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Trump administration blasts UN abortion push with COVID-19 aid funds

Trump administration blasts UN abortion push with COVID-19 aid funds

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, listens to a reporter’s question at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Thursday, March 26, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. | White House/Andrea Hanks

The Trump administration is blasting the United Nations for promoting abortion during the pandemic, particularly their efforts to push countries to legalize the practice using coronavirus aid funds.

In a Monday letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, U.S. Agency for International Development Acting Administrator John Barsa criticized the U.N., writing, “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 [on abortion] 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.”

Barsa told the U.N. to stop promoting abortion as part of its work fighting the disease and noted how the United States had given the organization $3.5 billion.

The USAID administrator also told the U.N. to strike "sexual and reproductive health services" as part of their humanitarian response plan for the virus and observed how the effort placed abortions on par with food-insecurity, medical care, sanitation, shelter, and malnutrition.

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“[T]he U.N. should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an ‘essential service,’” Barsa said.

"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.”

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He continued, “To achieve global unity toward this goal, it is essential that the U.N.’s response to the pandemic avoid creating controversy” and meet the real needs of vulnerable people without pushing abortion.

Pro-life investigative outlet Live Action expressed gratitude for the USAID chief's action.

"Abortion is the direct, violent, and intentional killing of an innocent person. Therefore, we applaud the leadership of the USAID in this matter," the outlet said in a statement emailed to The Christian Post.

Catholic News Agency reported Sunday that pro-life groups in Ecuador — where abortion is illegal in most cases — are asking their president to “not accept ideological interference by the U.N.”

The citizen petition argues that “in the face of the COVID-19 drama, the United Nations has offered to send humanitarian aid to Ecuador, but the aid is not free, since in various sections of the document it is explained that said aid is conditional on Ecuador legalizing abortion.”

“And it seems it has already begun to produce results because Ecuador is one of the 59 countries that in the midst of the pandemic has already committed to promote abortion,” the petition continues, referencing a joint declaration from earlier this month “to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights and to promote gender-responsiveness” during the pandemic.

Heightened conflict over abortion has emerged both overseas and domestically as some conservative U.S. states declared abortion clinics "non-essential" services and ordered them to be shut down amid the pandemic while other states have allowed them to remain open.

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