A State Department spokesperson announced late yesterday that, despite concerns over abortion-related language, the Bush Administration does plan to send a delegation to the United Nations General Assembly session on children this September. This contradicts reports given earlier yesterday saying that the Bush Administration planned not to attend the session at all because of concerns that the draft of the final document contained the phrase “reproductive health services,” language endorsed by the Clinton Administration.
State Department officials now say that a delegation will attend the session, intended to address important issues like sanitation, health care, and education for children around the world, but that delegation will likely not include Secretary of State Colin Powell. Anti-abortion Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson is a likelier candidate for attendance. Whoever attends, the Administration has made it clear that it views the phrase “reproductive health services” as an endorsement of abortion, and has effectively allied itself with conservative Muslim nations, the Vatican, and Poland in attempting to remove that phrase from the final document. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) pointed out in a recent letter to Powell that “reproductive health services” represents a broad range of essential health care, including education on HIV prevention and basic sex education. Commitment to reproductive health services had been included in U.N. platforms from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo and the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women.
For more information, see yesterday’s Daily Feminist News.