Newsbreak

State Department includes abortion access in new Human Rights Report

abortion, Biden, Antony Blinken, reproductive rights

A newly updated version of the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices from the State Department, more familiarly known as the Human Rights Reports, assesses each country’s provision of so-called ‘reproductive rights,’ a common euphemism for contraception and abortion. This section, previously removed by the Trump administration, has been added back to the report.

The updated report makes good on a March 2021 promise made by Antony Blinken, now Secretary of State, who said that while the section was removed by the previous administration, the State Department planned to re-release the report with this information added back in. According to the Washington Post, the reproductive rights section was originally added to the annual human rights reports during the Obama administration before being removed by the Trump administration.

Blinken claimed that the reproductive rights section would be added back in because “women’s rights — including sexual and reproductive rights ­— are human rights.” But human rights can never include the false ‘right’ to end the life of an innocent human being. Killing innocent human beings is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. Yet, the Biden-Harris administration continuously denies the humanity of preborn children, placing so-called ‘reproductive rights’ above the right to life.

READ: 5 ways the Biden-Harris administration is impacting the pro-life movement

“We reaffirm our full commitment to promote and protect the sexual and reproductive health of all individuals, recognizing the essential and transformative role they play in gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment around the world,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

The newest version of the reports now reads:

On November 4, the Department of State released an addendum to each 2020 country report that […] covers maternal health issues such as maternal mortality, government policy adversely affecting access to contraception, access to skilled healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth, access to emergency healthcare, and discrimination against women in accessing sexual and reproductive health care, including for sexually transmitted infections. These topics were included in previous Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and they will be included again in future years.

Additional sections of each country’s report address topics such as “respect for the integrity of the person,” defined as including freedom from “arbitrary deprivation of life,” and “respect for civil liberties” such as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. Government corruption and lack of transparency, free participation in the political process, and worker rights are all issues that are addressed as well.

It is ironic that the State Department is grading countries on their protection of citizens from arbitrary deprivation of life while simultaneously condemning countries that restrict abortion in any way — as in their report on Poland, where abortion access is significantly limited. In addition, while each country’s report includes information on contraceptive access, there’s no mention of the havoc wreaked on developing nations in particular by Western-funded mass contraceptive distribution campaigns, which represent particularly egregious human rights violations in countries that never asked for contraceptives in the first place.

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