The Democrat party has introduced a bill that would “require the U.S. State Department to include reproductive rights in its annual human rights report,” in recognition of abortion as a basic human right.
The new bill, titled the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act, would restore the U.N.-approved language of sexual and reproductive rights introduced by the Obama administration in 2015, a move hailed by the United Nations. At that time, deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Erdman said that the federal government would use the new terminology to better mesh with foreign agendas on sexual, reproductive, and women’s rights.
“Documenting and reporting human rights violations is a major part of eradicating their existence,” said Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), the lead sponsor of the new legislation. “This bill would ensure that our State Department maintains its vital role as an international watchdog and protector of women’s rights no matter the ideology of our White House.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department announced the removal of the term “reproductive rights” from its annual human rights reports.
During a press briefing for the release of the 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices last April, Michael Kozak, Ambassador of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, said that the change did not reflect “a diminishment of women’s rights” but rather was adopted in order “to stop using a term that has several different meanings that are not all the ones we intend.”
The human rights country reports now feature data on “coercion in population control” instead of “reproductive rights.”
In their press release announcing the new bill, the team of five pro-choice Democrats who have proposed the legislation said they intended to counter the move by the Trump administration to distance the U.S. from international advocacy for reproductive rights, calling the measure “censorship.”
“The Trump Administration’s censorship of key elements of the State Department’s annual human rights report is outrageous,” said Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY). “The deletion of reproductive rights was a clear step back from the United States’ obligation to address the full range of human rights violations around the globe.”
The bill’s sponsors believe that the United States should recognize abortion as a universal human right, and push for its acceptance around the globe.
“Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, the US government should serve as an advocate for women’s fundamental reproductive rights,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “Protecting and advancing women’s rights should remain front and center in our diplomacy, including documenting and reporting on violations against their human rights.”
“If Secretary Pompeo won’t stand up for women around the world, then Congress must. I am proud to support the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act, on behalf of women and girls across the globe,” she said.
The Trump administration has made the pro-life cause one of its pillars, which has been a source of grief for the declaredly pro-choice Democrat party.
Last April, the president declared that a child’s human dignity begins at conception when proclaiming April 2018 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“We must always remember that all children are blessings from our Creator,” Mr. Trump said. “They are endowed from conception with value, purpose, and human dignity.”
Children “are a source of unmatched joy, and they represent our Nation’s future,” Mr. Trump said. “It is thus our civic and moral responsibility to help every child experience a childhood free from abuse and mistreatment, guiding them toward a future full of hope and promise.”
His words echoed an earlier statement when he declared January 22, 2018 as “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.”
In that text, Mr. Trump called for renewed attention to “the love and protection each person, born and unborn.”
The president noted that much of the greatest suffering in the history of the world has been the result of “disgracefully misguided attempts to dehumanize whole classes of people.”
In an evident reference to the unborn, Trump added that we “cannot let this shameful history repeat itself in new forms, and we must be particularly vigilant to safeguard the most vulnerable lives among us.”
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