What the New General Assembly May Hold for President Trump

By | October 5, 2017

NEW YORK, October 6 (C-Fam) All eyes are on the United States this week as United Nations General Assembly begins its 72nd annual fall session. Will the Trump administration push a more conservative position on life and family matters in the coming three months?

The six main committees of the General Assembly began consideration of resolutions the General Assembly will adopt by year’s end. As per usual, the Third Committee will address the more controversial issues that have roiled the UN for more than a quarter century.

Human rights resolutions have become increasingly controversial, as some countries use them to promote “new” human rights, such as access to abortion, comprehensive sexuality education, and gender ideology. This year, these will be a field test for the new U.S. administration.

During his recent speech at the UN, President Donald J. Trump called for a UN system that respects diverse nations and cultures, allowing “individuals to flourish in the fullness of life intended by God.” This could be a signal that the new U.S. administration believes such issues are better left to the Member States individually.

Together with his electoral promises to the pro-life community, the president’s statements suggest he will substantially change the U.S. position from the previous more extreme positions of the Obama administration. For instance, already last March the U.S. opposed the unqualified mention of “sexual and reproductive health,” upsetting European countries.

These terms, ascendant during the Obama years, are used to promote the establishment of an international right to abortion, nowhere contemplated in international law. Detached from the context where they were defined, and included in UN resolutions without any further qualification, their mention has fueled the abortion lobby for many years.

For the same reason, pro-life groups are hopeful that the U.S. will reject the term “comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services,” which sexual rights advocates were able to see adopted in 2014. Pro-life groups would like to see nations, with U.S. leadership, speak again of “mothers,” and unborn children, as Pope Francis urged.

Based on international consensus, the U.S. may oppose ongoing attempts to redefine the family, extending its protections and rights to other forms of social arrangements that are not protected by international law.

The U.S. is expected to reject “comprehensive sexuality education,” nowhere mentioned in UN treaties. This term, opposed by the majority of UN Member States, describes curricula teaching children about masturbation and same-sex relationships, regardless of parental convictions or consent.

Pro-lifers hope the new administration will not only reject the move toward validating abortion but also fight against euthanasia for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Last July, the Human Rights Committee suggested that some lives—such as those of the elderly and ill—are disposable. The body said state parties have an obligation to permit abortion under certain circumstances, and argued in favor of euthanasia.