State Department officials have been ordered to pare back passages in a soon-to-be-released annual report on global human rights that traditionally discuss women’s reproductive rights and discrimination, according to five former and current department officials.
The directive calls for stripping passages that describe societal views on family planning, including how much access women have to contraceptives and abortion.
…This sends a clear signal that women’s reproductive rights are not a priority for this administration, and that it’s not even a rights violation we must or should report on,” one serving State Department official said.
…A broader section that chronicles racial, ethnic and sexual discrimination has also been ordered pared down, the current and former officials said.
…Tillerson and Trump have both said human rights should not block other U.S. foreign policy priorities, especially when it to comes to key allies such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia. But the administration hasn’t held back on talking about human rights when speaking out against enemies like Iran and North Korea.
Last year, Tillerson broke with tradition and chose not to personally unveil his department’s human rights report — dismaying activists and lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who believe human rights should be a pillar of U.S. foreign policy.