UN urged not to consider abortion an ‘essential service’ in COVID 19 response


TITUSVILLE, FL — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today praised John Barsa, acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, for making clear that abortion should not be considered an “essential service” as the United Nations responds to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Barsa said “the U.N. should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an ‘essential service. Unfortunately, the Global HRP (Global Humanitarian Response Plan) does just this, by cynically placing the provision of ‘sexual and reproductive health services’ on the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential health care, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation.

“Most egregious is that the Global HRP calls for the widespread distribution of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion supplies, and for the promotion of abortion in local country settings.

“Under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, the United States has made clear that we will ‘never tire of defending innocent life.’”

Barsa also said the U.N. should not coerce member states that are pro-life to change direction on abortion during the ongoing health crisis.

“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 own national policies on health care. The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn,” Barsa wrote.

The letter also took the Global HRP and other U.N. agencies to task for using the euphemism “sexual and reproductive health” in an effort to avoid using the word “abortion.”
U.N. agencies, he said, “should use clear language and take clear action to address the real needs of vulnerable people around the world without promoting abortion. Now is not the time to add unnecessary discord to the COVID-19 response.”

Father Pavone said the letter is more proof that elections matter.

“Democrat administrations use the United Nations to push an abortion agenda,” he noted. “But President Trump’s appointees have made it clear to the rest of the world that the United States under his administration is committed to protecting the unborn.”

Priests for Life is a registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at the United Nations as well as a recognized Civil Society Organization (CSO) at the Organization of American States.

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