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Risch Joins Lee, Colleagues in Letter Questioning WHO Abortion Guidelines

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last week joined Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), and 52 other Senate and House colleagues in sending a letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), urging a reversal on the organization’s recent guidelines on abortion. 

These guidelines advocate for abortion on demand and critique the conscious objections of healthcare providers. The updated guidelines follow years of controversy regarding the role, allegiance, and effectiveness of the WHO.

The letter reads in part, “We, members of the U.S. Congress, write to you today with concerns about the World Health Organization’s (W.H.O.) dangerous new abortion guidelines. These extreme new guidelines aim to remove all legal and policy safeguards on abortion, impose restrictions on the conscience rights of health workers, and ignore the right to life and the safety of the mother and child.

“Moreover, we are astonished that the W.H.O. is attempting to de-humanize preborn children and assert that the rights of the preborn do not exist by categorizing self-induced—and, in some cases, illegal—abortions as ‘self-care’ and demanding ‘the full decimalization of abortion’ without any gestational age limits. To categorize abortions as ‘self-care’ not only strips away the humanity and dignity of a preborn child but also contradicts international standards recognizing the preborn child as a rights-holding person.

“Furthermore, this guidance not only threatens the conscience rights of health care providers at all levels but treats individuals and institutions that object to abortion as obstacles.

“Given the W.H.O.’s influence, this guidance will likely cause severe, irreversible harm, not only to U.S. citizens but to women and children worldwide. Such overreach and trampling of national sovereignty also further delegitimizes the W.H.O. and U.N. in the eyes of many people around the world. For these reasons, we ask that the W.H.O. reverse course and retract the anti-life recommendations that it has promoted through the release of its 2022 abortion care guidelines.”

Full text of the letter can be found here