US Withdraws Amendment to Global Women’s Rights Agreement

In a victory for women, the United States today withdrew a controversial amendment to a United Nations declaration reaffirming the UN Platform for Action on women’s rights. The amendment would have specified that in reaffirming the Platform for Action, no “new international human rights were created,” including the “right to abortion.” The US delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which is holding the review of the Platform for Action ten years after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, withdrew the abortion provision of the amendment on Wednesday and the entire amendment today.

The United States received fierce opposition to its amendment both from the 130 country delegations and the more than 170 women’s and human rights groups attending the meeting in New York. US Ambassador to the CSW, Ellen Sauerbrey, said, “The United States is pleased that countries agree with us that the Platform for Action does not create any new rights,” according to Ms. magazine. “They are declaring victory and going home, as in Vietnam,” said Charlotte Bunch, executive director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. “The reality is that they heard loud and clear the voices of 6,000 women here saying ÔNo,’ echoing millions of other women worldwide.”

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