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Family Planning

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which occasions (a) the UK has voted against and the US has voted for and (b) the UK has voted for and the US has voted against the adoption of measures relating to abortion and family planning related issues by the United Nations since 1997. (77135)

Abortion and family planning related issues crop up explicitly and implicitly in a wide range of UN bodies e.g. the General Assembly’s Third and Second Committees, the Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund Executive Board, the World Health Assembly, General Assembly special sessions on e.g. HIV/AIDS and on Children.

Within those bodies, abortion and family planning related issues arise in a number of resolutions, often unexpected ones.

Generally speaking, most resolutions on family planning related issues in the UN are passed without a vote.

Few UN resolutions explicitly mention “abortion”. Much of the debate in New York has centred on the phrase “sexual and reproductive health services”. The US often makes an explanation of position after the adoption of such resolutions, to the effect that they do not recognise abortion as a method of family planning or support abortion in their reproductive health assistance.

Given the aforementioned factors, specifying those occasions on which there have been votes, and which way the US and UK have voted, would incur disproportionate costs.