Statement on Agenda Item 26 (a), “Improvement of the Situation of Women and Girls in Rural Areas”

Courtney R. Nemroff
Acting U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2019


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We sincerely thank Mongolia for its resolution on “Improvement of the Situation of Women and Girls in Rural Areas,” and appreciate the Mongolian delegation’s diligent and stalwart efforts to achieve consensus during the negotiation process. The United States is pleased to join consensus on the resolution.

With regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Addis Ababa Action Agenda; the outcome documents of the Beijing Women’s Conference, its five-year reviews, and International Conference on Population and Development; health care services, and economic, social, and cultural rights, we refer you to our general statement made on November 7th.

To the extent that preambular paragraph 15 refers to school-related punishment, the United States reads it to refer to punishment that rises to the level of child abuse, in line with domestic law.

The United States is firmly committed to equal opportunity and equal access to education, recognizing that educational systems vary in their successes, challenges, and appropriate actions needed in that regard,

The United States dissociates from operative paragraph 2(j). The United States defends human dignity and supports access to high-quality health care for women and girls across the lifespan. We do not accept references to “sexual and reproductive health,” “sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” “safe termination of pregnancy,” or other language that suggests or explicitly states that access to legal abortion is necessarily included in the more general terms “health services” or “health care services” in particular contexts concerning women. The United States believes in legal protections for the unborn, and rejects any interpretation of international human rights (such as General Comment 36 on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) to require any State Party to provide safe, legal, and effective access to abortion. As President Trump has stated, “Americans will never tire of defending innocent life.” Each nation has the sovereign right to implement related programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies. There is no international right to abortion, nor is there any duty on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion. Further, consistent with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and their reports, we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our global health assistance.

Thank you.