The US government’s foreign aid agency on Monday warned the United Nations to stop “promoting abortion” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic — invoking billions of dollars in US donations.
US Agency for International Development acting administrator John Barsa noted his agency gave the UN $3.5 billion in 2019 and demanded that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres revise wording in its COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
Barsa’s letter comes after President Trump last month ended roughly $400 million in annual aid to the UN’s World Health Organization.
The UN coronavirus planning document does not use the term “abortion,” but Barsa alleged that its intent is clear by promoting access to “sexual and reproductive health services.”
“[T]he UN should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an ‘essential service’,” Barsa wrote. “[The document] 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.”
Spokespeople for the UN and Guterres did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Trump last month ended US contributions to the WHO, a UN entity, alleging the agency failed to prevent the coronavirus pandemic by negligently accepting as true Chinese assertions about the scope of the initial outbreak.
In his letter, Barsa quoted Trump’s 2019 speech to the UN General Assembly, in which he said the UN had “no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life.”
Barsa wrote: “Indeed, the UN should not intimidate or coerce Member States that are committed to the right to life. 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.”
The UN “should use clear language and take clear action to address the real needs of vulnerable people around the world without promoting abortion,” Barsa wrote.