The last days of Trump’s outgoing administration at the United Nations have seen a deepening of America’s isolation on health and social issues, with only a handful of allies, including Russia, Belarus and Syria.
In a vote this week, the United States was completely alone in backing its own amendment to a seemingly uncontroversial resolution on efforts to treat the medical complications of childbirth. He called for the removal of references to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Fund.
No other nation agreed, with 153 voting against the amendment and 11 abstentions.
A UN diplomat said the spectacle of a Western ally and such a totally isolated superpower was “astonishing.”
“It is amazing that they have decided that they want to put their isolation on record, on full display, like this,” said the diplomat.
Discussions at the UN general assembly this week have focused on human rights and humanitarian and social issues, with the US mission intensifying its largely unsuccessful campaign to remove mention of reproductive health from documents. from the ONU. The Trump administration sees the phrase as synonymous with abortion.
The United States backed eight amendments to resolutions on issues such as violence against women and girls, trafficking in women and girls, female genital mutation, and early, child and forced marriages.
In addition to the move to remove a reference to the WHO, which Donald Trump has blamed for the coronavirus pandemic, the proposed amendment involved removing references to the provision of reproductive health services to women victims of violence and oppression.
On each occasion, the amendments were decisively rejected in the general assembly, and the United States had a very small group of four to 14 supporters. Its only consistent allies were Russia, Belarus, Syria, Qatar, and the Pacific island states of Nauru and Palau.
In a resolution on providing health care to women and girls during the pandemic, the US wanted to change the phrase “designating protection and health services as essential services for all women and girls, especially those who are most vulnerable to the violence and stigma ”. The US mission demanded the removal of the words “services as essential services.”
“We have seen the US focus tighten on these issues over the last four years, but I think this year was a unique challenge as they clearly decided they were going to set foot in the language of health services. sexual and reproductive, in all types of relevant human rights resolution, ”said a UN diplomat.
After not changing the wording of the resolutions in the negotiations before they were voted on, the United States took the additional step of tableting amendments from the full assembly, although they were doomed to fail.
“It is an aggressive measure that Russia normally uses, but this year the United States decided to do it as well,” the diplomat said.
US Permanent Representative Kelly Craft said the US opposed the drafting of UN resolutions designed to “promote the global abortion industry.”
“America couldn’t be clearer,” Craft said in a tweet. “There is no international right to abortion. Abortion is not healthcare. Abortion is not safe under any circumstances ”.
Explaining a vote on a Franco-Dutch resolution on sexual violence that mentioned reproductive health, the US delegate. Jennifer Barber said: “It is particularly hypocritical for a resolution on violence against women to promote access to something that results in the loss of millions of girls every year.”
Craft and Barber are from Kentucky and were endorsed for their position by powerful Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, despite having little to no international experience. Barber is a Kentucky tax law specialist.
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