Trump Administration to World Health Organization: There is no International Right to Abortion”

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President Donald Trump has sent a letter to the World Health Organziation (WHO), threatening the agency with permanently pulling U.S. funding if it does not “commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days.”

Last month, President Trump made the decision to temporarily halt United States funding to the group. 

“My administration has already started discussions with you on how to reform the organization. But action is needed quickly. We do not have time to waste,” Trump concluded, adding that the U.S. will “reconsider our membership” unless improvements are made.

Hours after the letter was sent, the United States rejected abortion language in the WHO Coronavirus resolution on Tuesday. In a statement, United States’ representatives said that the U.S. “disassociates” from the WHO language, which encourages poor countries to dismiss the concept of intellectual property rules during emergencies in order to receive reproductive and sexual healthcare during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The United States strongly supports women reaching the highest attainable outcomes for health, life, dignity, and well-being throughout their lives,” the statement said.

“We champion access to high-quality health care for women and girls across the lifespan. However, we do not accept references to ‘sexual and reproductive health,’ or other language that suggests or explicitly states that access to abortion is included in the provision of population and individual level health services,” the statement said.

“The United States believes in legal protections for the unborn, and rejects any interpretation of international human rights,” the statement says. “As President Trump has stated, ‘Americans will never tire of defending innocent life.’ Each nation has the sovereign right to implement related programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies, free from external pressure.”

The statement continues, declaring that “there is no international right to abortion,” and the United States is under no obligation to “finance or facilitate abortion.” The statement goes on to say that United States does not consider abortion as an appropriate “method of family planning.”

In his letter to the WHO, President Trump warned the organization to reform within the next month or risk access to U.S. funding. 

“I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests,” the letter stated. 

This is not the first time the Trump administration has stated that there is no international right to abortion. In February of this year, Alex Azar in a meeting with top health officials from other countries, said firmly, “I stated this fact at the United Nations this past September, and I’ll repeat it here: there is no international human right to abortion. On the other hand, there is an international human right to life,” Azar said.

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