Definitions

The Gender Agenda: How the LGBT Movement is Hijacking Women’s Rights

In the early 1990s, UN policy began to use the terms “gender,” “gender equality,” “gender balance,” “gender policies,” “gender-sensitive,” etc. to refer to the social, legal, and economic disparities between women and men and policies to address them. UN member states accepted the term “gender” with the understanding that it referred to the two biological sexes and the promotion of the equality of women and men, and nothing more. They thought that by using this term they were focusing on the advancement of women and girls.

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UN-safe Abortion: How the Abortion Industry has Used UN Agencies to Legitimize Abortion

The often-repeated adage that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare,” popularized by U.S. President Bill Clinton, generally captures how the term “safe abortion” was once understood. Abortion is not a good thing. It should be avoided as much as possible. Since the Clinton era, though, abortion advocates have distanced themselves from the phrase, arguing that the word “rare” imparts stigma. Instead, they have increasingly worked to frame abortion as a good thing, and used the word “safe” as part of the push to establish abortion as an international right. 

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What is feminist foreign policy?

This issue of Definitions explores the way feminist foreign policy has been conducted thus far, examines how it has been framed by its creators and proponents, and considers the impact it has already had thus far.

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The UN Human Rights System’s Stillbirth Scandal

Every day around the world, 800 women and 7,000 children die in childbirth. This is tragic, and rightfully their deaths have garnered attention at the highest levels. Yet 7,100 more children are stillborn every day to devastated parents, but they have been erased from the international agenda. This brief paper examines one of the United Nations entities responsible. 

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The Link between Gender-Based Violence Response and Abortion

Violence against women and girls, whether perpetrated in the home, the workplace, at school, in public spaces, or during times of war or crisis, leaves devastating effects on survivors and their families.

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Hope for Human Rights: Why the UN General Assembly Must Address Treaty Body Overreach

The UN General Assembly has negotiated and approved ten human rights treaties since the UN system was founded seventy-five years ago. Each treaty establishes a “treaty body” or “monitoring committee” of between twelve and twenty-four experts, tasked by the terms of their respective treaty to monitor and report on the efforts of States to implement the treaties. These treaty bodies have been at the forefront of promoting abortion as a human right, LGBTQI+ rights, sexual autonomy for children, and other divisive policies, all under the rubric of human rights.

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What does “unintended pregnancy” really mean and why does it matter?

INTRODUCTION The “sexual revolution” of the late 1960s in the United States and Europe was based on the idea that the link between sex and pregnancy is opt-in rather than…

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What is UN Development Reform and Why Should We Care?

Since 2017, members of the United Nations organization have been debating and adopting measures to reform the UN development system. The process, like many other UN reform efforts before it, is ostensibly meant to increase the efficiency and responsiveness of UN agencies and programs, but that is not the full picture. 

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What is the real purpose of the Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act?

INTRODUCTION In 1973, the United States Supreme Court decided, in Roe v. Wade, to strike down all laws protecting unborn children from abortion throughout the country. That same year, Congress moved to…

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What is the “unfinished business” of the ICPD?

INTRODUCTION Twenty-five years ago, national leaders, UN representatives, and members of civil society met in Cairo, Egypt for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).  The resulting Programme of…

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What is the Universal Periodic Review?

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a relatively new UN human rights mechanism. In its ten-year tenure it has provided a forum for nations to review each other’s human rights records, with input from civil society.

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What Went Wrong with the Human Rights System?

The recent formation of the U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights is a positive sign in the United States. It shows that there is an increasing awareness that the UN human rights system has gone badly awry. Indeed, something has gone awfully wrong in international human rights discourse.

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What does a right to family planning mean?

INTRODUCTION For more than half a century, advocates have asserted that couples have a human right to family planning— the knowledge and means to determine the timing and spacing of…

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Why Confusion About Family Planning Terminology Could Be Costing Us Billions

INTRODUCTION At international institutions, there is always a politically sensitive, if not controversial, nature to discussions of sex, reproduction, and the family.  Even so, since 1968, some nations have framed…

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What is an International Norm? How is it Created and Why Does it Matter?

INTRODUCTION International debates often center around the concept of “international norms.” The liberal global order is sometimes described as being based on “rules” and “norms.” But what exactly is meant…

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Lives Saved — Bad Metrics, Bad Faith

Is saving a life the same as averting a death? Not exactly—one involves leaving a survivor, while the other deals with theoretical probabilities. But that subtle distinction has huge implications…

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