WASHINGTON — A proposal could prevent American diplomats from using phrases like “sexual and reproductive health” and “comprehensive sexuality education.”
Politico reported this week that conservative appointees to the U.S. State Department and other agencies are pushing the proposal. The publication said it was clear what direct policy changes there would be to banning those phrases, but it would complicate negotiations and make things much more complicated for NGOs receiving U.S. funding.
At the very least, abandoning the use of the word “sex” would be a symbolic move that aligns with other Trump administration efforts to reduce funding for and focus on women’s reproductive issues — especially anything related to abortion.
The proposal is contained in a memo that still needs Pompeo’s approval to take effect, according to two of the people who talked to POLITICO. Foreign Policy on Tuesday reported some details of the memo.
Instead of “sexual and reproductive health” and “comprehensive sexuality education,” U.S. officials would be instructed to use phrases like “reproduction and the related health services” in official communications, one of the people familiar with the issue said, while cautioning that could change.
Alternate terms proposed for use are expected to be accompanied by definitions as to what sort of programs or treatments they cover, another one of the people said.
The State Department did not reply to repeated requests for comment on the memo or whether Pompeo would sign it. The four sources who spoke to POLITICO were outside human rights and health advocates who are in touch with people inside the State Department.
This is just the latest in a series of moves by the administration against any programs and communities touching on sexuality.