HHS secretary at UN: ‘There is no international right to abortion’

by WorldTribune Staff, September 25, 2019

The United States was joined by 18 other nations in a joint statement issued at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23 calling on the UN to stop promoting abortion.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar. / C-SPAN

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, who delivered the statement on behalf of the U.S. and 18 other member countries, condemned the use of “ambiguous terms and expressions such as ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ in UN documents.”

“There is no international right to an abortion, and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures,” Azar said. “Further, we only support sex education that appreciates the protective role of the family in this education.”

In his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 24, U.S. President Donald Trump stated that “like many nations here today, we in America believe that every child, born and unborn, is a sacred gift from God.”

Trump defended the right of countries to establish protections for unborn human life, noting that there are international efforts to promote taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.

Azar added: “We do not accept the terms ‘sexual and reproductive health’ and ‘sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights’ in this Declaration and note that only documents approved by the General Assembly may inform their understanding and implementation.”

The HHS secretary also said the terms must always include language reminding UN agencies that “each nation has the sovereign right to implement related programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies, and that these terms in no way imply that there is an international right to abortion.”

Azar added that nations “representing more than 1.3 billion of the world’s population,” joined the U.S. in issuing the joint statement “respectfully calling on member states to join us in concentrating on topics that unite rather than divide on the critical issues surrounding access to healthcare.”

Twenty-one countries have now signed the joint statement, an HHS spokeswoman told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“At the time of the Secretary’s speech, it was 19,” the spokeswoman said on Sept. 24. “Afterwards, the [Democratic Republic of the Congo] and Uganda also signed on. This statement was joined by diverse geographical and cultural traditions comprising four of the six key [World Health Organization] regional global divisions – making it especially strong.”

National Review noted in a Sept. 25 report: “This statement from the U.S. to the UN General Assembly is consistent with the Trump administration’s policies involving the provision and funding of abortion overseas. One of President Trump’s first actions after taking office in January 2017 was to sign an executive order reinstating the Mexico City policy, which prevents foreign-aid groups that provide or promote abortion in other countries from receiving U.S. aid funding.”

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