Not all American taxpayers agree with the reasoning behind President Trump’s decision to freeze U.S. funding of the World Health Organization – that WHO’s overly deferential treatment of China’s communist government has resulted in global COVID-19 tragedy – but there are other excellent reasons to applaud the president’s action. One is the fact that U.S. taxpayer dollars will no longer bankroll WHO’s partner organizations like the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and scandal-plaguedInternational Planned Parenthood (IPPF).
These two NGO’s (non-government organizations) cloak themselves in the language of altruism and concern for the poor, but function as a new and condescending form of cultural imperialism. How? In exchange for helping developing nations to “modernize,” they demand that donor nations accept current Western attitudes about the family, especially those that reduce the number of the world’s poor as a way to fight poverty.
If this sounds overly dramatic, consider the founding purpose of the UNFPA. It was founded to limit population growth in developing countries. Never mind the concept of rich countries actively working to keep down the births of poor black and brown children. That’s distasteful enough. But the population control organization’s methods are often dangerous and culturally insensitive. Consider Depo Provera. This long-acting injectable contraceptive has been linked to higher rates of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa as well as increased risk of breast cancer. The WHO, using U.S. and U.K. contributions plus a hefty $40billion endowment from theBilland Melinda Gates Foundation, launched a plan in 2012 to get an additional 120 million poor women using contraception – mostly injectables like Depo Provera – by 2020. The danger to women is clear. The cultural insensitivity lies in ignoring the fact that children in traditional agrarian societies are not considered merely hindrances to personal fulfillment, as in the West. No, children in these lands are valued as dependable, long-lasting sources of support and companionship in a hard, uncertain world.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, the WHO has kept its foot pressed hard on the population-control accelerator. On a webpage dedicated to “sexual and reproductive health in the context of Covid-19” it points to a previously-issued report on promoting self-managed chemical abortions. Yes, besides hand washing and social distancing, the organizations also recommend that girls and women self-diagnose and accurately date their pregnancies, rule out any ectopic pregnancies, and then manage their own chemical abortions. All without any medical assistance.
From a medical perspective, it’s hard to overstate the associated dangers of sepsis and hemorrhage involved in a self-managed chemical abortion. That’s especially the case in the hands of vulnerable women with limited or no access to accurate information, or a well-equipped emergency room. In the United States, these same chemical abortion drugs come with elaborate safety precautions to protect women’s health. If only the WHO would have the same concern for poor women, whose reproduction they wish to curb.
IPPF, the world’s largest abortion provider, is another heavily-favored organization at the WHO. It says something – something dark– about WHO’s commitment to keeping down the population of the developing world that it continues to funnel money to the IPPF. After all, the IPPF has lately been rocked with scandal of the worst kind. The organization recently had to implement sweeping reforms after it was revealed that, in Kenya, the IPPF provided prostitutes for staff, guests, and donors at its gatherings. Yes, an erstwhile charity that pays huge salaries to its officials was pimping young girls, exposing them to violence, disease, pregnancy and the soul-crushing experience of sexual exploitation.
President Trump already did Americans a great favor when he reinstated the so-called Mexico City Policy right after his inauguration. This policy required NGO’s to stop performing abortions as a condition for receiving American tax dollars. In fact, the IPPF was one of only four NGO’s that refused to go along with this condition. Now, by halting funding to the WHO, the president is expanding the favor.
It is a tragedy that our hard-earned dollars have been providing $400 to $500 million each year to the WHO and their ill-chosen partner NGOs. American taxpayers can take comfort in the fact that going forward the money will no longer be coming from our pockets.
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association and co-host of The Catholic Association’s podcast, Conversations with Consequences.