WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and John Kennedy (R-LA), and U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA), joined 27 of their congressional colleagues in urging the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN) to ensure the Trump Administration’s commitment to pro-life values is upheld in all international negotiations.
The members applauded President Trump’s executive action to protect life through enacting the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance plan (PLGHA), and called on Ambassador Nikki Haley’s team to “fight to keep sexual and reproductive health terms out of international agreements,” and instead replace these terms “with explicit health programming items, such as maternal health and HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention.”
In closing, the members pledged to Ambassador Haley their “support and assistance in promoting a U.S. foreign policy that protects the lives of the most vulnerable.”
Other members of Congress signing the letter include Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Mike Lee (R-UT), and U.S. Representatives Ann Wagner (R-MO), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jim Banks (R-IN), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Randy Weber (R-TX), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Brian Babin (R-TX), Robert Latta (R-OH), and Blake Farenthold (R-TX).
The full text of the members’ letter is below:
Dear Ambassador Haley,
It was with great pleasure that we welcomed President Trump’s executive action extending the Mexico City Policy to all global health assistance through the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) plan. This policy prohibits the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund overseas non-government organizations that perform abortions and advocate for the liberalization of abortion policy. We welcome the strong pro-life statements that have been made by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, consistent with the Mexico City Policy. Our foreign assistance should extend the best of what the United States has to offer by promoting programs that protect and enhance the lives of vulnerable populations.
As members of Congress who seek to promote human flourishing, we call on you and your team to strengthen the pro-life tenets established in the PLGHA plan by rejecting ambiguous language in international negotiations at the United Nations. The umbrella term “sexual and reproductive health” and derivative terms such as “reproductive rights” and “sexual and reproductive health services” codified in international policies have the potential to undermine the U.S. policy goal of protecting life. While these policy terms are not considered by the U.S. to include the support, endorsement, or promotion of abortion, they have been used to justify the direction of political and financial support to pro-abortion non-government organizations, which cannot receive U.S. funding under PLGHA.
To avoid future debate, our pro-life Administration should fight to keep sexual and reproductive health terms out of international agreements. These terms should be replaced with explicit health programming items, such as maternal health and HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. Moreover, the U.S. Mission to the U.N. must continue to specifically define the terms to exclude abortion. The International Conference on Population and Development holds that these terms do not constitute an international right to abortion under any circumstance, and the U.S. should continue to make robust reservations to that effect.
We ask the U.S. Mission to the U.N. to strategically engage in negotiations with the goal of positively influencing U.N. processes and mandates, which often guide U.S. foreign assistance programming and spending, and the foreign assistance of other nations. The U.S. must expend more energy on robust, pro-life participation in U.N. social policy debates. We are concerned that despite the strong positions of the U.S. and other countries that sexual and reproductive health terminology does not include promotion of abortion, inclusion of these terms could result in the eventual direction of international aid and political support toward groups that promote abortions. Consistently opposing the entrenchment of sexual and reproductive health policies will help the U.S. build credibility and political buy-in from other countries that are fighting against recognition of abortion as a right.
Please be assured of our highest esteem for you and your team. You can count on our support and assistance in promoting a U.S. foreign policy that protects the lives of the most vulnerable.