Expanded Attacks on Abortion, UN Commission on the Status of Women, Human Rights Reports, and the President’s Budget Proposal

Trumping Women’s Rights Digest: Delivering a Global Lens on the Administration’s Fight Against Women’s Health

US Expands Attacks on Global Abortion Access

The Trump administration took yet another step to restrict health care for women and girls worldwide when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new expansion to the Global Gag Rule and invoked the Siljander amendment, placing additional restrictions on funding to multilateral institutions.

The Global Gag Rule is already having devastating impacts. By expanding the policy once again, the administration forces foreign nongovernmental organizations that receive US funding to end all support for organizations that provide, counsel, refer, or advocate for abortion, even with non-US funds. This has serious implications for the entire global health community and is intended to further isolate and stigmatize organizations that provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.

Read IWHC’s full statement here.

UN Commission Concludes with New Commitments to Women’s Rights

The UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded with significant gains for women’s rights and access to public services, protections, and infrastructure. Yet despite CSW’s achievements, hostility toward women’s rights—led by the United States and its anti-rights allies—was on full display.

The US pursued an extreme agenda that sought to undermine previous global agreements on women’s rights and remove references to gender and sexual and reproductive health services from CSW’s final agreements. These efforts were largely rebuffed by governments, in a demonstration of global momentum toward gender equality.

Read IWHC’s full statement on CSW here.

Reproductive Rights Excluded from State Department Human Rights Reports

For the second year in a row, the US State Department’s Human Rights Reports excluded reproductive rights. This omission is another example of the administration prioritizing an extreme anti-woman ideology over human rights.

The lack of reporting on reproductive rights weakens US leadership on human rights and obscures numerous violations of women’s fundamental right to bodily autonomy. Among the abuses overlooked is the tragic case of a 15-year-old girl from Indonesia who was repeatedly raped by her brother, and then imprisoned in May 2018 for undergoing an abortion.

In early March, the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act was introduced in the US Congress to require reporting on reproductive rights in the Human Rights Reports.

Read IWHC’s full statement on the Human Rights Reports here.

President’s Budget Cuts Funding for Family Planning and UN Agencies

President Trump’s 2020 budget request reduces funding to the US State Department and USAID, resulting in a direct threat to women’s rights, diplomacy, and multilateralism. Among the proposed cuts are a substantial decrease in funding to UN agencies and a more than 50 percent reduction—or $338 million—in the family planning and reproductive health budget. If approved, this would have life-threatening consequences for women and girls globally.

These cuts also include eliminating funds for the State Department’s International Organizations and Programs Account, which includes US contributions to UNICEF, the UN Development Program, the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the United Nations Population Fund—the largest international provider of contraceptives and other family planning services. These offices play a crucial role in protecting human rights and providing necessary services, such as access to clean water and reproductive health care to women and girls worldwide.

Photo: The White House

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