Internal memos reflect the growing influence of conservative Christians in the Trump administration.

by Robbie Gramer/Colum Lynch, Foreign PolicyOctober 2018

The State Department is directing American diplomats around the world to scale back U.S. support for a raft of overseas sexual and reproductive health programs that proponents see as vital to women’s health, but conservatives believe promote abortion and sexual activity among young people.

New State Department directives, outlined in internal memos obtained by Foreign Policy, show how the Trump administration is instructing U.S. diplomats at the United Nations to push back on U.N. resolutions on women’s issues, outlining so-called red lines on language related to sexual health and sexual harassment.

The memos underscore the growing influence under President Donald Trump of Christian social conservatives, who have scored a series of successes in recent weeks, including the White House decision to consider rolling back rights for transgender Americans in federal civil rights law. Much of the administration’s effort is focused on the U.N., where diplomats are discussing a raft of General Assembly resolutions on health, education, and social issues. In these discussions, U.S. diplomats have sought to strike references to the word “gender,” as the Guardian first reported on Oct. 25.

The administration’s positions have driven a wedge between the United States and its Western partners from Europe to Latin America, drawing it closer to more socially conservative countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia.

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