By Austin Ruse
Editor’s note. This appeared at C-Fam and is reposted with permission.
WASHINGTON DC– A coalition of 197 groups from around the world have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thanking him for expected changes in the annual State Department report on human rights.
The letter thanks Tillerson “…for supporting a proper understanding of international human rights in the forthcoming State Department’s annual Human Rights Report. By rejecting attempts to include abortion and other contentious issues, which are not universally agreed-upon human rights, you are returning the United States to its leadership role in promoting the right to life and protecting the family.”
The letter “…welcomed news from spokeswoman Heather Nauert that the State Department will no longer attempt to dilute the seriousness of human rights and ‘will sharpen the focus of the report on abuses of internationally recognized human rights and the most egregious issues.’”
In recent years, under the Obama administration, the report became a grab-bag of issues that are not considered human rights but are considered important issues to the political left, most especially abortion.
The report is intended to shine a light on human rights abuses and concerns around the world. Traditionally understood, human rights are those found in agreed-upon human rights documents, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; rights to vote, assemble, freedom of religion, political self-determination, and others.
Since the political left decamped to the United Nations several decades ago, attempts have been made to reinterpret human rights documents. These efforts, to make abortion a human right and to include special protections based on sexual practices, have consistently failed at the UN. But this has not stopped leftwing governments from attempting to export them through reports like the one expected any day from the U.S. State Department.
In recent weeks, leftwing staff members at the U.S. State Department leaked the impending changes to the online publication Politico which dutifully published two stories, neither of which presented the views of the pro-life and pro-family human rights community. Pro-abortion groups also sent a group letter of complaint to Secretary Tillerson.
The letter from pro-life human rights groups points out that UN human rights bodies have pressured 154 countries 479 times to liberalize their abortion laws based on their own personal views of human rights treaties. They point out that the U.S. will send a strong signal that this is unacceptable, and that the U.S. adheres to a proper understanding of human rights.
A State Department spokesman told the Friday Fax the letter was issued by “an impressive group” and that “it helps our efforts to align the report with statutory intent.” The spokesman alluded to the tendency of executive branch officials to expand upon the intent of the Congress when such reports are mandated. It was never intended by Congress that the human rights report would, for instance, criticize the Catholic Church in some countries for opposing homosexual marriage.
Human rights advocates contend that attempts to expand human rights to include widely controversial topics such as abortion has the tendency to water down existing human rights. If everything is a human right, then nothing is a human right.