Explanation of Position on a Resolution on Child, Early, and Forced Marriage (CEFM)

Jason Mack
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 16, 2020


We thank Canada and Zambia for their resolution on addressing child, early, and forced marriage.

We particularly appreciate the Co-Chairs’ commitment to this critical topic and their partnership in incorporating language to strengthen the UN’s ability to address this important issue. In particular, we appreciate the space this resolution enables for data collection efforts and look forward to further opportunities in two years to note other ways the UN system may strengthen ongoing child, early and forced marriage efforts.

We regret that the U.S. amendment(s) to PP23, OP14, OP17, OP18 and OP23f did not pass. The United States disassociates from PP23, OP14, OP17, OP18 and OP23f because of our concerns about wording that exceeds prior international consensus on issues related to reproductive health care.

The United States believes that women should have equal access to health care across her lifespan. We remain committed to the commitments laid out in the Beijing Declaration and ICPD Program of Action. Consistent with the Geneva Consensus Declaration, and reiterated clearly over many years, there was international consensus that these documents do not create new international rights, including any “right” to abortion. The United States 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. We also note that the United States is the largest bilateral donor of reproductive health and family planning assistance.

We addressed our concerns on the status of international instruments and UNGA resolutions in our Global Statement, which we delivered November 13, 2020.