Anti-Choice Anger Over Clinton, Rice Expands To World Goals

Anti-choice publication LifeNews reports that with Obama’s appointments of Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State and Susan Rice to U.S. Ambassador to the UN, anti-choice leaders are fearful that the U.S. government will add abortion to the Millennium Development Goals (a set of eight goals agreed upon by the world’s governments) as an "international human right."

Lifenews reporter Steven Ertelt writes that Planned Parenthood is happy with Clinton in her new role because she, along with Rice, supports access to reproductive health care, including abortion, globally. Ertelt then notes that Clinton and Rice may play a role in adding abortion to the MDGs when, in fact, "there is no mention of reproductive health" in the Millennium Development Goals. 

Unfortunately for anti-choice advocates, Ertelt is wrong. 

Reproductive health is clearly and openly mentioned in the MDGs as a critical component of improving maternal health globally. The fifth of eight Millennium Development Goals is to improve maternal health. Two targets make up that goal: reduce by 3/4 the maternal mortality rate; and, according to the United Nations site about the MDG campaign, "achieve universal access to reproductive health care." This target clearly states, "an unmet need for family planning undermines achievement of several other goals." 

Not only do the MDGs directly address the importance of reproductive health in the target areas for the maternal mortality goal, but the latest report on the MDGs mentions unsafe abortion as a factor in maternal death. 

On a larger scale, all major global health organizations recognize the role safe abortion plays in saving women’s health and lives. The World Heath Organization makes the direct link between unsafe abortion and achievement of the fifth millennium development goal, in fact. 

As Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood notes in her post on this site, Senator Clinton has championed global women’s health throughout her career but has made the direct link between the health of a nation, poverty, women’s status around the world, and access to family planning in the past:

reproductive health and empowerment are critical to a nation’s
sustainability and growth … we now know that no nation can hope to
succeed in the global economy of the 21st century if half of its people
lack the opportunity and the right to make the most of their God-given
potential. No nation can move forward when its women and children are
trapped in endless cycles of poverty; when they have inadequate health
care, poor access to family planning, limited education." 

It is no secret that Clinton and Susan Rice both understand the connections to be made between global poverty, human rights and foreign policy. So, yes, one hopes that they will both put their broad knowledge to work in chipping away at the Millennium Development Goals – a set of goals that the global community understands is about the intersections of poverty, gender inequity, maternal & child mortality, access to health care and the ways in which tackling one of these goals helps to tackle the others.

It seems everyone is in agreement about this, except for the anti-choice community, unfortunately.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • moiv

    Thanks for an excellent post, Amie. 


     "Unfortunately for anti-choice advocates, Ertlet is wrong."


    Steve Ertelt is of course as wrong on this subject as he is on all the others, but at least your most faithful anti-choice troll is consistent.

    Even if you didn’t misspell his last name on purpose, "Ertlet" is, for once, just about right.



  • invalid-0

    I misspelled his name accidentally. In any case, it felt especially necessary to point out this egregious error on Ertelt’s part. Thanks for commenting!!!


    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    You miss the entire point of the article.

    As you know, because you use this term yourself, abortion advocates use “reproductive health” to refer to abortion and also to legitimate medical practices involving women’s health.

    The article to which you refer is about Clinton and Rice promoting abortion through the reproductive health terminology in the MDGs and other UN documents even though the General Assembly has never agreed to such a definition.

    Reproductive health in terms of referring to an international right to abortion is not a part of the MDGs.

    While your friends at Planned Parenthood have desperately tried to get reproductive health to be defined as abortion, they have been unsuccessful so far. That’s in part because the Bush administration knows better and has resisted, along with the majority of nations which are pro-life, those efforts.

    What you fail to mention is that, in the lead up to the five year review of the MDGs three years ago, pro-abortion advocates, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation and UNFPA, launched aggressive campaigns to get governments to agree to a new goal on “reproductive health.” Their efforts were defeated.

    The 2005 meeting of national leaders decided against issuing new MDGs and instead issued a political declaration that did endorse “reproductive health,” but it is considered a non-binding, aspirational document that has no force in international law.

    You were lucky enough to get your lap dog Barack Obama in the White House because of an election on other political issues (the economy, Iraq, etc).

    Unfortunately, now Americans will literally pay for the promotion and performance of abortions in other nations with their tax dollars (which 80%+ Americans oppose) and to force nations in places like Africa, South America, and elsewhere to allow abortions while ignoring the forced abortions taking place in China and other nations.

    Now Americans will be forced to fund the UNFPA, which looks theother way as tens of thousands of women and their families face forced abortions and sterilizations and other human rights abuses.

    Of course, this renders your “pro-choice” stance as disingenuous, but that’s nothing new.

  • wendy-banks

    Why do we have to put up with moronic trolls like this on this site? You have your own sites– go there!

  • invalid-0

    Why do we have to put up with pro-abortion activists who engage in ad hominem attacks when they can’t defend their position?

    In case you didn’t notice Wendy, the article was about me and an article I wrote. Can’t I have a chance to respond or does pro-choice mean “one-sided?” So much for open-mindedness.

  • invalid-0

    “You were lucky enough to get your lap dog Barack Obama in the White House because of an election on other political issues (the economy, Iraq, etc).”

    steve, steve
    Please continue to display the traits, ‘culture’ and mindless hostility which has earned conservative males their unpleasant and well deserved reputations and the republican party it’s current low national esteem.

    Indeed, with the exception of that victim of home schooled abstinence only sex education who took to lecturing all us women about how we urinate from our vaginas, you are my very favorite wing nut posting here. Your online bullying and is so entertaining and such a fine quotable example of Christian ‘love’, particularly when demonstrating to vulnerable women why ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ are as bad an idea as marrying conservative white males.

  • invalid-0

    your article clearly states that the Millennium Development Goals do not reference reproductive health:

    of the MDGs makes any mention of “reproductive health” and
    neither does the Millennium Declaration upon which they are based.

    Steven, it is most certainly not reproductive health advocates who use the phrase reproductive health as code for abortion. Safe abortion is a critical component of reproductive and sexual health care, to be sure. But if the antichoice movement means safe abortion, then you should write safe abortion. Reproductive health encompasses family planning, education, access to contraception, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, sexually transmitted infection care, pre and post natal health care, safe childbirth, and more. And the Millennium Development Goals, as I wrote above, address many of these issues in addition to poverty, hunger, and gender inequity because many of the world’s governments understand how these are all intertwined. A government cannot control women’s bodies and lives, bar access to the means to control fertility and the education to live healthy lives and have any hope of creating a healthy, thriving nation. 

    As for UNFPA, you have your facts completely wrong. And in fact the lying and deceipt the anti-choice movement has engaged in surrounding UNFPA is nothing short of shameful. UNFPA provides family planning services – not abortion – UNFPA has never and does not have anything to do with abortion. UNFPA also helps provide, globally, funds to ensure that pregnant women have access to safe childbirth and sustain healthy pregnancies.

    Though President Bush has been only too happy to freeze funding for UNFPA because of a spurious and unsubstantiated claim by an anti-choice organization that UNFPA is linked to coercive abortions in China, our own government found NO basis for these claims. But the withholding of millions of dollars for UNFPA work globally has resulted in (according to Johns Hopkins University reserachers): 1.9 million infant deaths, 135,000 maternal deaths, 60 million unintended pregnancies and (!) 25 million abortions. 

    Congress has allocated this money every year for the past eight years and every year Bush says no. 

    As Cristina Page writes,

    As economist Jeffrey Sachs,
    author of The End of Poverty and, according to Time magazine, one of
    the world’s one hundred most influential people, explained, "UNFPA’s
    work is absolutely vital." 

    Honestly, these sorts of campaigns waged on the part of anti-choicers does have one positive benefit: they reveal how startingly out of step the anti-choice movement is with most Americans. The virulent anti-family planning, anti-maternal health, anti-woman’s health platform embraced by the extremist organizations is being revealed little by little. 

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    Colleen, thanks for the laugh.

    You know, I really respect Amie because she keeps to the topic of discussion without devolving into personal attacks. We may disagree strenuously but she has the level of respect and maturity to not engage in the ole politics of personal destruction. I thought Obama’s victory was supposed to mean a new kind of politics and efforts to work together for common ground and mutual respect. Oh well.

    Only my wife can answer how wonderful or terrible it is to be married to me. While my imperfections are many, I think she’s pretty happy so far. Fortunately, I married up!

  • wendy-banks

    Amie, I couldn’t have said it better my self.

    Unfortunatly, men like Steven are in that group that think women are worthless for anything other than breeding and cooking! I, however, am quite fond of my 127 (above average) IQ. And I am quite able to deside how to run my own life and raise a child with out any male help at all. Sad how some men have to devalue women to build themselves up, isn’t it?

    Oh, and I did know a man like Stevie there– I dumped the loser after I had belly full of his patronizing crap.

    Goddess and God Bless you RH folks for standing your ground.

  • emma

    Actually, while ad hominem attacks aren’t the best debate strategy, they’re not necessarily untrue. In any case, Wendy’s comment was a personal attack, not an ad hominem, and those are also not necessarily untrue. It’s understandable, I think, to prefer not to spend time arguing with you, given that you’re only here to preach and propagandise.


    It’s really ignorant (or dishonest, or both) to argue that ‘reproductive health’ is pro-choice code for ‘yay abortion!!’. As Amie wrote,  reproductive health care involves a great deal more than just abortion – you’ve heard of contraception, pap smears and STI treatment/prevention, yes?


    I had to laugh at the ‘Bush knows better’ comment. That was just…sad. Starting two wars in two years is so life affirming.

  • invalid-0

    Wendy if it makes you sleep better at night to engage in sexist hatred and make assumptions about people you don’t know, then go for it. But this is pretty pathetic and hypocritical. Surely someone with such a high IQ can better represent her position than making such bigoted statements. Even Barack Obama doesn’t smear pro-life people like this. If you’re so concerned about misogny bother to not demonize everyone else the way you do here. I challenge Amie and everyone else on this blog to condemn these statements. Your refusal to do so will speak volumes.

  • invalid-0

    Emma, I’m not here to preach and propagandize. I was here to respond to Amie’s post on my article, or is defending your position not allowed anymore? I thought pro-choicers supported free speech? And I always love it when folks toss out the word propaganda. It’salways only empployed when someone disagrees with someone else’s position but is unwilling to actualy have a good faith debate and ust wants to summarily dismiss their opponent. Weak.

    It is neither ignorant nor dishonest to argue that reproductive health = abortion whenyour friends at Planned Parenthood are the ones trying to define such terms and reproductive health as meaning abortion in international documents. Tell that to them!

    In my opinion reproductive health SHOULD focus on contraception, paper smears, STI treatment and prevention, pregnancy health and assistance and NOT abortion. Those are all fine health procedures/treatments.

    And as far as Bush and the “two wars” is concerned… Afghanistan was about self-defense from terrorists, or do you support what happened on 9/11? And Iraq helped stop a massive genocide that AP reported involved Saddam Heussein killing 500,000+ of his own people and subjecting women to numerous human rights abuses. I thought pro-choicers opposed genocide and shoddy treatment of women…

  • sayna

    She wasn’t making sexist remarks. At least, not huge blanket-statements about men but imply an attack on a few men who, like yourself, seem to enjoy pushing around and exerting dominance over women.

    As Amie has explained to you, reproductive rights and health are not limited to the right to safe and legal abortion, but it is an important component. Women need and deserve the full range of reproductive healthcare options, not just the ones that you stamp your approval on. (Such as this mysterious new that you refer to as a “Paper Smear”.)

    Your behavior is bullying and your tone suggests that you’re here to pick fights rather than have a producitive conversation, and I think I can safely speak for most folks here at RHRC when I say that we wish people like that would just stop wasting our time. And no, being pro-choice does NOT mean that we will put up with your choice to try and take ours away.