WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), announced her co-sponsorship of the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act, legislation to require the U.S. State Department to include reproductive rights in United Nations member states and countries receiving U.S. foreign aid in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – including reports on the adoption of national policies to promote access to contraception, maternal health care, and family planning services – to help ensure accountability around abuses on these rights.
“Let’s be clear – women’s rights are human rights. We must be unequivocal in ensuring women are in charge of their own bodies,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m proud to help introduce this important legislation to restore reproductive rights to the State Department’s annual human rights report to protect the rights of women around the world. I will continue fighting in Congress to defend the health, freedom, and well-being of Nevadans and Americans across our nation.”
BACKGROUND: As required by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Trade Act of 1974, the Secretary of State reports annually to Congress on the status of human rights in each country receiving U.S. foreign aid, as well as in each United Nations member state.
The Trump administration’s harmful elimination in 2017 of reproductive rights from the Human Rights Reports initially prompted the introduction of the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act in the 116th Congress. In response to Congressional and civil society efforts, the Biden administration reinstated reporting in March of 2021.
This 117th Congress reintroduced Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act would require reporting on:
- Equitable access to abortion, contraception, quality maternal health care, and the rates and causes of maternal deaths.
- Disaggregated maternal health data to better understand disparities in pregnancy-related outcomes, especially for low-income and marginalized communities.
- Data on other forms of reproductive coercion, in addition to coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization.
Congress and the private sector rely on this report when considering appropriations requests and making advocacy, planning, and policy decisions. Additionally, the report is used by immigration judges and asylum officers to determine asylum status for women declaring human rights abuses at the U.S. border. By eliminating the reproductive health and rights from the report, women were left without this foundational evidence to support their asylum claim.