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What Trump Should Say at This Week's United Nations General Assembly

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Americans will “never tire of defending innocent life,” stated President Trump last September in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly. Leaving no room for ambiguity, he elaborated, “Global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life."


On Monday, the president will address the General Assembly again, this time virtually, kicking off a week of statements from the Heads of State of every country. This year, which marks the 75th anniversary of the U.N. There is even more to criticize as the U.N. has persisted in tying abortion to global COVID-19 relief packages. Here are a few key points President Trump should make on the sovereignty of nations in protecting innocent life.

First, building on last year’s speech, this year the president should come armed with facts and figures to demonstrate that the U.N. is coercively advancing a faux “human right” to abortion. Unfortunately, the past year was rife with evidence in this regard. Last week, the Secretary General identified “reproductive health services” (abortion) as the most important part of the U.N.’s COVID-19 response. His messaging confirms the troubling reality of the U.N.’s pandemic response plan, which puts governments in the position of being forced to accept abortion provisos in exchange for funding.

For example, pro-life country Ecuador was awarded $8 million from the U.N. to combat the virus, with an added caveat that it legalize abortion, in addition to being sent DIY abortion kits. The kits include a variety of abortion materials such as vacuum extractors, tools for dilation and curettage, cranioclasts for the crushing of fetal skulls, in addition to abortifacient medications. 


Yemen offers another tragic example. The country, which faces imminent famine, is suffering from a severe lack of international assistance. The U.N. has announced a funding shortfall of nearly 80 percent of the $2.4 billion designated for Yemen. This is expected to cut off 9 million people from medical care, and prevent more than a quarter million severely malnourished children from receiving assistance. Meanwhile, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is currently raising $100 million to reopen “reproductive health service” outfits there, which will no doubt go toward abortion (illegal in Yemen).

Second, the president should reaffirm that funding the World Health Organization (WHO) is irreconcilable with the pro-life priorities of the U.S. In addition to significant problems that the President already has cited, the WHO is a prime executor of the U.N.’s abortion agenda, particularly now through the COVID-19 response plan. It not only pressures countries to liberalize national laws on abortion, but also has aggressively championed self-managed abortion, a dangerous practice that constitutes severe medical negligence on the part of the Organization.

Third, the president should demand that the U.N. refrain from interfering in matters that belong to the domestic jurisdiction of the U.S. In May, a U.N. working group sent a letter asserting that the U.S. was impinging on a so-called “right to abortion” as a result of the pandemic. It singled out pro-life measures in Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee with the claim that these states “with a long history of restrictive practices against abortion, appear to be manipulating the [COVID-19] crisis to severely restrict women’s reproductive rights.” Delving into the pro-life policies of not only a sovereign country, but also of its individual states, is a gross violation of national sovereignty.


Fourth, the president should expand upon what it means for the U.S. to retain a position of “constructive engagement” with the U.N., as the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights has recommended. He should be clear that while the U.S. will spare American taxpayers the burden of supporting dysfunctional U.N. systems, it will not abandon the U.N. Even as we withdraw from the WHO, we will work for reform there. The same should apply to U.S. defunding of UNFPA, which should proceed in parallel with active U.S. monitoring of the Agency. The U.S. should retain a watchful eye over the international system, and stand up for the promotion of authentic human rights wherever possible. This is the kind of accountability that the U.N. needs, and that the U.S. is uniquely situated to provide.

Lastly, the president’s speech should be a call for renewed American unity, which is a prerequisite if the U.S. is to rally the support of other governments. This was evident last week when the U.S. brought to a vote a resolution on COVID-19 given its promotion of abortion, and only a handful of governments joined in support. In particular, the State Department should be tasked with making alliances with renewed fervor. After all, the majority of countries are pro-life, and should be working alongside the U.S. in this regard.

In reminding the world, and our country, of America’s firm pro-life commitment, the President would do well to reiterate his essential message from last year: “Like many nations here today, we in America believe that every child—born and unborn—is a sacred gift from God”. During its 75th anniversary year, now is the time to get the U.N. back on track to protect all human lives, including the most vulnerable.


Elyssa Koren is the director of United Nations advocacy in New York City for Alliance Defending Freedom International. Elyssa can be found on Twitter: @Elyssa_ADFIntl 


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