Explanation of Position at a Meeting of the UNFPA Executive Board

Stefanie Amadeo
U.S. Deputy Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
September 11, 2017


Thank you Mr. President. The United States thanks all members of the Executive Board and our other partners for the work to come to consensus on the decisions before us today.

In response to decision 7, the United States believes that women should have equal access to reproductive health care. We remain committed to the principles laid out in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the ICPD Program of Action. Over many years, an international consensus has made clear that these documents do not create new international rights, including any “right” to abortion. The U.S. fully supports the principle of voluntary choice regarding maternal and child health and family planning. We do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance. Let me reiterate that the United States is the largest donor of bilateral reproductive health and family planning assistance.

The United States joined consensus on this and the other decisions with the understanding that their provisions do not imply that states must become parties to instruments to which they are not a party, or implement obligations under such instruments without first becoming a party. Moreover, the United States understands that a decision’s reference to international rules and commitments does not imply that States have obligations under any such rules and commitments. The Executive Board’s decisions do not change the current state of conventional or customary international law.

The United States recognizes the 2030 Agenda as a global framework for sustainable development, but as our policies are currently under review, we cannot affirm all aspects of the 2030 Agenda. We emphasize that countries must work towards implementation in accordance with their own national circumstances and priorities. We also note that references to “policy space” in these decisions do not affect potential constraints under international law or agreements that apply to any such “policy space.”

We ask that this statement be made a part of the official record of these proceedings.

Thank you.