The U.S. has asked the United Nations to remove references to sexual and reproductive health from the COVID-19 humanitarian response plan.
In a letter to U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, John Barsa the acting administrator for the U.S. agency for international development (USAid), called on the U.N. to "stay focused on life-saving interventions" and not include abortion as an essential service.
"As the UN and Member States around the world work to address the pandemic of COVID-19, I urge you, your staff, and the UN's funds, programs, and specialized and technical agencies to stay focused on life-saving interventions," Barsa wrote. "The delivery of essential healthcare is the first priority around the globe during this time.
"Therefore, the UN should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an 'essential service,'" he added. "Unfortunately, the Global HRP does just this, by cynically placing the provision of 'sexual and reproductive health services' on the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential healthcare, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation.
"Most egregious is that the Global HRP calls for the widespread distribution of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion supplies, and for the promotion of abortion in local country settings."
Some civil society groups expressed concern with the note.
"No matter what the U.S. government says, abortion is a fundamental human right and reproductive care is always essential, including during a pandemic," Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, said in a statement. "At a time when countless lives are at risk, the U.S. has yet again decided to put its efforts into restricting healthcare instead of expanding it."
"Sexual and reproductive health is and has always has been a critical part of any humanitarian response," added Michelle Nunn, the CEO of Care International. "Lives depend upon it."
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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