Explanation of Position by the United States of America
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America, as delivered by Jason Mack
UN Human Rights Council – 35th Session
Geneva, June 22, 2017
The United States strongly supports the spirit of this resolution and joins other members of this Council in condemning all acts of violence against women and girls and in calling for the elimination of all forms of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence, including sex trafficking of women and girls. We greatly appreciate the extremely open and transparent process of negotiations led by Canada. However, we must dissociate from the consensus on operational paragraph 9(d). The United States believes that women should have equal access to reproductive health care. We remain committed to the commitments laid out in the Beijing Declaration and International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action. As has been made clear 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. The United States is the largest bilateral donor of reproductive health and family planning assistance.
The United States notes that the term “comprehensive sexuality education,” has been rejected by the UN General Assembly, and underscores the importance of any sex education being appropriate for the age of the recipients.
The United States regrets the resolution’s reference to individual factors that are alleged to put certain individuals at increased risk of becoming perpetrators of violence against women and girls, which appears to be based on selective studies; no single factor is to blame, and it is crucial that such violence be eliminated regardless of its drivers.
Other concerns regarding this resolution will be addressed in the United States’ statement which will be delivered at the end of Item 3.