UN experts warn of impact of abortion ban on US minorities

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GENEVA (AP) — Independent UN human rights experts raised concerns Tuesday about the adverse impact on the rights of racial and ethnic minorities of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down constitutional protections for abortion in USA.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination also called on the Biden administration and state governments to do more to strengthen those rights.

The committee, a group of independent experts working with the UN human rights office, said it was concerned about higher rates of maternal mortality and morbidity, among many concerns about the rights of Blacks, Latinos, indigenous peoples, foreign-born immigrants and others. in the U.S.

The calls came as part of a regular review of UN member states by the committee. The United States was among seven countries to be considered this summer. A large delegation of US officials, including Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, traveled to Geneva earlier this month for hearings that fueled the committee’s thinking on racial and ethnic minority rights in the US.

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“The committee was deeply concerned about the inequitable impact on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of racial and ethnic minorities, particularly low-income minorities,” committee member Pansy Tlakula told reporters.

“It recommended that the State party take further steps to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

The committee said it received hundreds of submissions and comments from advocacy groups across the United States on topics such as reproductive rights, police brutality, education, voting rights and reparations for slavery, an issue the panel addressed for first time in the middle of posters. that a push for such repairs may be gathering momentum.

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“It would have been impossible to have an honest and interactive dialogue with the United States without including the topic of restorative justice,” said committee chair Verene Shepherd. presentation of the committee’s report. “I fully believe that with the pressure in the United States now around the issue of restorative justice, the federal government will act.”

He also lamented the “backlash” against critical race theory, the idea that racism is systemic in American institutions that serve to perpetuate white dominance in society, and “the problem of the refusal to have a conversation about the slavery”. She said that problem was “impossible to ignore.”

Tlakula from South Africa, another of the committee’s 18 international members, said the United States had not set any timetable for the enactment of any reparations. But he did say the committee had asked the United States to report within a year on any measures taken to mitigate the impacts of abortion restrictions and gun violence on racial minorities.

In its report, the committee ran the gamut of concerns and assessments, including praising recent legislation and executive orders to improve minority rights, and calling for a “national action plan” to combat systemic racism and discrimination. and an effort to limit the impact of gun violence on such minorities.

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He urged consideration of new laws or a review of existing laws to help combat excessive use of force by law enforcement, calling on the US to take “all necessary steps,” including federal level, to ensure that everyone can vote. He expressed concern about an increase in new legislation with a “disproportionate impact” on minorities.

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While pointing to some steps by the White House to address high maternal mortality rates, he said: “The committee is concerned that systemic racism along with interrelated factors such as gender, race, ethnicity and immigration status have an impact deep in the ability of women and girls to access the full range of sexual and reproductive health services in the (US) without discrimination.”

The concerns arose in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in June to remove women’s constitutional protections for abortion that had been enshrined for nearly half a century in Roe v. Wade, who paved the way for a ban on abortion in some states.

The committee, referring to the recent court decision, called on the United States to take “all necessary steps” at both the state and federal levels “to address the profoundly disparate impact of (the decision) on women of racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous women and those with low incomes,” and provide safe and legal access to abortion under existing US commitments to human rights.

He called on the US to ensure that women who seek an abortion, or the health care providers who assist them, “are not subject to criminal sanctions.”

Jamil Dakwar, director of the human rights program at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the committee’s findings “should serve as another wake-up call for the United States to aggressively combat and eliminate systemic racism.”

“The UN provided a plan to address structural discrimination; now the Biden administration must act to build our national human rights infrastructure,” he said.

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The ACLU also praised the committee’s call to redress slavery, Dakwar added.

“The legacies of colonialism and slavery have a lingering real-world impact on today’s racial disparities and injustices and we must address them head-on,” he said.