WHO Director Opposes Pro-Life Laws Protecting Babies From Abortions

International   |   Marie Smith   |   May 1, 2023   |   3:04PM   |   Washington, DC

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO)—the UN agency that oversees international public health— recently doubled down on his and WHO’s support for abortion. During a press conference shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court extended temporary access to the abortion drug mifepristone, he expressed opposition to the actions by courts and elected representatives to protect unborn children from abortion.

Tedros, speaking for WHO, completely ignored the sovereign right of countries to decide their own policy on abortion stating, “WHO is concerned that the right of women to access safe abortion services, including through use of medical abortion medicines, are being limited by legislators and or courts. To be clear on WHO’s position, women should always have the right to choose when it comes to their bodies and their health.”

Tedros also opened the first Civil Society Dialogue on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) hosted by WHO’s IBP Network in partnership with IPPF. The session was to discuss how “WHO and CSOs can collaborate to advance SRHR priorities around the world.”

One of the topics was ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including abortion, is included as part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and primary health care (PHC) at community levels. It was acknowledged that “SRHR is still a sensitive topic in many communities so ensuring it is seen as part of PHC and UHC as well as engaging multiple stakeholders like religious leaders, women’s groups, and feminist movements is critical.”

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The need for activism to bring change to abortion laws was also discussed. Susana Chavez, Executive Director PromSex Peru described how WHO’s ‘scientific authority’ was instrumental in Peru “where years of activism along with the WHO Safe Abortion Guidelines helped position safer SRHR services, including access to safe abortion services.” She said, “We can’t wait for change to come from governments alone. We believe WHO can open up and create spaces for dialogue with Ministers and decision makers.”

The event gathered over 600 participants from civil society organizations (CSOs) from 105 countries who proposed additional ways for WHO to engage with non-governmental organizations working in SRHR.

Tedros affirmed the importance of civil society organizations saying, “We look to CSOs to help hold WHO’s global, regional, and country offices accountable to deliver on SRH for everyone everywhere.” He recognized that “there are political sensitives around some SRHR topics with certain member states” but emphasized that “WHO will continue to push forward.”

LifeNews.com Note:  Marie Smith is the director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.