Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asked the United Nations on Monday to remove what he referred to as pro-abortion language from official documents, arguing that certain terms cause confusion because there is no international consensus on the practice.
What are the details?
"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 at a General Assembly meeting on universal health.
"Such terms do not adequately take into account the key role of family in health and education, nor the sovereign right of nations to implement health policies according to their national context," he continued. "There is no international right to an abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures."
The Hill reported that "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 Congo and Saudi Arabia." The newspaper pointed out that abortion is banned in several of the countries backing the U.S. in the coalition.
According to The Guardian, Azar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a (leaked) letter to several nations, asking them to join the U.S. in signing a statement pushing the U.N. to remove pro-abortion language.
"As a key priority in global health promotion, we respectfully request that your government join the United States in ensuring that every sovereign state has the ability to determine the best way to protect the unborn and defend the family as the foundational unity of society vital to children thriving and leading health lives," the letter reportedly read.
"We remain gravely concern that aggressive efforts to reinterpret international instruments to create a new international right to abortion and to promote international policies that weaken the family have advanced through some United Nations fora."
The Trump administration officials added, "These approaches undermine our shared commitment to sustainable development and to achieving health for all, leaving no on behind."