Hillary Clinton on “Reproductive Health” and the Cairo Agenda

Posted on | December 16, 2009 by Piero A. Tozzi, J.D. |

The United States State Department reports that US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will give a speech on December 21 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994. Among the other things, Mrs. Clinton’s speech next week will likely affirm the need for “universal access to reproductive health.”

It was at the Cairo conference that the US, under then-President Bill Clinton, pushed for recognition of abortion as a “human right.”

That effort was defeated, and the Cairo outcome document contains no such right, acknowledging instead that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning,” and stating that “Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process.”  Abortion is NOT included within the Cairo definition of reproductive health.

This is worth keeping in mind, for in testimony before the House Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year, Mrs. Clinton offered her own definition of reproductive health as including abortion: “We [the current US administration] happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health and reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal and rare.”



Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.


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