Forced Birth; Ivanka Goes to Africa; and the UN Leadership Gap

Administration Tracks Migrants’ Periods and Denies Legal Abortion Services

The Trump administration has been tracking the periods of migrant girls in an attempt to delay and deny legal abortion services. A spreadsheet, obtained by the media and containing the date of unaccompanied minors’ last menstruation, status of their pregnancies, and whether the pregnancy was a result of rape provided new insight into the administration’s ideologically-driven assault on the rights of women and girls. In 2017, Jane Doe—a 17-year-old girl in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement—won the right to obtain an abortion after weeks of legal battles with the administration.

What happens after the administration denies the right to abortion? A number children have been placed with Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency that has received funding from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and refuses to place children with LGBTQI couples.

Ivanka’s Trip to Africa Serves as Reminder of Administration’s Deadly Policies

Ivanka Trump is travelling in Ethiopia and Ivory Coast this week promoting the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP)—a $50 million fund intended to economically empower 50 million women in low-income countries by 2025. A noble goal, however, it is impossible to separate the Trump administration’s empowerment imitative from its broader anti-women’s rights agenda. From reinstating and expanding the Global Gag Rule to ending funding for the United Nations Population Fund and attempting to undermine global commitments to women’s rights, the administration has repeatedly shown that it is no friend to women. As Ivanka travels to countries where women are now denied contraception and access to abortion services, and forced to seek unsafe methods to terminate their pregnancies, it’s important to remember that women’s economic empowerment is intrinsically linked to the power to make decisions over one’s own body.

US Government Nominee Update

Turnover in the Trump administration continues.

Jonathan Cohen—acting US permanent representative to the UN—has been nominated as ambassador to Egypt, creating an even larger leadership gap at the US Mission to the United Nations (USUN). Without an ambassador, Cohen had been the top USUN official. Kelly Knight Craft, who Trump announced would be his nominee for US ambassador to the UN, has not yet had her nomination submitted to the Senate. This leadership gap comes as the US continues to undermine women’s rights and multilateralism as the United Nations.

Michelle Bekkering, who currently serves as both the senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment, and the senior deputy assistant for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has been nominated for USAID assistant administrator. It is unclear if Bekkering will retain her senior coordinator role, where she has diligently implemented the administration’s regressive policies on women’s rights. Bekkering recently represented the US at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, where the US sought to obstruct progress of women’s rights.

Photo: US Customs and Border Protection

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