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WASHINGTON — Yesterday, on Wednesday, March 11, the U.S. State Department released the 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, significantly scaling back mentions of reproductive health and rights. This is the third time the Trump-Pence administration has narrowed the definition of human rights to exclude reproductive health violations in its annual report.

Statement from Monica Kerrigan,  Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Global: 

Reproductive rights are human rights — they are universal and undeniable. Full stop. The annual human rights report by the U.S. State Department is a vital accountability tool for human rights defenders around the world. By erasing reproductive rights from the report, the Trump-Pence administration is once again sending the dangerous message that reproductive rights don’t matter and turning a blind eye to human rights violations experienced by women and girls around the world. Planned Parenthood believes all people have the right to make decisions about their own bodies and their own futures. We will continue to work with allies on and off the Hill to hold the State Department accountable for attempts to undermine and erase human rights.

Last year, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA-5) and Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) were joined by Reps. Lowey (D-NY-17), Engel (D-NY-16), Lee (D-CA-13), and Frankel (D-FL-21) and Sens. Shaheen (D-NH) and Blumenthal (D-CT) to introduce the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act. The bill requires the State Department to include reproductive rights in its annual human rights reports. The bill has strong bicameral support with 144 cosponsors in the House and 32 in the Senate.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

For more than 45 years, Planned Parenthood Global has supported access to sexual and reproductive health care and advocated for reproductive rights around the world. In partnership with more than 100 organizations across 9 focus countries in Africa and Latin America, we advance the health and rights of young people, women and families, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved. Last year, our partners provided over 1.8 million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services. Our unique sustainability model sets us apart, as we empower partners to stand on their own. We help grassroots organizations develop solid reproductive health programs, identify other sources of funding, build their communications and advocacy skills, and develop strategic plans. Planned Parenthood Global is the international arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.