The United States made waves on Tuesday when it told the UN Security Council that it objects to wording that is used to imply approval of abortion. According to Reuters, the statement came in a press release from U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft after the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on women, peace, and security. In her statement, Craft expressed the U.S.’s displeasure the document referenced previous resolutions that contained language referring to “sexual and reproductive health,” as these euphemisms are commonly used to refer to abortion.
“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,” Craft’s statement read. “The U.N should not put itself in a position of promoting or suggesting a right to abortion, whether it is humanitarian or development work.”
News of the statement upset delegates from other countries, including Belgium, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.
“Women have long-argued that they should be able to control their bodies,” said South Africa’s International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor. She went on to speak of abortions, saying, “It is their right to make that choice and this is recognized worldwide…. It can’t be that I’m a victim of sexual violence and I cannot make a choice as to my body and my reproductive rights.”
This isn’t the first time this year that the Trump administration has expressed its opposition to the push for abortion at the UN. In September, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke to the General Assembly, saying, “We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions such as ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ in U.N. documents, because 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.”
In April, the Trump administration threatened to use its veto power if the UN security council didn’t remove similar pro-abortion language from a resolution about rape in war-torn areas. After much deliberation, the language was removed from the final draft of the document.
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