Abortion battle at UN continues as assembly readies to negotiate new development agenda

NEW YORK — Activists and governments that promote abortion and sexual rights see a new global scheme on development as an opportunity to change national policies.

Discussions are ongoing at UN headquarters after member states reached a partial agreement in December on a new agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Negotiations begin next month on the substance and format, but an agreement on how the negotiations will occur still remains elusive.

Abortion groups have failed to gain ground on new norms in the draft development agenda. Like previous UN agreements, the 17 goals and 169 targets that UN member states adopted last year, called the Sustainable Development Goals, do not recognize a right to abortion.

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