Trump\u0026#039;s State Department this week is facing backlash and calls to reverse course on its decision to omit from its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices the entire reproductive rights section and to weaken its reporting on gender-based violence—a decision critics said amounted to showing that women and girls\u0026#039; \u0022rights don\u0026#039;t matter\u0022 to the current administration.\u0026nbsp;\u0026nbsp;With their eyes on preventing the upcoming 2018 reports from containing the same \u0022highly problematic\u0022 omissions as the 2017 ones, nearly 100 civil society organizations (pdf) and 129 members of Congress (pdf) sent letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding the inclusion of information on denials of these fundamental human rights, including lack of access to contraception, unsafe abortion, and violence in accessing healthcare services.\u0022The U.S. cannot turn its back on the countless women around the world who are deprived of basic reproductive rights,\u0022 said Rep. Nita Lowey, (D-N.Y.) the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. \u0022And yet, that\u0026#039;s exactly what the State Department is doing. By omitting reproductive rights from its annual Human Rights Reports, the administration is further signaling that it does not recognize women\u0026#039;s rights as human rights. I urge the administration to reverse its decision and to maintain U.S. leadership on behalf of the world\u0026#039;s women.”\u0022Governments do not get to pick and choose whose rights will be respected,\u0022 added Center for Reproductive Rights president and CEO Nancy Northup. \u0022Access to reproductive healthcare has been recognized as a protected human right impacting women\u0026#039;s right to life, health, equality, non-discrimination, and freedom from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. The deletion of the reproductive rights section from the State Department\u0026#039;s annual Human Rights Reports is an unacceptable regression in the United States\u0026#039; commitment to women and girls\u0026#039; rights globally.\u0022The letter from the civil society groups, including Human Rights Watch, the International AIDS Society, and Refugees International, said the 2017 reported signaled \u0022a dangerous backslide in the United States\u0026#039; commitment to women\u0026#039;s rights abroad.\u0022 It added:The government\u0026#039;s failure to report on these rights violations conveys a callous disregard for their impact on women and girls. Furthermore, it calls into question the administration\u0026#039;s commitment to established human rights norms that recognize government obligations to end such violations.Given what is a clear \u0022benchmark\u0022 for compiling such reports, the letter from the lawmakers demands answers within a 30-day period to questions regarding \u0022the department\u0026#039;s reasoning and justification behind the decision\u0022 and \u0022which officials ultimately made the decision.\u0022 It also asks: \u0022Does the department plan to remove, or have officers been instructed to remove, reporting on women\u0026#039;s rights, the rights of LGBTI individuals, or any other previously included subsection from the 2018 Human Rights Reports or related submissions?\u0022Signatory Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), for her part, said she was \u0022appalled\u0022 by the shift of Trump\u0026#039;s State Department in its yearly assessment of global human rights, and said it \u0022sends a clear message: the Trump Administration does not value the health and rights of women and girls around the world.\u0022 She noted, \u0022Government and private sector agencies rely on this information to prevent human rights abuses and inform funding decisions on family planning and other programs.\u0022\u0022I urge Secretary Pompeo to stand up for women\u0026#039;s rights across the globe and reverse this counterproductive decision,\u0022 she added.