United States rejects U.N. call for access to safe abortions

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday rejected a United Nations resolution on violence against women because it called for access to safe abortion for all women in countries where legal.

The administration of President Donald Trump said last month it was vastly expanding the scope of a policy blocking U.S. assistance to foreign groups that perform or provide information about abortions.

U.S. First Secretary to the U.N. in Geneva Jason Mack said, after a resolution from Canada on eliminating violence against women was adopted by consensus, that the U.S. “must dissociate from the consensus” specifically on access to safe abortions.

“We do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance,” he said in a statement read to the Council.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., gave formal notice this month that the Trump administration is reviewing its participation in the forum and called for reforms to eliminate what she called its “chronic anti-Israel bias”.

The Council said women and girls are at higher risk of sexual violence in wars and post-conflict situations and require access to health care, psychosocial support and legal aid.

It said all women should have access to “comprehensive sexual and health-care services” including modern contraception, prevention programs for adolescent pregnancy, and “safe abortion where such services are permitted by national law”.

Despite rejecting that call, the U.S. delegation said that the United States “strongly supports the spirit of this resolution and joins other members of this Council in condemning all acts of violence against women and girls”.

The United States is among the Council’s 47 member states, which are elected by the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Editing by Louise Ireland