WASHINGTON — Yesterday at the World Health Assembly, the administration further isolated the U.S. from other member nations with its refusal to accept references to “sexual and reproductive health” in the World Health Organization (WHO) resolution on the COVID-19 pandemic response. This move follows a letter sent yesterday by the USAID acting administrator to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, demanding the UN delete abortion and sexual and reproductive health as an essential service in guidance for the global COVID-19 response.
The administration announced last month it would suspend funding to the WHO, a threat Trump repeated in a letter to the WHO director-general, shared via Twitter Monday night.
Statement from Monica Kerrigan, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Global:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how interconnected the world is and how a threat to one is a threat to all. The World Health Organization member states came to the table yesterday to develop a critical response to the biggest global health crisis of our time. Yet, instead of working together with the global community, the U.S. government is once again exploiting the crisis to impose its extreme anti-reproductive health, anti-abortion ideology. Abortion is essential, reproductive health is essential, and Planned Parenthood will continue working to ensure that these services are accessible, no matter where you live.”
This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has pushed its anti-reproductive health agenda on the global stage. Over the past three years, the administration has tried to undercut global consensus on sexual and reproductive health and rights at forums like the Commission on the Status of Women and the UN Security Council and advanced harmful policies like the expanded global gag rule, which weaken global health systems and erode access to critical health services around the world.
The virus has placed a heavy burden on women as frontline workers and caregivers, and has increased rates of gender-based violence for women around the world. A study by the Guttmacher Institute projects that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a devastating impact on global sexual and reproductive health, including as many as 28,000 additional maternal deaths.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
For more than 45 years, Planned Parenthood Global has supported access to sexual and reproductive health care and advocated for reproductive rights around the world. In partnership with more than 100 organizations across 9 focus countries in Africa and Latin America, we advance the health and rights of young people, women and families, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved. Last year, our partners provided over 1.8 million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services. Our unique sustainability model sets us apart, as we empower partners to stand on their own. We help grassroots organizations develop solid reproductive health programs, identify other sources of funding, build their communications and advocacy skills, and develop strategic plans. Planned Parenthood Global is the international arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.