Pro-life groups are commending the Trump administration after it kept abortion-related language out of a United Nations resolution on “Women, Peace and Security” and urged members to stop using phrases such as “sexual and reproductive health” in U.N. documents
The U.S. Security Council passed the resolution last week, but the U.S. split from the United Kingdom, France, South Africa and other nations over the issue of abortion.
Unlike multiple past resolutions on women’s issues, the new resolution does not reference abortion or reproductive health.
Susan Yoshihara of the Center for Human and Family Rights called it a “victory for the Trump administration” and a “blow to Europeans who insist that abortion be funded as humanitarian aid.”
It isn’t the first time the U.S. has taken such a stance under Trump. In April, the U.S. threatened a veto if language affirming “sexual and reproductive health” wasn’t deleted from a resolution on sexual violence. Eventually, it was removed.
Although the new resolution does not reference abortion, it does mention previous documents that included such language. For example, it mentions resolution “1889 (2009)” – a document that affirmed “sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.”
U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft spoke out against the resolution’s support of past abortion-affirming resolutions.
“The resolution refers to previous documents that include references to ‘sexual and reproductive health,” she said. “I must note that we cannot accept references to ‘sexual and reproductive health,’ nor any references to ‘safe termination of pregnancy’ or language that would promote abortion or suggest a right to abortion.”
The U.S. has “stated clearly on many occasions, consistent with the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action and its report,” Craft said, “that we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support this in our women’s global assistance initiatives.
“The U.N.,” Craft added, “should not put itself in a position of promoting or suggesting a right to abortion, whether it is humanitarian or development work.”
Other countries, though, support such language. British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce, according to Reuters, said reproductive health is “a vital part of public services for women in all countries and a vital part of ensuring that women can play a truly equal role in the building of their countries.”
Yoshihara said the U.S. pro-life position “has changed abortion politics at the U.N.”
“Under the Obama administration,” she wrote. “references to ‘sexual and reproductive health’ appeared in two versions of the recurring resolution on Women Peace and Security, promoted by France and other European nations and supported by UN Women and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.”
In September, the U.S. joined 18 other countries in urging the U.S. to stop using terms like “sexual and reproductive health” in U.N. documents and resolutions.
“There is no international right to an abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures,” the joint statement said.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Stevan Ovicigor
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.