World Youth Alliance delivered the following statement to the Commission on Population and Development on April 4th, 2019.
Thank you, Mister/Madam Chair, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. I represent the World Youth Alliance, a global coalition of young people dedicated to promoting the dignity of the human person in policy, education and culture.
Every human being has human dignity. This is the basis of policies under which human beings can flourish. Development that is grounded in human dignity focuses on empowering people. When we invest in people, people will drive development themselves.
Quality education and good healthcare and are key to achieving authentic development. They empower individuals to make informed choices and rational decisions.
Education must be available to all on an equal basis and should flow from an authentic understanding of the human person, and foster respect for oneself and others. Healthcare requires not only medical care, but also clean water, sanitation, good nutrition, psychological wellbeing and the education necessary to comprehend medical advice and make informed decisions.
Healthcare products and procedures that fail to respect patients’ consciences or violate human dignity should not be promoted. Practices such as abortion violate the dignity of mother and child. Paragraph 8.25 of the ICPD consensus states that in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning. This is only determined at the national level, with respect for the sovereign right of each country and the religious and cultural values of its people.
Moreover, family planning is not synonymous with contraception and efforts to meet family planning needs therefore should not focus on contraceptives alone. Modern family planning methods include knowledge-based family planning, such as as fertility awareness, which is based on modern science and have been proven effective. Although many claim that women lack access to contraceptives, the data do not bear that out. Many women prefer to use other methods due to health, ethical, or cultural reasons, and they deserve family planning assistance that respects their values and priorities.
We call upon Member States to ensure that actions to further the implementation of the Program of Action prioritize the dignity of the person and place people at the center of development. We stand ready to work with you to achieve this.