You may have missed this year’s Earth Day on April 22, what with historic inflation and a war in Ukraine vying for media attention. But the grandees at the U.N. marked it as they always do. Every year, they treat the day as part of a larger liturgical season with related solemnities.

This makes good PR sense. Who doesn’t like our home planet? And who doesn’t want clean air and water? Indeed, most people agree we should be good stewards of the environment.

But if you look closely, you’ll find that, at the U.N., protecting the Earth often provides cover for unseemly causes like abortion and population control. These hide in phrases like “meeting the unmet need for family planning.” In the global arena, “comprehensive sexuality education,” contraception, “safe abortion care,” and maternal health all fall under the umbrella of sexual and reproductive health rights.  

Hence, the weeklong Commission on Population and Development follows that high holy day. You might think development is about helping more people become creators of value. U.N. functionaries, though, tend to view people as consumers and despoilers. People are the problem.

As a result, “population” always seems to come up in discussions of climate. For U.N. movers and shakers, people don’t just affect the climate. We cause catastrophic climate change. And the more people there, the worse the problem will be. The logical solution? Prune the population. 

Of course, no one speaks this plainly. This year, for instance, the secretary-general’s report refers to the “relative importance of population growth as a driver of climate change.” It’s filled with calls for countries to address the so-called—and grossly misleading—“unmet need” for contraception.   

Side events like “[Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights] for population and sustainable development” permeated this year’s commission. They claimed that climate-friendly economic growth requires sexual and reproductive health. Read: birth control and widespread abortion. 

The recent Commission on the Status of Women illustrated this to a tee. Countless sessions tied gender ideology and abortion to the fight against climate change.

Similarly, in 2019, abortion groups issued a call to action for countries that signed the Paris climate agreement. These groups claimed that securing sexual and reproductive rights—including abortion—is their goal. Still, realizing those rights “is also a means to achieve sustainable development.” 

The good news is that in 2022, these anti-life efforts mostly flopped. For this, we should thank skeptical developing countries. They see climate panic and population control for what they are: ideological colonization.

Alas, this is one tiny victory in a multi-decade war of ideas. The population control crowd is committed and well-funded. It’s happy to frame any event as a crisis. And no matter the crisis, birth control and abortion are the solutions.

For example, the U.N.’s protocol for responding to a humanitarian crisis includes the minimum initial service package for sexual and reproductive health. The minimum initial service package includes so-called safe abortion care. According to the Inter-Agency Working Group, the “inclusion of [safe abortion care] within the MISP increases the chances of safe abortion care being funded and provided.” This is their goal.  

The U.N. also used the COVID-19 pandemic to promote abortion as essential health care. If crises caused by war or pandemics are occasions to promote abortion, so is a climate “crisis.” And that crisis has billions of dollars allocated to address it.  

The U.S. Congress approved $1 billion this year for international climate finance. This is far short of the $11.4 billion that President Joe Biden has pledged. But some climate activists insist that to contribute its “fair share,” the United States ought to pony up $800 billion before 2030.

With so much money in play, it’s no surprise that the International Planned Parenthood Federation is at the trough. In its treatise on climate change, it grants that the “urgency of the climate crisis must not serve as justification for harmful and coercive population control narratives, policies, and practices.” But as long as no one is coerced, the abortion giant is all for it.  

To fight the anti-life agenda abroad, the U.S. needs to forge alliances with the many poorer countries who are resisting it. We should also reject the imposition of abortion and population control riders on aid that are anathema to many aid recipients.

Instead, we should seek solutions that empower families and preserve human dignity. This will require snubbing environmental extremists and abortion radicals that have joined forces under the banner of a climate crisis.

This won’t happen under a White House wedded to abortion. But as Americans ponder our post-Roe abortion laws at home, we should remember that the pro-life cause also matters abroad.

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