December 6, 2018

More than 80 reproductive health and rights organizations joined the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) to send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today urging him to end the censorship of US diplomats related to their work on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The letter was sent in response to reports that the administration is prohibiting the use of well-defined technical terms such as “sexual and reproductive health,” “comprehensive sexuality education,” and other terms relating to sex, sexuality, and gender. These reckless and unprecedented efforts on the part of the US State Department undermine nearly 25 years of global consensus and endanger progress on women’s health around the world.

“The attempt to erase sexual and reproductive health and rights from US policy and prohibit diplomats from using related terms has grave consequences for global health, including efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and improve maternal health” says IWHC Director of Advocacy and Policy Shannon Kowalski. “IWHC saw the consequences of these policies first-hand at the recent UN Third Committee, where the US delegation repeatedly proposed amendments to weaken global commitments on resolutions concerning child marriage and violence against women.”

These tactics further isolate the United States on the world stage and once again demonstrate the administration’s disregard for human rights and women’s health.

The full letter can be read here

The following groups signed on to the effort:

Advocates for Youth
AIDS United
American Jewish World Service
American Medical Student Association
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Amnesty International USA
Better World Campaign
Catholics for Choice
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
Center for Reproductive Rights
Common Defense
Council for Global Equality
Demand Progress
Feminist Majority Foundation
Foreign Policy for America
Girls Inc.
Global Fund for Women
Global Justice Center
Global Justice Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches
Global Rights for Women
Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation
Global Women’s Institute
Guttmacher Institute
Heartland Alliance International
Human Rights Campaign
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth
International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region
International Rescue Committee
International Women’s Health Coalition
International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Jewish World Watch
John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
Milaan Foundation
MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Network of Abortion Funds
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women’s Health Network
National Women’s Law Center
Open Society Foundations
OutRight Action International
Oxfam America
Partners In Health
People For the American Way
Physicians for Reproductive Health
Plan International USA
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Connection Action Fund
Population Institute
Public Citizen
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
Synergía – Initiatives for Human Rights
The AIDS Institute
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Treatment Action Group
Union for Reform Judaism
United Nations Association of the United States
UPIC Health
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Win Without War
Women Graduates-USA
Women of Reform Judaism
Women’s Refugee Commission
Woodhull Freedom Foundation

Contact: Liza Kane-Hartnett; (+1) 212-801-1260

Photo: Karla Cote