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NEW YORK, January 2, 2020 (C-Fam) —

1. President Trump stands up for the rights of unborn children at the UN General Assembly.

The high point in the international campaign to protect human life came in September, at the opening of the 74th United Nations General Assembly when President Donald Trump delivered a fervent commitment to defend unborn children through American foreign policy. Some believe it was the most explicitly pro-life statement ever delivered at the UN by a head of state. The statement capped the year's intense work by Trump's political appointees, who faced stiff opposition from career staff members, the media, and hostile members of Congress, who bullied some of them into leaving government service this year.

2. The United States begins building pro-life coalition of states.

Preceding President Trump's statement were several supporting initiatives, including a U.S.-led coalition of twenty-one countries who delivered a detailed letter of commitment to promote international pro-life and pro-family policies and oppose abortion at the UN.

In August, the U.S. led the world's seven largest economies, the G7, in rejecting the recommendation of an advisory panel that abortion language be included among the group's final communiqués. The U.S. will take over the presidency of the G7 in 2020.

3. Nations expose and reject dangerous abortion-related language in UN documents.

The UN pro-life coalition celebrated as a victory the fact that so many nations recognized that “sexual and reproductive health” and “comprehensive sexuality education” are “ambiguous terms and expressions that cause confusion and have become associated with anti-family and pro-abortion policies.” This follows years of research by many in civil society including C-Fam, publisher of the Friday Fax, demonstrating the terms' harmful consequences for women's and children's health.

4. For the first time ever, the U.S. threatened to veto a UN Security Council resolution because of abortion.

The U.S. veto threat forced Germany to remove “sexual and reproductive health” from a UN Security Council resolution on women in crisis and conflict settings. Belgium, along with permanent members France and the U.K., backed the German view. In November, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Kelly Craft stood up to the Europeans again on the same resolution. The U.S.'s willingness to part ways with NATO allies over abortion is a significant event and may presage a showdown in Geneva next May when the U.S. faces a review by other nations on its human rights record. France, the U.K., and European nations have used that venue to accuse the U.S. of violating both human rights and the Geneva Conventions because U.S. law prohibits taxpayer money for abortion overseas. They argued that pregnancy due to sexual violence in conflict is a type of war wound that can be healed by abortion, as a gangrenous leg is treated by amputation. There is no mention of abortion in either body of law, and no international agreement backs the European view.

5. U.S. begins to close loopholes in the Mexico City Policy.

In Washington, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. is strengthening its stance against abortion, redoubling its efforts to stop “backdoor funding schemes and end-runs” around the pro-life Mexico City Policy by cutting funding to foreign organizations that sub-contract to other foreign pro-abortion groups. He said the U.S. would do more to enforce the Siljander Amendment to the foreign appropriations law, which bans U.S. funding from being used for abortion-related lobbying.

Published with permission from C-Fam.