Choice cause for great concern for pro-lifers
By Scott Fischbach, Executive Director, MCCL GO
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The 70th annual World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO), elected Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia to be its new director general on May 23. Selected on the third ballot, he will replace retiring WHO Director General Margaret Chan.
Dr. Tedros, as he likes to be referred to, ran a two-year global campaign for the position complete with paid public relations consultants, a strong social media presence, and the iron-clad support of the African Union nations. Although the balloting for WHO Director General was secretive, most nations made their support of one of the three candidates in the race well known. Each member nation may cast one vote in the election, and Dr. Tedros had a wide lead over his two competitors. Dr. Tedros won the election outright on the third ballot.
The election of Dr. Tedros is cause for great concern for pro-lifers. As the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues commented, “In a letter signed by 122 pro abortion NGOs including IPPF, Marie Stopes International, Ipas and ‘Catholics’ for Choice, Tedros–known to support the sexual and reproductive health agenda– is ‘warmly congratulated’ as the groups urge him as incoming WHO Director General ‘to fully support, pursue, and defend a comprehensive approach to women’s health, accounting for the full spectrum of women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health issues, needs, and rights.’”
Dr. Tedros has a long personal history of supporting and legalizing abortion in his own country of Ethiopia. Other reasons to be concerned include his advocacy of a “rights based” approach to health care and his determination to implement United Nations development goals which call for sexual and “reproductive health and rights,” code words for abortion.
While Minister of Health in Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros served as the “patron” of an International Planned Parenthood Federation conference which touted an entire agenda of sexual and reproductive rights starting with legalized abortion. The conference, held in Addis Ababa in 2010, was led by various pro-abortion groups including the Center for Reproductive Rights.
In response to a question from Women Deliver, an abortion advocacy network working within the UN, concerning the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights, Dr. Tedros responded, “WHO must work alongside governments and regional organizations — in close collaboration with civil society, private sector, other UN agencies, donors and other key stakeholders — to drive the global sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda.”
Dr. Tedros will take over WHO on July 1 and serve a five-year term.