Castro, Jacobs Call for Biden Administration to Affirm Global Commitment to Protecting Sexual and Reproductive Rights Post-Dobbs
Dear Mr. Visek:
We are deeply concerned by the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In the wake of this decision, we appreciate Secretary Blinken’s stated commitment to “helping provide access to reproductive health services and advancing reproductive rights around the world.” We write to you today because we believe the Dobbs decision is not only harmful to individuals in the United States who seek safe, legal access to abortions, but it also impacts the U.S. commitment to international human rights and its legal obligations, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which have all been ratified by the United States.
International human rights bodies have affirmed that access to abortion upholds key human rights, including the right to life, health, non-discrimination, information, and privacy. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) contains important and relevant protections for access to abortion. In 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees implementation of the ICCPR, made clear in General Comment 36 that the right to life, enshrined in Article 6 of the Covenant, includes the right to access safe and legal abortion without the imposition of restrictions which subject women and girls to physical or mental pain or suffering, discriminate against them, arbitrarily interfere with their privacy, or place them at risk of undertaking unsafe abortions. The Committee noted that, under Article 6, State parties may not introduce new barriers to abortion and should remove existing barriers that deny effective access by women and girls to safe and legal abortion.