A top United Nations official on human rights said Tuesday that the recent escalation in attacks on reproductive rights in the U.S. must be categorized in the same way as other many attacks on basic rights—as part of an “extremist hate” campaign.
“We have not called it out in the same way we have other forms of extremist hate, but this is gender-based violence against women, no question,” Kate Gilmore, deputy high commissioner for human rights, told The Guardian.
Denying women the right to abortion care is tantamount to “torture,” Gilmore added.
“It’s a deprivation of a right to health,” she said, noting that a panel of nine U.N. human rights experts determined recently that prohibiting abortion amounts to a violation of fundamental rights.
The human rights deputy commissioner is speaking out amid the passage of increasingly extreme anti-abortion restrictions in the U.S. In recent weeks, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and several other states have passed laws banning the procedure after fetal cardiac activity can be detected—in many cases, before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. Louisiana and Alabama legislators refused to include exceptions for victims of rape or incest in their recent bans.
“It’s clear it’s torture,” Gilmore told The Guardian. “This is a crisis. It’s a crisis directed at women.”
Gilmore’s comments came days after she spoke at an event hosted by The Guardian and the Center for Reproductive Rights, where her demand that “We need to stop tolerating the intolerable” was praised by global reproductive rights advocates.