News Releases

Legislation would permanently require the U.S. State Department to include reproductive rights in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA), and a number of their colleagues in the Senate and House, in addition to leading reproductive health and human rights organizations and activists, in announcing the bicameral reintroduction of the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act. The legislation directs the State Department to report on the status of reproductive rights in United Nations member states and countries receiving U.S. foreign aid in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Human Rights Reports).

“When we look at countries’ adherence to human rights standards, women’s rights—including reproductive rights—must be a part of that,” said Senator Murray. “I’m glad that we finally have a President who understands this, but we need to make sure that regardless of who is in the White House, we re-affirm and codify our commitment that reproductive rights are human rights.”

As required by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Trade Act of 1974, the Secretary of State reports annually to Congress on the status of human rights in each country receiving U.S. foreign aid, as well as in each United Nations member state. Congress and the private sector rely upon them when considering appropriations requests and making advocacy, planning, and policy decisions.

The Trump administration’s harmful elimination of reproductive rights from the Human Rights Reports initially prompted the introduction of the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act in the 116th Congress. In response to Congressional and civil society efforts, the Biden administration reinstated reporting in March of 2021. Reintroduced this week, the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act will ensure that this reporting continues.

For the 117th Congress, the bill has been updated to reflect current human rights standards, and now requires reporting on:

  • Equitable access to abortion, contraception, quality maternal health care, and the rates and causes of maternal deaths.
  • Disaggregated maternal health data to better understand disparities in pregnancy-related outcomes, especially for low-income and marginalized communities.
  • Data on other forms of reproductive coercion, in addition to coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization.

Find a copy of the legislation HERE.