UN human rights Commissioner blasts US abortion ruling

UNITED NATIONS:  Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has criticised the US Supreme Court's decision to reverse the landmark Roe V. Wade ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion, calling it a serious setback for women's human rights and gender equality.

Bachelet said in a statement late Friday night that "access to safe, legal, and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human rights law and is at the core of women's and girls' autonomy and ability to make their own decisions about their bodies and lives, free from discrimination, violence, and coercion."

To the detriment of their fundamental rights, she said, "This ruling robs such autonomy from millions of women in the US, particularly those with low means and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities."

Over the past 25 years, more than 50 nations with formerly harsh rules on abortion have liberalised their regulations, according to the UN, according to Xinhua news reports. The US is regretfully departing from this progressive trend, the UN rights chief said in reference to today's decision.

In a joint statement released on Friday, a group of UN human rights experts called the decision a stunning and perilous reversal of human rights that would endanger the lives and health of women.

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