Vice President Kamala Harris steered clear of abortion and LGBT rights in her UN debut, even though the hot-button topics were priorities for U.S diplomats in UN negotiations this week.
Harris delivered the U.S. national statement at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, an annual UN women’s conference. She avoided speaking about abortion and sexual rights issues that routinely come up at the commission, and which the U.S. has been actively promoting in current commission negotiations. Harris’ comments focused on linking democracy and women’s issues.
“The status of women is the status of Democracy,” Harris said in her pre-recorded address….
Behind the scenes, however, the U.S. was aggressively pushing the current administration’s pro-abortion agenda in the commission’s agreement, known as “agreed conclusions.” It is due to be adopted next week.
Delegates close to the negotiations told the Friday Fax that U.S. diplomats have joined the European Union in promoting the new and ambiguous phrase “sexual and reproductive health and rights” in UN policy. The phrase is used by UN agencies to promote abortion, LGBT rights and sexual autonomy for children.
U.S. diplomats also supported a commitment to ensure access to “safe abortion where such services are legal” proposed by the EU delegation in the agreement. The paragraph with this controversial language was kept out under the Trump administration.
When it comes to family issues, both the EU delegation and U.S. diplomats have openly asked for giving the status of family to same-sex relations through the phrase “various forms of family exist.” But they object to any language that would suggest the role of mothers and fathers in the family as something positive. They asked to replace any such language with the gender-neutral term “parents” instead.
U.S. diplomats also support the phrase “women and girls in all their diversity.” The phrase, which has been rejected in past years, is an attempt to expand the UN definition of gender to include transgender women, that is, biological men who identify as women.
The U.S. also objected to including any language about sovereign prerogatives or national policy space, arguing, as the U.S. has argued in the past, that any such mention would be a “caveat” on the entire agreement on women’s issues….
The above comes from a March 19 story in the Friday Fax published by C-Fam.