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U.S. Agency for International Development tells U.N. to stop treating abortion as “essential” humanitarian relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

by | Jun 12, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note.   This appeared in the June digital edition of National Right to Life News.  Please share the contents with your pro-life friends and family.

It’s not as if we needed another reminder of the nearly infinite difference it makes to have a pro-lifer residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but it can never hurt to remember all that the administration of pro-life Donald Trump has done and continues to do, for the cause of unborn babies.

It’s no secret that the UN is not exactly a hothouse of pro-life sentiment. It is also no secret that more than once, the Trump Administration has admonished various UN Agencies  and the UN itself to back off.  For example, in his address to the 74th UN General Assembly, President Trump has said the UN “has no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life.”

Put the two together, add the desire of pro-abortionists to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic,  and you get these opening sentences from a story written by Stefano Gennarini, J.D., posted Monday.

The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development told the UN Secretary General to stop treating abortion as “essential” humanitarian relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The letter is unprecedented in its direct criticism of the UN bureaucracy’s promotion of abortion as humanitarian aid.

The letter, sent by John Barsa, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, can be read in its entirety here.  

Barsa is unsparing in his criticisms which are as numerous as they are specific.

For example, Barsa begins by reminding Guterres that the U.S. is the “largest donor of global health and humanitarian assistance” and  that “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 immediately illustrated how the UN has already gone off course:

[T]he UN should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an “essential service.” Unfortunately, the Global HRP [the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan] does just this, by cynically placing the provision of “sexual and reproductive health services” on the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential health care, 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.

The way the UN all-too-often works is to strong-arm pro-life countries into compliance, which Barsa denounces in no uncertain terms. 

The UN

should not intimidate or coerce Member States that are committed to the right to life. To use the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification to pressure governments to change their laws is an affront to the autonomy of each society to determine its own national policies on health care. The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn. 

Near the end of his letter, Barsa again reminds Gutterres that 

it is essential that the UN’s response to the pandemic avoid creating controversy. Therefore, I ask that you remove references to “sexual and reproductive health,” and its derivatives from the Global HRP, and drop the provision of abortion as an essential component of the UN’s priorities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Member States are deeply divided over the use of the term “sexual and reproductive health” and its derivatives, and it is among the most polarizing issues raised in UN negotiations. The Global HRP, and the activities of UN agencies and bodies moving forward, should use clear language and take clear action to address the real needs of vulnerable people around the world without promoting abortion. Now is not the time to add unnecessary discord to the COVID-19 response.

Congratulations to Mr. Barza for again reminding us “that under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, the United States has made clear that we will ‘never tire of defending innocent life.’”

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