UN Treaty Apparatus Furious with Trump Over Abortion and Money

By | June 13, 2019

Kate Gilmore

NEW YORK, June 14 (C-Fam) A three-day feminist conclave last week shows that Trump’s pro-life policy is hitting abortion activists where it hurts: in the pocketbook.

At the Vancouver-hosted, biennial, Women Deliver conference, Deputy UN high commissioner for human rights Kate Gilmore gave a full-throated denunciation of President Trump’s pro-life foreign policy. She called U.S. foreign policy “extremist hate,” “torture,” and said the world’s women face a “crisis.” Christians who promote the legal protection of unborn human life, Gilmore said, pursue “an assault on truth, science and universal values and norms.”

Gilmore, like other speakers at the women’s conference, served up special vitriol for the Trump administration’s reinstaatement and expansion of Mexico City Policy that prohibits U.S. foreign aid going to groups like Gilmore’s former employer, Amnesty International, when they choose to promote abortion. It was under Gilmore’s leadership that Amnesty began promoting abortion in 2007.

Gilmore has been a regular feature at Women Deliver since it started in 2007. As an activist, she was part of the 1990s network of abortion groups that began lobbying the UN’s human rights treaty bodies to reinterpret the conventions with abortion rights. Now she’s in bureaucratic control of the treaty bodies.

Last year, the Human Rights Committee, which monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, went so far as to say that a right to abortion is found in the “right to life.” Pro-life groups condemned the move and urged the Trump administration to pull funding from OHCHR. Last year the administration indicated that it was considering such a move.

None of the 10 UN human rights committees have any authority to impose new obligations on nations. Yet six of them have done so by overstepping their mandates as defined in the treaties. Funding for the committee’s meetings, including travel expenses, come from Gilmore’s office, and now that funding seems to be in jeopardy.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) website, all ten treaty bodies were informed in April that six of them are “very likely” to have sessions in 2019 cancelled for financial reasons, an “unprecedented” circumstance.

This is bad timing for activists who just launched another campaign on the human rights system. Activists not only claim a human right to abortion, they claim that governments must pay reparations for denying them. The complaints from Latin America were sponsored by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR).

A group of 400 NGOs that depends upon the committees to press their causes, including CRR, released a statement sounding the alarm that fact-finding trips and committee meetings would be cancelled due to a 25% cut to travel budgets for UN bureaucrats, including treaty body experts. The OHCHR has opened its own crowdsourcing site for donations. The group blamed the U.S. and 43 other countries who have not paid their assessments to the UN.

The President’s budget requests $2 billion for the UN Secretariat, UN agencies, UN peacekeeping and other international organizations, and signaled “intent to pursue greater accountability.”

The Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives just passed a foreign operations funding bill that increases spending for the UN to $1.01 billion above the President’s request. The bill also restores funding to the U.N. Population Fund, seeks to permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy, and would legally prohibit any spending to implement that policy. The Republican-led U.S. Senate is marking up their own foreign operations spending bill. It remains to be seen whether the final legislation will tip the scales toward Gilmore and the abortion activists or toward enactment of Trump’s pro-life policies.