The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is poised to vote on the nomination of Andrew Bremberg to serve as representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations. Bremberg is yet another Trump administration nominee boasting regressive views on gender, human rights, and access to health care. The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) strongly urges senators to reject Bremberg’s nomination and vote “no” on his confirmation.
Bremberg, currently the director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council, holds no diplomatic experience or foreign policy expertise. He does however have a long history of anti-abortion extremism that appears to be a prerequisite for employment in the current US administration.
Bremberg’s views came into sharp focus during his confirmation hearing in a heated exchange with Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ). When asked if victims of sexual violence should have access to abortion services, Bremberg stated, “I don’t believe that abortion is a moral solution to any problem.” He went on to emphasize that he is “pro-life” and declared his view that “all human life is sacred” and begins at conception. When pushed further, Bremberg refused to accept that survivors of violence need access to abortion—despite the fact even the most restrictive US abortion laws contain exceptions in cases of rape. As stated at his confirmation hearing and mirrored in his policy positions, Bremberg’s views on abortion are out of line with US law and public opinion.
This point is not simply rhetorical. If confirmed, Bremberg would be responsible for representing the United States in over 20 multilateral organizations in Geneva, including the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and the World Health Organization. The Trump administration has increasingly sought to use the UN to roll back longstanding global commitments on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and recently went so far as to threaten to veto a Security Council resolution on sexual violence in conflict, forcing the removal of language calling for “sexual and reproductive health” care for survivors. If confirmed, Bremberg would likely advance policies that restrict access to sexual and reproductive health care services and work to undermine existing agreements on these issues.
In his current position at the White House, Bremberg was instrumental in drafting the administration’s expanded version of the Global Gag Rule, which is producing catastrophic impacts on reproductive health and rights worldwide. IWHC has documented the devastating impact of the policy in four countries, and the evidence is clear: The Global Gag Rule is an ideologically driven initiative that restricts access to health care for already marginalized populations, undermines health systems and development priorities, and kills women worldwide. Bremberg’s role in drafting this policy shows that he is willing to place regressive, anti-abortion ideology above public health and human rights—both things that US representation to the UN in Geneva should be prepared to prioritize.
Similarly, IWHC is extremely concerned by Bremberg’s unequivocal support for the recently announced Commission on Unalienable Rights. His insistence on focusing on the ideas of “natural law and natural rights” that are “endowed by our Creator” echoes longstanding efforts by anti-rights actors to attack women’s and LGBTQI rights globally. Any supporter of such a commission, which puts the US out of step with international human rights norms and threatens global progress, should not be sent to Geneva to engage with global human rights bodies.
Finally, if Bremberg’s extremist views on health, gender, and human rights do not disqualify him from serving in the position to which he has been nominated, his record on immigration should. Bremberg has been part of this administration’s harsh and discriminatory immigration policies, including the family separation policy. His complicity in these inhumane policies, many of which have been criticized by UN bodies, renders him completely unsuitable to represent the United States to the very international organizations tasked with protecting the rights of migrants and refugees.
Even amongst the endless onslaught of regressive and unacceptable nominees appointed by President Trump, Andrew Bremberg stands out as being particularly ill-suited for the role he has been tapped to fill. IWHC strongly urges senators to reject his nomination, and to insist that the president appoint someone with expertise in diplomacy, a background in foreign policy, and a demonstrated commitment to human rights to represent the US in Geneva.
Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elias