WHO Partnering with MPs to Advance Abortion Globally
Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the pro-abortion European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) along with the UN Special Research Programme HRP, a key promoter of abortion. The stated purpose of the formalized MoU is the mobilization of political will on sexual and reproductive health and rights with special emphasis on Sustainable Development Targets 3.7 and 5.6 that seek to ensure by 2030 “universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights”. The world is at the half-way mark to the 2030 deadline for the SDGs.

EPF recently criticized Malta for its pro-life policy stating, “As representatives of the European and national Parliaments, we believe that access to safe and legal abortion is a fundamental right that should be guaranteed to all individuals, and is an essential component of women’s health care.”

Pro-life legislators need to be aware that the MoU focuses on three key areas:

  • They intend to give “technical support to promote evidence-based laws and policies aligned to WHO normative guidance”. That guidance can be found in WHO’s Abortion Care Guideline which states: Strengthening access to comprehensive abortion care within the health system is fundamental to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to good health and well-being (SDG3) and gender equality (SDG5).
  • They seek to “mobilize parliamentarians on awareness raising for sexual and reproductive health, with particular support to low- and middle-income countries”. In other words, the children of parents living in low economic settings are targets.
  • They seek “capacity building” so pro-abortion parliamentarians and WHO can more effectively work together to advance access to abortion around the world.

WHO is notorious for using its position as the world’s leading health organization to advance access to abortion. “Comprehensive abortion care” was included in its list of essential health care services in 2020 for the pandemic. WHO recently posted on its Facebook page: Abortion services are healthcare. Access to safe abortion protects the health of women and girls.

“Parliamentarians’ political and social capital are powerful levers for defending and advancing progress on health and rights issues which we know can be sensitive and politicized,” said Dr Pascale Allotey, Director of the WHO Department of SRH, which includes HRP. “Our partnership with EPF is a strong commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights as an evidence-based, accountable, political choice.”

WHO writes that it “recognizes the importance of parliamentarians as active contributors to health and rights through their core functions of legislation, advocacy, accountability and budget allocation.”

Pro-life legislators can read details of WHO’s law and policy guidance on abortion in Towards a supportive law and policy environment for quality abortion care: evidence brief, a supplement to the Abortion Care Guideline. It proposes actions  “to create an enabling environment for quality abortion care” and to deny unborn children their right to life.

According to WHO, laws related to “criminalization, grounds-based approaches, gestational age limits, mandatory waiting periods, third-party authorization, provider restrictions and conscientious objection” need to be overturned as they “pose barriers to access to abortion and have negative effects on the exercise of human rights.” WHO recommendations on abortion law and policy:

  • Recommend the full decriminalization of abortion.
  • Recommend against laws and other regulations that restrict abortion by grounds.
  • Recommend that abortion be available on the request of the woman, girl or other pregnant person.
  • Recommend against laws and other regulations that prohibit abortion based on gestational age limits.
  • Recommend against mandatory waiting periods for abortion.
  • Recommend that abortion be available on the request of the woman, girl or other pregnant person without the authorization of any other individual, body or institution.
  • Recommend against regulation on who can provide and manage abortion that is inconsistent with WHO guidance.
  • Recommend that access to and continuity of comprehensive abortion care be protected against barriers created by conscientious objection.

WHO is also seeking to ensure that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) includes abortion. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus displayed his pro-abortion mindset stating in his remarks at a conference co-hosted by EPF that universal access to sexual and reproductive health services is a human right, and there is no universal health coverage without integration of sexual and reproductive health services and called for integration of SRHR into primary healthcare.

Tedros said, “Sexual and reproductive health and rights are a cornerstone for better health and must be an integral part of policies, laws and budgets governing universal health coverage. Quality family planning and reproductive health and rights are essential components of universal health coverage and primary healthcare.”

WHO recognizes the critical role of lawmakers stating that integrating SRHR in UHC “will take both practical strategies and political commitment.”

There will be a High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage at the United Nations in New York on September 21, 2023.