The truly desperate ones hang red and white clothes outside their windows, a cry -- people have come to recognize -- for help. Hungry parents, out of work, scramble for boxes of rice, vegetables, and sugar across Latin America where even children are on a waiting list for meals. "We are going to starve from this disease," one emotional Haitian dad told a reporter. In Kenya, the situation is so dire that people from the slums died in stampedes just trying to get their hands on some flour and oil. Like everyone else, the U.N. is watching in horror as clouds of locusts ravage India's crops and looting starts in South Africa. And what kind of "relief" are they trying to send to countries? Abortion.
Even for leaders who are used to dealing with the U.N.'s ideological sideshow, the thought of wasting precious humanitarian aid on more global abortion promotion was nauseating. While countries like the U.S. desperately try to ship ventilators and medical supplies to nations worse off than America, the last thing anyone needs is to lobby for more death. And yet, Acting USAID Director John Barsa insists, that is exactly what the United Nations has done in its multi-billion-dollar humanitarian response plan. And to countries like ours, who are funneling tens of millions of our own dollars to the effort, that's absolutely unacceptable.
Barsa, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, tried to make that clear -- pointing out that when the United States agrees to fight COVID, it shouldn't have to specify that killing unborn children isn't part of the plan. "The U.N. should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an 'essential service,'" Barsa added. "Unfortunately, the Global [Humanitarian Response Plan] does just this, by cynically placing the provision of 'sexual and reproductive health services' on the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential health care, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation."
There are so many critical needs in the world right now, John explained on "Washington Watch," and the idea that this relief effort would be hijacked by radical politics was just mind-blowing. "[At USAID]," he said, "we're pretty much the point of the spear for American generosity in the history of the planet. There are no people as generous as the people of the United States of America." And the idea that that generosity would be exploited -- especially when the U.N. knows the administration's position on life -- is, quite frankly, insulting. "As the greatest donor to the United Nations and these programs, we wanted nothing of [their abortion crusade]. It was absolute perfect time to send the letter because this nonsense just had to stop."
Reiterating the president's speech to the General Assembly last year, Barsa reminded Guterres that the U.S. will "never tire of defending innocent life." And if the U.N. wants the administration's support, it'll have to prove it by dropping every reference to "sexual and reproductive health" from its coronavirus response. That's a completely reasonable request, since our country is by far the biggest contributor to the organization's budget. If our taxpayers pour that much money into the United Nations, then it's only fair that America's values flow with those American dollars.
And honestly, as John pointed out, the real mission here ought to be obvious. In a battle for human lives, the last thing we should be doing is making it easier to destroy others'. "The delivery of essential health care is the first priority around the globe during this time," along with, he wrote, "severe food shortages..." The U.N. needs to stay focused on those needs, not its deeply divisive agenda.
For now, USAID still hasn't heard back from the secretary-general. But Barsa isn't deterred. From his new perch, he's set out to build the international coalition on life. Bold stands like this certainly help. "Our position cannot be more clear under the leadership of President Trump and Vice President Pence," he insisted. "We are rock solid and fighting the fight." And Americans everywhere are grateful for it.