The Trump administration on Monday has warned the United Nations to stop "promoting" abortion using the coronavirus pandemic to advance access to the medical practice.
John Barsa, acting administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), sent a letter Monday to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres accusing the organization of including sexual and reproductive health services within its Global Humanitarian Response Plan to COVID-19, urging all of its references and its derivatives be removed from the document, UPI reported.
Barsa emphasized in his letter that the U.N. "should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an 'essential service'. The Global Humanitarian Response Plan doesn't directly refer to abortion, it calls for the continued supply of essential health services including reproductive health services.
The administrator continued that the United States gave the United Nations more than $3.5 billion last year and has allocated $650 million supplemental funding to combat the pandemic, calling for the U.N.'s plan to "remain focused on addressing the most urgent, concrete needs that are arising out of the pandemic.", UPI noted.
"Therefore, the U.N. should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an 'essential service,'" Barsa said. "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."
"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 national policies on healthcare," Barsa said. "The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn."
In the past weeks, the United States has criticized WHO for mishandling the pandemic and aiding China in an alleged cover-up. President Trump halted U.S. funding for The WHO last month.