Is it a complete coincidence that the Trump administration created a brand new human rights commission that’s filled to the brim with anti-abortion zealots? Probably not, despite an anonymous White House official claiming the panel is actually the “most pro-woman commission in the world.”
The Daily Beast reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s new pet project—the Commission on Unalienable Rights—is a haven for anti-abortion scholars. The Commission itself already oozes right-wing propaganda: In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Pompeo described it as a global initiative to “ground our discussion of human rights in America’s founding principles” and “reorient international institutions specifically tasked to protect human rights.”
From the Wall Street Journal:
Its members will address basic questions: What are our fundamental freedoms? Why do we have them? Who or what grants these rights? How do we know if a claim of human rights is true? What happens when rights conflict? Should certain categories of rights be inextricably “linked” to other rights?
When those “members” include someone like F. Cartwright Weiland, an attorney who, according to The Daily Beast, “helped write Supreme Court amicus briefs supporting Texas’s restrictions on abortion providers and served on the Council For Life’s ‘Role of Rights’ education panel,” then that’s valid cause for concern.
But wait, there’s more! The 12-person commission is chaired by Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard professor who was once awarded a “Heros of the Pro-Life Movement” medal from Notre Dame. There’s also Jacqueline Rivers, another Harvard lecturer (guess what university Pompeo attended for undegrad) known for unpacking her anti-abortion rhetoric through a black theological framework. And there’s Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, president of Muslim liberal arts university Zaytuna College, who considers abortion “an assault on a sanctified life.”
This panel might look like the U.N., when it comes to promoting restrictive reproductive care, the group is far from diverse.
The Trump administration has been determined to undermine reproductive health on a global stage from its inception. Most recently, the U.S. threatened to veto a U.N. resolution designed to aid rape victims because they quibbled with the U.N.’s definition of “reproductive health.”
As Jezebel reported in April:
The U.S., though, has determined that “sexual and reproductive health” is actually just shorthand for “abortions,” and has taken a hard stance against supporting any effort that might allow women to obtain those services. Never mind that the U.N. itself has defined reproductive health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of reproductive disease or infirmity.” The U.S. has made it abundantly clear that it’s much more interested in moralizing than it is in actually helping women, even women who have survived unspeakable acts of violence.
The aforementioned anonymous White House source assured the Daily Beast that the commission won’t address issues like abortion, but rather “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But when the administration values the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for a three-week-old fetus above all else, this charge is more than a little hard to believe.