The U.S. State Department under President Joe Biden's leadership has restored clauses on global reproductive rights that were previously redacted under the pro-life Trump administration in its annual human rights report. The 2020 edition of the Congressionally-mandated Human Rights Report affirms the Biden administration's commitment to promoting legalized abortion, calling it "reproductive rights."
According to the Washington Post, an updated version of the 2020 Human Rights Report was released on Thursday and includes sections outlining how foreign countries deal with matters such as access to contraception and abortion, data on maternal mortality, and other issues surrounding reproductive health and family planning.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price explained that the changes made to the annual report, which was first released in March without specific reproductive rights sections, reflects the Biden administration's commitment to promote gender equality.
"We reaffirm our full commitment to promote and protect the sexual and reproductive health of all individuals, recognizing the essential and transformative role they play in gender equality and women and girls' empowerment around the world," Price explained to reporters.
In 2018, the Trump administration removed a section on reproductive rights, which officials said at the time would "avoid using a term they said was seen as loaded." Pro-life advocates denounce the term "reproductive rights" because it often referred to abortion. The human rights report's reproductive rights section was first introduced during the Obama administration, with the leadership of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Biden administration's Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in March that the department did not have time to make more changes after taking office in January, but promised a follow up with an expanded report that included reproductive rights, "because women's rights - including sexual and reproductive rights - are human rights," Blinken explained.
According to the Christian Headlines, theologian Albert Mohler, who serves as the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, argued that the new report that includes abortion rights is a "propagandist misuse of the category of human rights."
Mohler argued on his podcast called "The Briefing," "It is a morally grotesque corruption of the idea of human rights, but this is increasingly the notion of human rights that is being driven by a secularized society and it's unhinged from any kind of understanding of the origin of rights coming from outside human beings ourselves."
The landmark Supreme Court decision on the Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion across the U.S., is at risk for being overturned at the end of this year because the highest court is set to decide on the onstitutionality of a Mississippi state law that prohibits abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy in a case called Dobbs v. Jackson.
In a a virtual panel held by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School on Wednesday, legan and bioethics experts discussed what abortion would look like in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned, the Harvard Crimson reported.
Panelist and Florida State University College of Law professor Mary Ziegler shared that the "current national dialogue on abortion is reflective of a shift in the focus of the anti-abortion movement towards a discussion of fetal rights, as opposed to women's rights."