelical/political movement stretches  beyond  the  issue  of  abortion  to  take  on what its leaders imply to be a major threat to our culture:  the  political  and  sexual  empowerment  of women and girls. While some on the Christian Right insist  that  their  sincere  intent  is  to  reduce  human suffering by suppressing sinful sexual behavior, it is important to assess the consequences of their global campaigns. Demanding everyone’s abstinence before the marriage and faithfulness after it is proving dis- astrous, both at home and abroad. The Center for Reproductive Rights reports that globally, 78,000 women die every year from unsafe abortion, a statistic that could be virtually eliminated by the provision of appropriate health  information  and  services  and  law reform efforts.4 The  U.S.  Christian  Right  is  interfering  with  vital public health projects in the United States and at the UN—harming the very people they seek to save. A  small  group  of  U.S.  Christian  Right  organi- zations has inserted itself in the international arena in four major ways.  They have created a vocal anti- abortion,  anti-reproductive  health  presence  at  the UN,  both  by  gaining  consultative  status  as  NGOs and  through  Bush  administration  appointments  to 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 1 1“An Urgent Appeal to get Involved in Politics: Public Service a Ministry to Protect the ‘Least of our Brethren And Strengthen the Family’, ” a speech at the Vatican Conference on Globalization, Economy and Family, Vatican City, November 2000. http://priestsforlife.org/government/chris- smithspeech.htm. 2See http://www.planetwire.org/details/4879 for a copy of Smith’s fax. 3“Kitchen Table Backlash: The Antifeminist Women’s Movement,” in Jean Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999) 69-96 and Pam Chamberlain and Jean Hardisty, “Reproducing Patriarchy: Reproductive Rights Under Siege,” in Defending Reproductive Rights (Somerville, Mass.: PRA, 2000), 1-24. 4“The Bush Global Gag Rule: Endangering Women’s Health, Free Speech and Democracy,” Fact sheet from the Center for Reproductive Rights, June 2003, at http://www.crlp.org/pub_fac_ggrbush.html.