The Trump administration “welcomed” UNICEF’s new executive director, appointed on Monday, raising hopes, and questions, about whether the new chief will embrace the administration’s pro-life stance.

American businesswoman Henrietta Holsman Fore became UNICEF’s 7th executive director, replacing Tony Lake, the Obama-nominated chief and former national security advisor during the Clinton administration. The post has been occupied by an American since its inception in 1947 and is formally appointed by the UN Secretary General after consultation with UNICEF’s executive board which includes the United States.

UNICEF has promoted controversial policies on life and family matters since adopting a rights-based approach based upon the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the CEDAW treaty on women’s rights. In recent years UNICEF has endorsed more contentious interpretations of the two treaties put forth by their monitoring committees.

UNICEF intervened with Nicaragua’s national assembly to keep abortion legal in that country, and to liberalize abortion in the Dominican Republic, it has advocated for the right of children to have confidential sexual health services without parental knowledge, advocated that children have genders outside the male-female binary, and has partnered with the world’s largest abortion providers and advocates to hold conferences which promote abortion of children in the womb.

Changing the guard at UNICEF during Republican administrations has raised and dashed pro-life hopes in the past, as when the Bush administration sent Ann Veneman to replace Carol Bellamy. Bellamy was known for insinuating a radical feminist approach at the children’s agency, which experts say pried the agency away from its focus on child survival and set it on its current course.

Fore’s appointment has raised eyebrows because she gave $3,500 to recruit and train pro-choice Republican women candidates in the United States.

The news source Rawstory reported that Federal Election Commission records showed that Fore donated to The WISH List from 1998-2000. The group’s website describes itself as an organization working to “raise money to identify, train, support and elect more Republican women leaders to public office at all levels of government,” and billed itself as “America’s largest fundraising network for pro-choice Republican women candidates!”

When Fore donated to the group, WISH List also described itself as opposed to the “Global Gag Rule,” the term opponents use for the Mexico City Policy, first enacted in 1984, that prohibits taxpayer funding of foreign groups that perform or promote abortion overseas. When Fore was USAID Administrator during the administration of George W. Bush, she was responsible for enforcing the Mexico City Policy.

Until this week, Fore served as Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Holsman International, a manufacturing and investment company. From 2007 to 2009, she served as the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and as Director of United States Foreign Assistance in the U.S. State Department. From 2005 to 2007, she served as Under Secretary of State for Management, and was the 37th Director of the United States Mint from 2001 to 2005.

She served on the Boards of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Before taking the UNICEF position she resigned from corporate boards, including those of General Mills and the Exxon Mobil Corporation, where Rex Tillerson served as CEO prior to his role as Secretary of State.

Susan Yoshihara PhD writes for the Friday Fax.

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