“1 in 5 World’s adolescents lives in Asia,” was the outcry at the Eleventh World Congress for Adolescent Health in India last month, where 1100 delegates from over sixty countries, UN agencies, NGOs, governmental agencies, and research institutions gathered on October 27th.
The event succeeded in instilling panic and urgency among participants by gross misrepresentation of data. And delegates called for an almost wartime effort to make policy and legal change to promote contraception and abortion for children in developing countries alongside increased investments on Adolescent health.
The panic expressed at the congress about children and young people not having access to contraception and abortion raises the specter of a neo Malthusian race-centered agenda. Its final recommendations bear this out.
Developing countries, experts at the congress explained, can reap a demographic dividend, because of their young populations. In fact, developed countries facing a demographic winter are draining developing countries of their best and brightest workers, making it harder for that dividend to materialize. The only solution offered by congress participants was more contraception and abortion for young people.
While regional problems of Adolescent health differ greatly across nations, the symposium focused solely on thrusting the ideas of the ‘Sexual Revolution’ as a quick fix to transform poor nations. There was no discussion of fertility awareness methods to teach families to delay pregnancy and abstinence was ridiculed as unsuitable to protect adolescent health.
Countries that differ in approaches to many issues they face appear to be bullied to adopt only one solution to population challenges: more condoms and abortion.
The meeting’s final recommendations disregarded many important cultural and regional differences. For example, the age of consent for sex in India and Nigeria is eighteen. Conference recommendations suggested these countries should be subjected to international pressure to change their laws to advance “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights.” Specifically, the conference says to lifting any barrier that might affect the procurement of contraception and abortion by those below eighteen years.
One of the speakers, Suzanne Petroni, founder of Gender Equity Solutions, repeatedly insisted on challenging the existing social norms about what she termed the “right to choose.” She claimed this right is denied to a very large number of young people in developing nations like India.
This meeting’s agenda focused on the destruction of family and pro-life values in the developing countries. The strategy to achieve these goals includes reducing parental involvement in the life of children, prematurely sexualizing children by introducing explicit sex education curricula, and subverting socio cultural norms of these countries.
On the issue of parental consent, Professor Philip Jaffé, from the Center for Children’s Rights Studies, University of Geneva, said, “We should view decision making as a collaborative process between the children and their healthcare provider, sometimes involving their parents …under Belgium law, children of any age have the right to request assisted suicide.” He clarified that at any age a child may under specific circumstances make the ultimate decision to die with the consent of his or her parents. “This dear colleagues is ultimate role reversal because in none of the cases have any of the parents really had a choice and they always consented to their child’s decision,” he grinned.
This symposium calls for “a rights based approach” to adolescent health, which implies promotion of “sexual and reproductive health” and “gender ideology.” How can a ten-year-old child even have a say on contraception, or make decisions about sexual intercourse without having been abused or exploited, their innocence violated? Children are being denied their basic right to be a child, to have a safe and healthy childhood, especially in poor nations. The attack is not just on the child inside the womb but also outside the womb.
The congress was organized by the International Association for Adolescent Health along with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and MAMTA Institute for Mother and Child with worldwide partner organizations.