UN / US SECRETARY OF HEALTH

23-Sep-2019 00:01:15
Speaking on behalf of 19 nations, US Secretary of Health Alex Azar said there is “no international right to an abortion” and called on UN Member States to concentrate of topics that “unite rather than divide on the critical issues surrounding access to health care.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / US SECRETARY OF HEALTH
TRT: 1:15
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 23 SEPTEMBER 2019, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

23 SEPTEMBER 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Azar among ambassadors and ministers at stakeout
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, United States:
“We respectfully call on Member States to join us in concentrating on topics that unite rather than divide on the critical issues surrounding access to health care. We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, in UN documents because they can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices like abortion in circumstances that do not enjoy international consensus, and which can be misinterpreted by UN agencies. Such terms do not adequately take into account the key role of the family in health and education, nor the sovereign right of nations to implement health policies according to their national context. There is no international right to an abortion, and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures.”
4. Wide shot, Azar among ambassadors and ministers at stakeout
STORYLINE
Speaking on behalf of 19 nations, US Secretary of Health Alex Azar said there is “no international right to an abortion” and called on UN Member States to concentrate of topics that “unite rather than divide on the critical issues surrounding access to health care.”

Azar spoke to the press today (23 Sep) before joining a high-level meeting on universal health coverage on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Azar read the statement on behalf of the US, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungry, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


The US Health Secretary said the 19 countries “do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, in UN documents because they can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices like abortion in circumstances that do not enjoy international consensus, and which can be misinterpreted by UN agencies.” He added, “Such terms do not adequately take into account the key role of the family in health and education, nor the sovereign right of nations to implement health policies according to their national context. There is no international right to an abortion, and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures.”

Azar said the countries only support sex education that appreciates the protective role of the family and does not condone harmful sexual risks for young people. The statement requested that the UN, including UN agencies, focus on concrete efforts that enjoy broad consensus among Member States.

The US Health Secretary said the countries support equal access to health care, including but not limited to reproductive concerns, maternal health, voluntary and informed family planning, HIV prevention, and the elimination of violence against women and girls. He said the countries also support programmes to improve the health, life, dignity, and wellbeing of women, men, children, and families.
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