Explanation of Position on a Resolution on Strengthening National and International Response to the Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Girls (Egypt)

Jason Mack
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 13, 2020


The United States abstains on this resolution. We oppose the proliferation of multiple COVID-related resolutions. The COVID omnibus resolution makes multiple resolutions unnecessary, and we wish to discourage this trend.

Our overarching comment on the resolution is that we regret that the core group did not incorporate a stronger human rights focus within the text, despite the requests from many delegations, including my own. We cannot in a Third Committee text omit the promotion and protection of human rights of women and girls in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery, especially in light of the increased challenges and most notably, increased rates of domestic violence, that women and girls have unfortunately faced during the pandemic.

We regret that the U.S. amendments did not pass, and accordingly health related wording that is problematic for us remains in the resolution. The United States therefore disassociates from preambular paragraph 21 and operative paragraph 6.

The United States has notified the United Nations of our intention to withdraw from the World Health Organization, and we dissociate from PP 21. It is inappropriate to single out specific partners in the global response to address COVID-19.

On OP 6, “Sexual and reproductive health” and “health-care services” are controversial terms which detracts from the resolution’s recommendations to address female genital mutilation. These terms have accumulated connotations that suggest the promotion of abortion or a right to abortion that are unacceptable to our Administration.

The United States is committed to improving women’s health across their lifespan. However, we cannot accept references to “sexual and reproductive health, “sexual and reproductive health-care services,” “safe termination of pregnancy” or any similar language that would promote abortion or suggest inaccurately a right to abortion. As affirmed in the Geneva Consensus Declaration by countries representing every region of the globe, each nation has the sovereign right to implement related programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies, without external pressure or interference. Further, consistent with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and its report, we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, and there is no international right to abortion. We fully support the provision of quality health care to women and girls around the world without promoting abortion.

With regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, we addressed our concerns in a statement delivered earlier this afternoon.