Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The Democratic-controlled House on Thursday passed a bill formally recognizing that reproductive rights are human rights—a step the Trump State Department has not taken. (Photo: Marc Nozell/flickr/cc)

Rebuking Trump State Dept, Democrats Unveil Proposals Asserting Reproductive Rights Equal Human Rights

"It's time to stop playing politics with women's lives."

Julia Conley

House Democrats introduced a bill Thursday rebuking the Trump administration's position that reproductive freedom should not be considered a fundamental human right.

The legislation condemns the State Department for omitting the status of reproductive rights from its annual report on international human rights, and would require the department to analyze women's access to healthcare including abortion care; contraception, and comprehensive sex education; maternal mortality; and other liberties regarding their control over their bodies.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) proposed the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act (H.R. 7228) in the House alongside 127 co-sponsors Thursday, while Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) urged passage in the Senate with 31 co-sponsors.

"The way that we are able to protect human rights internationally is through shining a light on the violations," Clark told Rewire.News. "I think what this administration is saying is that we are no longer interested in finding out what is happening with women's health and monitoring, assessing and protecting women across the globe."

Women's rights groups applauded the legislation while decrying the Trump administration for making it necessary for the House to assert that the fight for reproductive freedom must be taken seriously by the United States.

"By passing the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act, Congress would signal to the world that the U.S. commitment to women's human rights transcends politics and the regressive, sexist policies of the Trump administration." —Françoise Girard, IWHC

"Our reproductive rights are NOT a political bargaining chip," said NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the 88 organizations supporting the legislation, in a tweeted statement. "We need the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act to ensure that the Trump-Pence administration's State Department actually does its job and reports on ALL human rights around the world."

The release of the State Department's annual report on human rights violations around the world is expected next month. Last year, the Trump administration's report contained what Human Rights Watch called "critical gaps" in its coverage of women's rights.

The report left out information that had previously been addressed in the department's annual accounting of human rights, including maternal mortality, abortion rights, access to contraception, and the practice in some countries of banishing women and girls from their communities during menstruation.

"There's no greater right for women than to be in charge of their own bodies," Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said on social media. "By omitting reproductive rights from the State Department's annual human rights report, we turn a blind eye to the needs of women and girls everywhere." 

"The removal of reproductive rights from the Human Rights Reports is an egregious display of the administration's contempt for women," said Françoise Girard, president of the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC). "By passing the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act, Congress would signal to the world that the U.S. commitment to women's human rights transcends politics and the regressive, sexist policies of the Trump administration." 

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.

'Bloodbath': At Least 6 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Mass Shooting at Illinois July 4th Parade

"What freedom do we have if we fear being gunned down at a parade?" asked one progressive politician horrified by the reported carnage.

Brett Wilkins ·

On This July 4th, Abortion Rights Movement Says 'We're Not in the Mood for Fireworks'

"If we don’t have the ability to make decisions about if, when, and how to grow our families—we don't have freedom."

Brett Wilkins ·

Deadly Glacier Collapse in Italy 'Linked Directly to Climate Change'

At least seven people were killed when a glacier slid down a mountainside near a popular climbing route in the Alps on Sunday.

Julia Conley ·

'Organized Whitewash': US Claims Israeli Military's Murder of Journalist Not Intentional

"The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent," said the human rights group B'Tselem in response to findings of U.S. State Department.

Brett Wilkins ·

Hundreds March in Akron Enraged by Police Killing of Jayland Walker

"The police can do whatever they want," said one local resident through tears. "They can take our children's lives and think it's okay."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo