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 U.S. Rejects U.N. Plan for Women
 The Associated Press, international
 October 14, 2004
 

United Nations —The United States has refused to join 85 heads of state and government in signing a statement that endorsed a 10-year-old U.N. plan to ensure every woman's right to education, healthcare and choice about having children.

The Bush administration said it withheld its signature because the statement included a reference to "sexual rights."

Kelly Ryan, deputy assistant secretary of State, wrote to backers of the plan that the United States was committed "to the empowerment of women and the need to promote women's fullest enjoyment of universal human rights."

"The United States is unable, however, to endorse the world leaders' statement," Ryan said, because it "includes the concept of 'sexual rights,' a term that has no agreed definition in the international community."

Ryan did not elaborate. At previous U.N. meetings, U.S. representatives have spoken out against abortion, gay rights and what they see as the promotion of promiscuity by distributing condoms to prevent AIDS.

The statement was signed by leaders of 85 nations, including those in the European Union, China, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan and more than a dozen African countries, as well as 22 former world leaders.

From The Associated Press, October 14, 2004.