Various elements of the United Nations system, including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank, will partner with abortion groups to advance a “human right” to abortion. The U.N. made the announcement on September 29 to commemorate so-called International Safe Abortion Day, with the stated goal of addressing “unsafe abortion” in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership, headed by the WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research, will bring together U.N. entities with the world’s largest abortion providers, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Ipas, and Marie Stopes International, to promote “comprehensive abortion care,” including access to self-administered telemedicine abortion, as an essential service and a “human right.”
By collaborating on “mitigation strategies” to reduce disruption in abortion access, in addition to “procurement and funding” for abortion services, the goal of the partnership is for Big Abortion and the U.N. to make abortion available and accessible on demand everywhere. The announcement goes so far as to highlight not only young girls but also “those with varying gender identities” as people who should be able to receive “abortion care.”
Cooperation between the U.N. and the abortion industry is nothing new, but the coronavirus climate has paved the way for increasingly brazen and bizarre alliances. This is a new direction for UNICEF and the World Bank, for example, both of which traditionally have steered clear of overt abortion activism. Although it’s commonplace, it is essential to underscore that U.N. abortion promotion is fundamentally at odds with its institutional mandate. National governments, not the international bureaucracy, should chart the course for the U.N. system.
As long as pro-life governments exist — and there are many stalwart pro-life governments — it is inappropriate and illegitimate for the U.N. to unilaterally advance abortion on demand. In fact, the powerful pro-life voice of the United States alone renders the U.N.’s continual promotion of abortion promotion and this new partnership illicit.
As the U.S. recently articulated in a statement to the U.N.: “There is no international right to abortion, nor is there any duty on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion.” This has been a consistent and frequent stance of the U.S. government, one that has garnered widespread support from countries across the globe.
Even so, the U.N. Secretary General recently identified abortion as central to the U.N.’s COVID-19 response, and the organization’s high commissioner for human rights expressed her support for “safe abortion day.” Similarly, in the partnership announcement, Ian Askew, director of the WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research, states that “eliminating unsafe abortion is one of the key components of the WHO Global reproductive health strategy.”
Jargon aside, U.N. efforts to address “unsafe abortion” are a euphemism for attempting to increase access to abortion where the procedure is illegal. The announcement notes that 121 million pregnancies each year are “unintended” — an unsubstantiated statistic used to justify the need for “safe abortion care.” The statement adds that “postponing abortion care during COVID-19 may therefore lead to increased morbidity and mortality,” another data point with no verifiable backing. Seeking to dismantle the pro-life infrastructure of sovereign states is a gross breach of the international order, thinly disguised as an effort to protect women.
Most alarming, the announcement champions telemedicine abortions as the solution to the problem of unsafe abortion. Such a recommendation reveals a startling disregard for the health and safety of women. Noting that many women, especially in rural areas, cannot access health-care providers, the WHO contends that it is preferable for them to resort to self-administered abortion. This is egregious medical negligence that is sure to harm countless women all over the world.
As the global medical authority, the WHO is well aware that the complications from drug-induced abortion are serious and extensive. The abortion pill has resulted in 4,000 adverse reactions and 24 maternal deaths in the United States alone. One need only extrapolate to imagine the harrowing consequences in the developing world, where bad roads obstruct access to hospitals, and medical facilities lack blood for basic lifesaving interventions. How can women who already suffer from a lack of medical support be expected to survive the often numerous and severe complications from an at-home abortion?
The announcement closes with the eerie promise that telemedicine abortion could be a “long-term opportunity” used “far into the future.” Such a projection suggests that hastily implemented pandemic laws could usher in permanent and catastrophic legal changes. In the United Kingdom, for instance, where two women have died from recently legalized at-home abortions, the push has begun to make the pandemic exception a permanent reality.
Governments must actively oppose the legalization of harmful practices that injure women and take the life of unborn children. Pressure from the U.N. to legalize telemedicine abortions and other dangerous services must be exposed for what it is — faux authority disguising activism and an entrenched partnership with the abortion industry.