Trump administration pushes UN to drop mentions of reproductive health from official documents

Trump administration pushes UN to drop mentions of reproductive health from official documents
© Greg Nash

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called on world leaders to exclude references to reproductive health in policy documentation at the United Nations General Assembly Monday.

In remarks Monday at a General Assembly meeting on universal health coverage, Azar called on the U.N. to oppose what he called “ambiguous terms” pertaining to sexual health.

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“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,” Azar said.

“Such terms do not adequately take into account the key role of the family in health and education, nor the sovereign right of nations to implement health policies according to their national context. There is no international right to an abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures,” he added.

Azar added that he and representatives of other countries only supported sex education that “does not condone harmful sexual risks for young people” without offering specifics.

Azar made his remarks on behalf of the U.S. and several other nations whose officials were present, including Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Saudi Arabia. Abortion is banned in several of the represented nations, such as Iraq, and only permitted to save the life of the mother or preserve her physical health in others, such as Saudi Arabia, according to the Guttmacher Institute.