The White House on Monday delivered a joint statement at the United Nations National Assembly in New York stating “there is no international right to abortion” and requesting the removal of ambiguous terms promoting abortion rights in U.N. documents.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke on behalf of the Trump administration and 18 other countries, including Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
“We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ in U.N. documents,” Azar stated. “They can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices, like abortion, in circumstances that do not enjoy international consensus and which can be misinterpreted by U.N. agencies.
“Such terms do not adequately take into account the key role of family in health and education, nor the sovereign right of nations to implement health policies according to their national context,” he continued. “There is no international right to abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures.”
In an op-ed for Fox News, Grace Melton, The Heritage Foundation’s associate for social issues at the United Nations, explained that with the help of numerous progressive advocacy groups, U.N. bureaucrats are attempting to establish international pro-abortion laws under the guise of “human rights.” One way they’re going about this is by including gender equality language to deceptively promote abortion in many global contexts.
But Monday’s statement shows that not all countries have been fooled: “We … request that the U.N., including U.N. agencies, focus on concrete efforts that enjoy broad consensus among member states,” Azar read. “To that end, only documents that have been adopted by all member states should be cited in U.N. resolutions.”
“We’re very pleased that the United States and these 18 countries are refocusing universal health coverage on the real needs of women and children,” Susan Yoshihara, research director for the Center for Family and Human Rights, told NPR.
Melton agreed: “It is far better to respect the voices of member states and women around the world than to impose a progressive abortion agenda masquerading as health care.”
Above: U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar, center, delivers remarks before introducing Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, left, as Food & Drug Administrator Scott Gottlieb, right, looks on during an announcement on the use of e-cigarettes by teenagers at HHS headquarters December 18, 2018 in Washington, D.C.