The World Health Organization is a 72-year-old global institution, composed of 194 countries, whose declared objective is “to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.” Today, it is engaged in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic that, as of April 25, 2020, has infected 2,826,847 confirmed cases and killed 196,981, with 781,255 recoveries, in 210 countries and territories and two international conveyances. 

Its work has apparently doubled, if not more, in the global effort to end the pandemic, for which so far no vaccine or cure has been found. This has understandably strained the WHO’s budgetary resources, forcing it to launch an appeal for an additional $675 million in March to fight the virus. 

To that appeal the most significant response has come from US President Donald Trump, who has accused the WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” and has decided to withhold the US annual contribution of $400 million.. This constitutes 15 percent of the WHO budget. 

Given the gravity of the pandemic and the need to support the work of frontline health workers, the decision to withhold this money could not have come at a worse time. Microsoft founder  Bill Gates, whose foundation is a major contributor,  says “the world needs the WHO now more than ever.”  This view is shared by many others. 

But at least one US-based international pro-life organization, with board members from Canada, UK, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Africa and Asia, seems to believe the WHO deserves to be called out for its “long history of unlawfully endangering human life on a global scale.” In a letter supporting Trump, the group points out that the WHO has adopted a “pro-abortion position,” equates abortion with human rights, refers to it as a mere “medical procedure,” and seeks the worldwide repeal of all laws that criminalize abortion and other medical procedures for women. 

Abortion  kills 56 million unborn babies inside their mothers’ wombs annually worldwide, 623,471 of them in the US (as of 2016). According to the group, a 2017 WHO policy brief, titled “integrating sexual and reproductive health into health emergency and disaster risk management,” foresaw a coronavirus-type crisis that could be used to expand, hence normalize, abortion care, “before, during and after emergencies.” That same year, the group added, the WHO publication, “Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems,” repeatedly presented abortion as an integral part of so-called “reproductive health services” in “emergency situations.”

Then on March 27 this year, amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a WHO spokesman, part of its “Maternal and Perinatal Health and Preventing Unsafe Abortion Team,” labeled abortion an “essential service,” and that, in accordance with the new WHO guidelines, “women’s choices and right to sexual reproductive health care should be respected irrespective of Covid-19 status,” the group said.

Forming part of WHO’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic then, the group pointed out, is “pre-planned response designed to ruthlessly exploit global crisis to expand abortion by pressing for women ‘to manage their own safe abortion.’ This takes the form of consulting a doctor, not in person, but via telephone or video chat, and obtaining abortion pills in the mail, potentially far from emergency medical care that she may need if complications arise.” 

Such measures, apart from promoting an agenda that will kill millions of babies, will further jeopardize the physical and mental health of women around the world, who will no longer have the benefit of an appropriate consultation and supervised abortion. In effect, it functions as a chemical coat hanger, the group said.

I believe the group’s statement does not lack any factual basis, but defunding the WHO at this time, when it needs all the money it can get to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, may be a punishment in the extreme. It might have been sufficient for Trump to have warned the WHO  that unless it disowned and reversed its policies and practices which equate abortion with human rights and health care, he would effective immediately cease funding the organization. That would have allowed the WHO to correct its serious mistakes, which must be corrected,  without setting back its current fight against the pandemic.