Hillary Clinton Defends Reproductive Rights In Rio

Not that we needed any more proof that she is a mighty advocate for women and girls, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a stand for women’s reproductive rights during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.

The announcement came after the conference decided to delete any reference to ‘reproductive rights’ of women in the final declaration to be adopted by 192 countries. It was a victory for the so-called ‘pro-life’ conservative groups and church-based civil society groups. The Vatican or Holy See led the opposition to the inclusion of reference to reproductive rights and won in the end. The Holy See is a non-state permanent member of the United Nations and has long argued that ‘reproductive rights’ is a euphemism for abortion and used it to block women’s access to critical health care services.

Clinton told the audience she applauds the final document’s endorsement of women’s sexual and reproductive health generally as an essential element in sustainable development. But she said ensuring women’s ability to control when and whether to have children is essential to maintaining that development and stability. Clinton said the United States would continue to work to ensure reproductive rights are respected in international agreements and policy decisions. Several other policymakers have taken similar stances during the UN conference, objecting to the omission of specific language on reproductive rights in the final document.

There is no greater insurance of peace and sustainable development than guaranteeing the women and girls of this world have the ability to control their destinies by controlling when they have children. Secretary of State Clinton’s actions should be applauded and the remaining countries should find the fortitude to stand up to Rome and for the rights of women across the globe.

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Photo from IIP via flickr.


Therese Davey
Therese Davey4 years ago

The sad thing is that Maternal Healthcare is only mentioned indirectly in 1 paragraph of the Rio +20 document. Surely we should be dealing with the whole issue of women's healthcare and not just advocating for population control via family planning and abortion rights for women under the guise of sustainable development. Consider what we can do now, for the living woman and children of the world, we in the first world should be reducing our huge drain on the earth's resources, there is currently enough food for everyone we should be sharing it and the cheap medicines to cure the curable diseases we eliminated in the first world decades ago.

John B.
John B.4 years ago

Way to go Hillary. Would love to see a Clinton/Warren ticket in 2016. Thanks Jessica for the article.

Abbe A.
Azaima A.4 years ago


Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P.4 years ago


Alisha Walker
.4 years ago

I still can't believe we're still having this discussion in 2012.

Alan G.
Alan G.4 years ago

It is really strange to me that so many people seem very concerned with controlling the wombs of other people.

Brigitte S.
Brigitte S.4 years ago


Iona S.
Iona S.4 years ago

Do men have reproductive rights? If so, what are they?

Ernest R.
Ernest R.4 years ago

@ Carole L.. “No Steve, what she meant was indeed; "reproductive rights".” That is indeed what she meant. On an official trip to China she publically objected to China’s one child policy, saying it was a woman’s right to decide how many children she would have. Thankfully the Chinese government, realizing the absolute necessity of limiting population growth, ignored her complaint so now Chinese women desiring lots of children try to get to the US that doesn’t realize the problem. “Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State” is certainly better than having her as president. She might have kept her campaign promise to bomb Iran, an irresponsible and criminal act that could have started World War Three.

Lucie G.
Lucie G.4 years ago

It is a womans right to choose when and if she wants to have a child or not.