Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing serial existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Despite statements by USAID gender equality adviser Bethany Kozma at a UN meeting on women's rights, there is brought support in the US for por-choice policies. (Photo: Anne Ruthmann/Flickr/cc)

At UN Commission on Women Rights, Trump Appointee Pushes Reproductive Policies Worse Than Saudi Arabia's

USAID gender equality adviser Bethany Kozma told UN diplomats the US is a "pro-life country," despite broad support for abortion access

Julia Conley

Reproductive rights advocates on Friday denounced reports of an extremist Trump appointee pushing anti-choice policies at the United Nations' annual conference on women's rights.

"Someone who doesn't respect American law and who opposes the principles of gender equality should not be empowered to negotiate on behalf of the U.S. government," Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, told the Independent, which first reported on statements made by Bethany Kozma, a USAID official at the Commission on the Status of Women on Thursday. "The U.S. government must prevent this wildcard from subverting American law in the negotiations."

Kozma, senior adviser in USAID's Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, told other national delegations at the conference that the U.S. is "a pro-life country," and pushed for the elimination of the term "modern contraceptives" in the meeting's outcome document in order to promote abstinence-only education policies.

One U.N. diplomat called Kozma's stated positions "shocking" and demonstrating a "weaker" policy on reproductive rights than that of Saudi Arabia.

While its record on women's rights has been condemned, contraceptive use is widely accepted in Saudi Arabia and is supported by the government, with nearly 75 percent of women using birth control in one study by the Center for Population Studies at King Saud University.

In the U.S., while states have taken steps to reduce access to abortion care in recent years and members of the Trump administration have expressed extreme anti-choice views, the population is largely in favor of abortion access. A Pew Research Center poll found last year that 57 percent of Americans support abortion rights in most or all cases.

A YouGov poll taken in 2015 found that only 15 percent of Americans believe sex education should include information only on abstinence, while 66 percent said student should be taught about a wide variety of birth control and safety methods. 

"While previous Republican administrations took anti-choice and anti-abortion positions, they were still generally in line with accepted frameworks that recognised the importance and centrality of sexual and reproductive rights," Akila Radhakrishnan, acting president of the Global Justice Center, told the Independent.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett ·


Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon's Alleged Misconduct

A union leader said the decision confirmed that "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace."

Jessica Corbett ·


'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

"It's time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'That's for Them to Decide': UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won't Be 'Helpful' to Global Poor

One U.K. lawmaker asked when the government would "start putting the need to end this pandemic in front of the financial interests of Big Pharma?"

Andrea Germanos ·


Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

"We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed," said Greenpeace.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo