Advocates for Youth Supports the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act
Today, on the eve of International Women’s Day, Advocates for Youth joins 92 other reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in endorsing the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act.
The Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act — introduced by Representatives Kathleen Clark, Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, Barbara Lee, and Lois Frankel in the House and Senators Bob Menendez, Richard Blumenthal, and Jeanne Shaheen in the Senate — requires the U.S. State Department to include reproductive rights in its annual human rights report after the State Department deleted all subsections without warning or justification in 2017.
“Reproductive rights are indeed human rights,” said Preston Mitchum, Advocates for Youth’s Senior Legal and International Policy Analyst. “The U.S. government should serve as an advocate for bodily autonomy and integrity, not act as an impediment of women and young people’s health and rights.”
As required by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the Secretary of State reports annually to Congress on the status of human rights in each country receiving U.S. foreign aid, as well as each United Nations member states. Removing women’s and reproductive rights language from the annual report in 2017 was a dangerous yet unsurprising departure in the U.S. efforts to protect the human rights of women and girls and young people.
The message sent was clear: the U.S. government would no longer be holding governments accountable for human rights abuses and violations. The Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act could change that.
Advocates for Youth applauds members of Congress for introducing the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act. For young people and women around the world, we hope it is not in vain. We therefore call on Congress to join 122 co-sponsors in the House and 26 in the Senate in making the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act a reality.