The Trump administration is prioritizing real human rights issues in a key report by removing references to the so-called “right” to abort an unborn child.
An anonymous official in the State Department complained about the changes to Politico this week.
“This sends a clear signal that women’s reproductive rights are not a priority for this administration, and that it’s not even a rights violation we must or should report on,” the department official said.
Five current and former department officials who spoke with the news outlet anonymously said a top aide to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson instructed them to cut passages on women’s “reproductive rights and discrimination” from the global human rights report.
They said the title of one section will be changed from “Reproductive Rights” to “Coercion in Population Control.”
Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the department, refuted the negative comments, saying the department is not “downgrading coverage of … women’s issues.” Rather, it now will focus on ending the most “egregious” of human rights abuses against women and families in the world.
Here’s more from the report:
The report is relied on by a range of people, from U.S. lawmakers to political activists. Asylum seekers from countries such as China, for instance, have cited the report to support claims that they are subject to forced sterilization or abortion.
Past human rights reports have covered the issue of women’s reproductive rights in detail, offering numerous statistics and anecdotes to paint a picture of the conditions in particular countries.
Last year’s report, noted, for instance, that India has “unmet needs for contraception, deaths related to unsafe abortion, maternal mortality, and coercive family planning practices, including coerced or unethical sterilization and policies restricting access to entitlements for women with more than two children.”
While coercive measures by governments are expected to continue to be chronicled in this year’s report, the current and former officials said, many other elements on reproductive rights will likely not be.
It is a significant change from pro-abortion President Barack Obama’s administration, which promoted the killing of unborn babies for any reason up to birth as a woman’s “right.”
In contrast, the Trump administration has been focusing on policies that protect both women and their unborn children.
For example, Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits taxpayer funding to groups that promote or provide abortions overseas.
Only four of more than 700 groups that provide foreign aid refused to comply with the new requirement. Previous news reports indicate that two of the four were the pro-abortion groups International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International. The rest continue to serve people with the greatest needs in countries across the world.
The Mexico City Policy had been in place during the entirety of the Bush administration and Obama rescinded it during his first week in office. Named for a 1984 population conference where President Ronald Reagan initially announced it, the policy made it so family planning funds could only go to groups that would agree to not do abortions or lobby foreign nations to overturn their pro-life laws.
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Trump’s Executive Memorandum to reinstate the Mexico City Policy stops taxpayer funding of groups that perform and promote abortions overseas but does not stop non-abortion international assistance. The order ensures U.S. foreign aid will continue to go to health care and humanitarian relief in the millions of dollars. It just will not subsidize abortion overseas.
Under the Obama administration, the British-based abortion chain Marie Stopes International also received taxpayer funding. Like Planned Parenthood in America, Marie Stopes has a shoddy reputation, with one recent report showing about 400 botched abortions in a two-month period.