December 7, 2018 (C-Fam) – International life and family issues are parts of the foreign policy discussion. The UN, EU, the U.S., and governments around the world debate these issues every day. Such policies are implemented every day all around the world.
Yet, the problem for those who care first and foremost about these issues is they are seen as “women's issues” and therefore always take a back seat to what are seen as more critical issues like peace and war, borders, trade, and weapons.
Nikki Haley, a true blue pro-lifer, came to the UN as U.S. Ambassador. This was a mixed blessing for us. Like any U.S. Ambassador, her attention was focused elsewhere, in her case, Korea, Iran, Israel. Her pro-life bona fides were solid, so she did not need to spend a lot of time on these issues. And she allowed those hostile to these issues to negotiate on behalf of the U.S.
With an eye to the future, Ambassador Haley focused on raising her foreign policy credentials. While the administration has a policy to fight back against abortion, at least some on her staff and others in the State Department fought against the policy or slow-walked it, or traded it away.
Pro-lifers who work exclusively on domestic issues have praised Ambassador Haley without reservation. They have been content to accept only an expanded Mexico City Policy, forbidding U.S. money from supporting abortion overseas, and defunding the UN Population Fund. These are important issues to be sure, but for those who work on these issues full-time, they are not enough, not nearly enough.
What we are out to do is change UN norms away from supporting abortion in negotiated documents, and this is the work of every day and means the U.S. Ambassador must make it a priority. And we have a historic opportunity to make this happen. The U.S. has a policy that directs U.S. negotiators not to accept “reproductive health” in negotiated documents. Failing deletion, they are directed to insert a different term. Failing that, they are directed to qualify it so that abortion cannot be included. This is a policy C-Fam has worked on for years. And it is now U.S. policy.
It should be understood that this kind of aggressive pro-life policy never happened during the presidency of George W. Bush. They didn't even think of it. But the Trump team did.
It should be understood that even though the big boy things like guns and borders, peace and war, matter most to U.S. policymakers in the State Department, the Europeans and their allies in Latin America, and the UN bureaucracy see abortion as one of their top priorities. They will fight for this issue to the death.
So, this is the terrain. What we need in a new U.S. Ambassador is someone who is willing to carry out existing policy on “reproductive health.” This person need not be a true-blue pro-lifer. But this person absolutely must appoint specific staff who understand the importance of this issue and who are fearless in advancing it. The Ambassador must be willing to back this person the hilt in the inevitable firestorm that will follow.
Mexico City is not enough. Rolling back the abortion norm is everything.
Published with permission from C-Fam.