U.S. Requests Removal Of Sexual, Reproductive Health Language From U.N. COVID-19 Response Plan; Global Health, Human Rights Experts Criticize Move

CNN: U.S. asks for abortion references to be removed from U.N. pandemic response plan
“The Trump administration is urging the United Nations secretary general to remove any references to reproductive health, including abortions, from the U.N.’s humanitarian response plan to the coronavirus pandemic to ‘avoid creating controversy.’ ‘The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn,’ acting Administrator of USAID John Barsa wrote in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday. … Barsa’s letter is receiving criticism from human rights groups. … U.N. health documents often refer to sexual and reproductive health and say it is central to the international agency’s broader goal of accelerating development, particularly efforts to improve mother and child mortality and health care. Global health experts say now is not the time to launch an attack on sexual and reproductive services…” (Atwood, 5/19).

The Hill: USAID urges U.N. to remove abortion access as part of global COVID-19 response
“…Barsa, in his letter, said that sexual and reproductive health services do not rise to the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential health care, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation and criticized the Global Health Response Plan for what it believes is its promotion of abortion services. ‘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 U.N.’s priorities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,’ Barsa wrote” (Kelly, 5/19).

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