Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Photo: C-Fam

World Health Organization promotes inclusion of pro-abortion group; conservative countries contest and stop measure

The same delegate accused the United States of politicizing the WHO, alluding to the fact that if Donald Trump is elected to a second term the U.S. “position reflected in this room would change.”

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Stefano Gennarini

(ZENIT News – Center for Family and Human Rights / Geneve, 06.04.2024).- Delegates clashed with the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on whether to give official status within the international health agency to the radical abortion and sexual rights lobby group, Center for Reproductive Rights.

Tedros implored thirty-four countries in the Executive Board of the World Health Organization to approve the application for official status of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR). He made an unusual intervention that mixed personal stories with claims that abortion is necessary to reduce maternal deaths, one of the principal claims of CRR. When it became clear that over one dozen countries would vote against CRR’s application, Tedros begged them to approve the application conditionally for only a year.

A delegate from Egypt specifically called out the Director-General’s intervention as misleading. Tedros suggested that CRR’s advocacy for abortion is in the mainstream, promoting access to abortion in the “hard cases” of incest, rape, and when the mother’s life is threatened. The Egyptian delegate said CRR goes far beyond that.

“We are here not speaking about life saving interventions on pregnant women. Accepted and allowed within most member states,” he said, but “abortion-on-demand” and transgender identity change based on “subjective self-determination.”

The same delegate accused the United States of politicizing the WHO, alluding to the fact that if Donald Trump is elected to a second term the U.S. “position reflected in this room would change.”

Tedros denied that he was taking sides with pro-abortion countries and said his conclusions were based on “science and evidence.”

“If the abortion issue is worrying you, this organization (CRR) will not sway us or force us to do something we should not,” Tedros promised delegates. “We will safeguard from anything you are worried about. We will be honest with you. They will not tamper with anything that you don’t like,” he pledged.

Progressive Western countries called on delegates to approve the CRR application. The U.S. delegate called on delegations to “trust the World Health Organization as a technical body.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global law firm and lobby group dedicated to promoting abortion rights and sexual rights. They seek to overturn abortion laws, including parental consent provisions, and conscience protections in national courts and through UN mechanisms. In recent years they have become leading advocates of gender “transition” healthcare, including for minors. They have been accused for many years of distracting from real solutions to maternal health like emergency obstetric care, skilled birth attendants, access to medical facilities, education, nutrition and sanitation. They propose legal changes to abortion instead, despite no evidence that changes to abortion laws improve maternal health. CRR has the backing of Melinda Gates, who pledged to support the group in recent weeks.

Delegates from traditional countries said they did not want to give CRR a special status within international health agency. The entire African Group of states as well as Gulf States and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation said CRR promotes policies against their laws, culture, and religion and would harm the credibility of the organization.

According to the WHO rules for admitting non-state actors, when the WHO Executive Board grants official relations with an organization it is in fact “conferring an endorsement of the non-State actor’s name, brand, product, views or activity” and affects the organization’s “integrity, independence, credibility, and reputation.”

Delegates will take a decision on CRR’s application Tuesday morning. There are multiple options on the table, including postponing a decision or taking a vote. A vote would show in no uncertain terms that CRR is a controversial organization and taint any work product of the international health agency in which CRR is involved. Advocates for abortion-on-demand as a human right do not want such opposition to be on the record.

Commenting on Tedros’ intervention today, C-Fam Director of Research Rebecca Oas, Ph.D. said, “Dr Tedros claims that the WHO won’t force countries to do anything they don’t want to, but that’s precisely what CRR’s mission is: to force countries to liberalize their laws on abortion.”

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