STATEMENT: Center for Reproductive Rights Condemns the United States’ Withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO)

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Statement of Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in response to the United States’ withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO):

“The Center for Reproductive Rights condemns the Trump administration’s unjustified and harmful withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO). The United States’ termination of its relationship with WHO will exacerbate the devastating impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, further disrupting and restricting essential sexual and reproductive health services precisely at the time when they are needed the most. It is undermining of global efforts to respond to the pandemic, with real harm to those who are already at risk, and especially for marginalized populations, threatening their rights to life, health, and gender equality in fundamental ways. 

“WHO provides important human rights-based guidance for reproductive healthcare, which can be life-saving. This guidance is relied upon by governments and health care institutions across the globe, including in the United States, to develop and implement policies and practices that are central to ensuring women’s health and guaranteeing their human rights.   

“WHO has issued critical guidance during the pandemic on caring for pregnant women, infants, and mothers with COVID-19, as well as information on intrapartum care and breastfeeding, and on access to abortion and contraception during the COVID-19 response. Years of evidence and direct experience have clearly demonstrated the acute need for sexual and reproductive health services in times of crisis and conflict. 

“The United States’ withdrawal of support for WHO will harm us all at this time, when the need has never been greater for a coordinated global response to a global pandemic.”