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The Trump Administration’s Assault on Assault Survivors

American anti-abortion zealots have been working hard in recent years to rewrite international human-rights law according to their hardline beliefs, and with support from the Trump administration, they are having increasing success. This trend threatens to upend hard-won agreement on definitions of human rights.

NEW YORK – The United Nations Security Council has just adopted a resolution aimed at ending the use of sexual violence as a weapon during war. This is a laudable goal, which the United States has long supported. But the resolution will do little to achieve it, and it is America’s fault.

Beyond discouraging the use of sexual violence in conflict (including by holding perpetrators to account), Resolution 2467 was supposed to ensure that survivors of such violence receive the support they need. The draft measure included a provision to ensure access to “sexual and reproductive health care” for victims.

For US President Donald Trump’s administration, this was unacceptable; after all, such a provision could include abortion services. So the US threatened to veto the resolution unless the language was removed. America’s allies were furious, but Trump won the day. The resolution – which passed 13-0, with two abstentions – fails to guarantee rape survivors access to critical health-care interventions such as emergency contraception, HIV prevention, and safe termination of pregnancy.