An official explained that ‘the term ‘sexual and reproductive health’ and its derivatives have become shorthand for abortion within the UN.’
By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
NEW YORK, October 30, 2020 (C-Fam) — The Acting Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, John Barsa, has sent a scathing letter to the UN Secretary General for allowing UN experts to promote abortion. He also told him to make “a course-correction for the greater good of the UN.”
“[W]e cannot stand by and watch the UN attempt to dictate a politicized agenda that gravely threatens the dignity of the human person and the human rights of the unborn, while simultaneously trampling on the sovereignty of pro-life countries,” Barsa’s letter reads.
This is the second letter Barsa has sent to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres of Portugal, complaining of UN abortion activism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first was sent in May.
According to Barsa, the UN Secretary General told him on June 1 that the UN “does not promote, much less impose, abortion on anyone, nor is it intended to do so.” Barsa published the Secretary General letter on the USAID website.
But even as Guterres was responding to Barsa, on May 22 a group of UN human rights officials and experts issued a letter to the United States government criticizing U.S. states that had not designated abortion as essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, among them Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
Barsa said this was an “affront to national sovereignty, as it criticizes the laws and policies of U.S. States while commending activist judicial rulings that expand access to abortion.”
Barsa also called out the UN Secretary General saying that the letter from the UN experts “completely contradicts the one I received from you.” He called attention to the fact that the UN experts used abortion and the term “sexual and reproductive health” interchangeably.
“The fundamental problem at hand is that, despite claims to the contrary, including yours, the term ‘sexual and reproductive health’ and its derivatives have become shorthand for abortion within the UN and other multilateral fora,” Barsa said.
He described the experts as giving a “clear message” that they believe abortion to be an international right and that “they view interfering in the national decision-making of Member States on this issue as part of their role.”
Barsa told Guterres this “sets an egregious precedent of anti-sovereignty, pro-abortion activism.”
A core principle of the UN Charter is the non-interference of the UN system in matters that are essentially domestic issues. Abortion has long-been held as such an issue. And the UN Secretary General told Barsa as much in his June 1 letter.
“I thank you for reiterating your commitment to this bedrock principle,” Barsa said, “However, elements within the UN System clearly refuse to abide by the Charter.”
“[W]e cannot stand by and watch the UN attempt to dictate a politicized agenda that gravely threatens the dignity of the human person and the human rights of the unborn, while simultaneously trampling on the sovereignty of pro-life countries,” Barsa concluded.
Published with permission from C-Fam.