At the UN, the US Darkens Women’s Right to Abortion

After four weeks of tumultuous negotiations over a resolution that reinforced decades of international efforts to combat sexual violence in conflict and to introduce more legal reassurances and services for victims, the 15-member United Nations Security Council approved a text whose wording had been rigorously fought over between the United States and many of its fellow Council members.

The latest battle over words at the UN shows how difficult it is becoming for women to decide and hold on to their rights, as the Trump administration wrestles for full control over women’s bodies and minds not only in the United States but across the world.

Many Council members had hoped and prayed that the Germans, who were leading the negotiations, would not cave in to US pressures to weaken commitments to women in conflict. Some members even threatened to walk away from the text if the US got its way, while others wanted the Germans to call the Americans’ bluff and put the resolution to a vote with the forbidden wording in. Ultimately, some capitulation was necessary, it turned out, to save the resolution.

The text aimed to be all-encompassing, building on a chain of previous resolutions to enhance the legal recognition of victims’ needs, such as justice and reparations. Yet what the resolution lacked and caused tremendous consternation among many UN member states in and outside the Council as well as among women’s rights advocates were the words “sexual and reproductive health,” language that is a fixture in some related UN resolutions, such as No. 2106, but that the Trump administration — circling back to Vice President Pence, an evangelical Christian — contends connotes abortion. Read more via PassBlue