WHO raises alarm on courts restricting abortion access

19th April 2023

WHO DG Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Agency Report

The World Health Organisation voiced concern Tuesday at courts limiting the right of women to access safe abortion services, following fresh legal manoeuvres in the United States.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said restricting access to safe abortion methods would only drive women and girls into unsafe choices.

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court temporarily preserved access to a widely-used abortion pill, in an 11th-hour ruling preventing lower court restrictions on the drug from coming into force.

The United States’ highest court issued an “administrative stay” freezing the rulings until Wednesday to allow for parties to submit their arguments to the tribunal — scene of the latest battleground in America’s war over reproductive rights.

“WHO is concerned that the right of women to access safe abortion services, including through the use of medical abortion medicines, are being limited by legislators, and/or courts,” Tedros told a press conference.Related News.

“Women should always have the right to choose when it comes to their bodies and their health. Restricting access to abortion does not reduce the number of procedures, and only drives women and girls towards unsafe ones, and also death.

“Ultimately, access to safe abortion is healthcare that saves lives.”

The US Justice Department filed an emergency appeal asking the Supreme Court to block lower court rulings that would have banned or limited access to the drug mifepristone.

More than a dozen US states have passed laws banning or severely restricting abortion since the conservative-dominated Supreme Court last year overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that had enshrined the constitutional right to the procedure for half a century.


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