Secretary General Launches Attack on Trump Administration
NEW YORK, March 15 (C-Fam) The buzz phrase at UN headquarters this week was “pushback against the pushback.” It refers to, among other things, U.S. resistance to international abortion policies. The phrase was coined by Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
“Power is not given, it is taken,” said Guterres in revolutionary style during a crowded Townhall meeting with feminists at UN headquarters on Tuesday.
“That is why we must pushback against the pushback,” he explained. Guterres repeated the phrase in several public speeches this week and specifically emphasized “the ongoing battle for reproductive rights,” lamenting several countries adopting “backward legislation.”
Guterres’ rhetoric is not just a way to pander to the several thousand feminists gathered at UN headquarters for the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women. It is required if he hopes to win a second term as Secretary-General with the support of France and Great Britain, both permanent members of the Security Council and promoters of abortion.
He is also sending a message to UN member states about the negotiations of the final agreement of the conference.
The United States is once again challenging the use of abortion-related terms like “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” in negotiations that resumed yesterday at UN headquarters and will continue through next week. The working draft of the agreement contained over one dozen paragraphs mentioning the controversial terms.
And the U.S. is also opposing ambiguous references to “gender” that could refer to men who identify as women or LGBT issues instead of women and girls.
In a statement in the main session of the Commission today, U.S. Ambassador for UN Reform Cherith Norman Chalet took a swipe at gender ideology.
“Let’s be clear – we are not about gender jargon. Today, here at the Commission on the Status of Women, we are about women. Women and girls. The life of all women and girls,” Chalet said.
Chalet also reiterated the Trump administration’s commitment to the protection of life by condemning sex-selective abortion.
“The United States is also committed to protecting the precious gift of life, including the protection of baby girls who would have been aborted, merely because they are female,” she added.
The Trump administration has opposed the use of abortion-related terms in UN agreements with increasing frequency over his first two years in office. This position is consistent with the Mexico City Policy, a Republican policy that prohibits USAID from giving U.S. taxpayer funds to groups the perform or promote abortion.
The UN system aggressively campaigns for abortion and UN agencies work with groups that perform and promote abortion, all under the rubric of ensuring access to “sexual and reproductive health.” U.S. support for UN agreements that use these terms in the UN context undermines the objective of the Mexico City Policy of depriving abortion groups of U.S. taxpayer support.
Many developing countries are now faced with the dilemma of siding with the United States, the single largest aid donor, or with European nations, the largest overall aid donor collectively.
Europeans are in favor of using abortion-related terms in UN policy and lobby capitals all around the world to oppose the Trump administration’s pro-life international efforts, including through a multi-lateral campaign known as “She Decides.”
The campaign is a direct attack on the Mexico City Policy and a constant rebuke to U.S. foreign policy. It has collected over six hundred million U.S. dollars to bailout abortion groups that lost funding through the Mexico City Policy.
The European and other sponsors of the “She Decides” campaign gathered at UN headquarters on Tuesday to take stock of the initiative.
The French Minister of Gender, Marlene Schiappa, did not hide her contempt for U.S. pro-life policy. “It’s a crime to prevent a woman from having access to abortion,” she said.
It is possible that, as has happened in past years, no agreement will be reached by next Friday because of polarization surrounding issues like abortion and LGBT rights. In that case, Irish ambassador to the UN, Geraldine Byrne Nason, who is presiding the work of the Commission for the second year in a row, may propose her best attempt at an agreement.