Removal of “Sexual and Reproductive Health” Language from UN Resolution: What the Media Got Wrong

Michael J. New, Ph.D.  

Many mainstream media outlets are unfairly criticizing the Trump administration for removing the phrase “Sexual and Reproductive Health” from a United Nations resolution on sexual violence. Such a policy change was necessary to ensure that this resolution did not support legal abortion. Many organizations affiliated with the United Nations including the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization have used the phrase “Sexual and Reproductive Health” as a way to either directly or indirectly promote legal abortion. In fact, the website for the World Health Organization’s European office includes abortion as a specific area of work underneath “Sexual and Reproductive Health.”


Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken the lead to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are neither funding abortion nor weakening pro-life laws in other countries. Their decision to strengthen and expand the Mexico City Policy has significantly reduced taxpayer complicity in global abortion. Furthermore, these Trump administration policy changes have not reduced the overall amount of U.S. funding for global health assistance. Instead, these policy changes have prioritized maternal care, prenatal care, and other programs that ensure adequate nutrition and medical care for mothers and children, rather than abortion.


Furthermore, claims by CNN and other news outlets that the Mexico City policy has increased overseas abortion rates are misleading. Abortion data from developing countries is often incomplete and unreliable. Indeed, the studies which claim that the Mexico City Policy increased the incidence of abortion have many missing data points, as I made clear in a piece for National Review. Furthermore, the data they do analyze often reveals implausibly large annual fluctuations in the incidence of abortion. In reality, a substantial body of research illustrates that defunding organizations that perform abortions is an effective strategy for lowering abortion rates. The Trump administration should be applauded for its efforts to help build a culture of life internationally.


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