US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asked world leaders at the United Nations to strike “reproductive health and rights” language from official documents about global health at a high-level meeting on universal health coverage during the U.N. General Assembly in New York City on Monday, reports CNN.
Azar called on the U.N. to oppose what he called “ambiguous terms” pertaining to sexual health.
“We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights in U.N. documents, because they can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices, like abortion, in circumstances that do not enjoy international consensus and which can be misinterpreted by U.N. agencies,” Azar said.
“Such terms do not adequately take into account the key role of the family in health and education, nor the sovereign right of nations to implement health policies according to their national context. There is no international right to an abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures,” he added.
Azar added that he and representatives of other countries only supported sex education that “does not condone harmful sexual risks for young people” without offering specifics.
The Hill notes:
Azar made his remarks on behalf of the U.S. and several other nations whose officials were present, including Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Saudi Arabia.
Abortion is banned in several of the represented nations, such as Iraq, and only permitted to save the life of the mother or preserve her physical health in others, such as Saudi Arabia, according to the Guttmacher Institute.