By Marie Smith, Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres released a policy brief COVID-19 and Human Rights: We are all in this together which includes the concern about what is described as “limited access to sexual and reproductive health and rights”. The brief includes recommending actions to “mitigate the impact of the crisis on women and girls, including on their access to sexual and reproductive health/rights”. The controversial term-sexual and reproductive health/rights-is widely used to promote access to abortion as both a so-called reproductive and sexual right.
Guidance from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights-COVID-19 and Women’s Human Rights: Guidance-also promotes abortion as a human right.
The guidance states that “sexual and reproductive health services should be seen as a life-saving priority and integral to the response”, including “safe abortion care”. It laments that “there are reports of States including abortion among ‘non-essential surgeries and medical procedures’ to be delayed during the COVID-19 response.”
Highlighted are actions by governments to make “sexual and reproductive health services available and accessible,” including the decision by the UK to “allow for women to take abortion pills at home”. The Telehealth Services launched by abortion provider Planned Parenthood of Greater New York is praised as a service “that allows patients to access a range of sexual and reproductive health services”.
The WHO: US Halts Funding, COVID-19, and Abortion
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been at the center of the coronavirus pandemic leading President Trump to announce the halting of U.S. funds to the U.N. organization “while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.” Trump’s action was praised by pro-life advocates who oppose the increased activism at the WHO in support of abortion and by organizations opposed to China’s coercive birth control policies while being denounced by pro-abortion activists.
The president of abortion provider, Ipas, called President Trump’s decision “a dangerous move that will hinder efforts to coordinate the global public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” She confirmed WHO’s pro-abortion agenda stating,
“WHO is a valuable resource for governments and health professionals around the world, and has been an important partner to Ipas in our efforts to prevent maternal mortality by expanding access to safe abortion and contraception.”
In recent days, WHO has been a critical voice for protecting women’s reproductive health and rights during the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19 clinical guidance issued by WHO states that “women’s choices and rights to sexual and reproductive health care should be respected irrespective of COVID-19 status, including access to contraception and safe abortion to the full extent of the law.”
Evidence of the WHO’s promotion of abortion was also demonstrated during a recent webinar-COVID-19: What Implications for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights?– hosted by the Sexual Reproductive Health Matters (SRHM) journal.
Dr. Antonella Lavalanet, a medical officer on the WHO’s “Maternal and Perinatal Health & Preventing Unsafe Abortion Team,” said during her presentation that abortion should be considered an “essential service” during the coronavirus crisis.
The WHO representative also said that even “where supplies of antibiotics are not available, abortion should not be denied” and that women should be encouraged to self-abort at home during the first trimester of pregnancy