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US State Department removes ‘reproductive rights’ from human rights report

Acting U.S. Secretary of State John Sullivan speaks on the release of the 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Getty Images)

The US State Department has removed a section on “reproductive rights” from its annual world human rights report and replaced it with statistics on “coercion in population control”.

The 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which were published last week, feature information on coerced abortions, forced sterilisations and “other coercive population control measures”.

CNA reports that Michael Kozak of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor said the change was “not a diminishment of women’s rights” but rather was done to “stop using a term that has several different meanings that are not all the ones we intend”.

Pro-life groups have welcomed the changed. Lila Rose of Live Action said: “‘Reproductive rights’ has long been a euphemism for destroying human life in the womb.”

“A phrase that sounds like empowerment is a really only code for the subjugation of preborn children.”

Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, also praised the State Department’s decision.

“Likewise, it is making the right decision in recognizing the way abortion is used as a tool of coercion. The decision to do so further reflects the importance of having a pro-life administration such as this one,” she added.

In January, US President Donald Trump addressed the Washington March for Life via video link, saying that the country’s abortion laws were “wrong” and “have to change”.

“You love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God,” he said. “Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential. Because of you.”