The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a document with guidelines regarding the practice of abortion. It recommends that it be decriminalized, as they say, “access to safe abortion is essential for the health of women and girls.” In addition, it includes recommendations on simple interventions in primary care that “improve the quality of abortion care”, such as access to abortion pills for medical purposes and the elimination of everything that is an obstacle to access to abortion. In this sense, it is in favor of limiting the exercise of conscientious objection by the health workers involved, along the lines of those proposed in Spain by Minister of Equality Irene Montero.

Facilitate abortion without legal restrictions

The document proposes measures such as the elimination of mandatory waiting times before performing an abortion, the authorization of other people (it does not specify whether in the case of minors who want to abort) and the total decriminalization of abortion, without gestational age limit.

The WHO assures that in many countries there is a high percentage of unsafe abortions, and recognizes that, after the publication of the document, it will support all countries interested in applying its recommendations so that they “strengthen national policies and programs related to contraception, family planning and services that facilitate abortion”.

The organization is aligned with Irene Montero’s new project to amend the Abortion Law in Spain, which aims to eliminate the mandatory three-day reflection period for women, to force public hospitals to have a professional who performs abortions and to allow minors, 16 and 17 years old, to have an abortion without the consent of their parents. As she states: “just as they are responsible for working or having sexual relationships, they are responsible for deciding about their bodies”.

Bioethical assessment

It is difficult to explain why the World Health Organization, the leading international body in establishing policies aimed at preserving and promoting the health of the population, unequivocally defends the extermination of the most vulnerable population -unborn children- through unlimited access to abortion. It defends and promotes it by subordinating the granting of aids to the acceptance of its postulates against life.

Health, which the organization must defend, is not possible without life. The unborn also have a right to health, so first of all, they have a right to life. And not just some: all of them have the same right to have their health preserved as the rest of the population. How is it possible to support health-promoting policies with one hand and use the other in homicidal procedures directed against the most helpless, the most defenseless?

Aborting does not promote health. In no case. Abortion, in addition to ending the life of the unborn child -extreme opposed to promoting her health- damages the health of the woman who aborts. The incidence of post-abortion disorders has been evidenced by numerous studies, especially when the abortion is repeated. Even in adolescent women, abortion does not contribute to promoting their health, quite the opposite, as shown in other papers.

At the beginning of the defense of abortion and its legalizing procedures, appeals were made to the need to prevent seriously ill children from being born or their mothers from being exposed to high-risk pregnancies. Today, the WHO itself wants to extend abortion to the entire pregnancy, to all cases, without limits, with aid, without health workers being able to object in conscience.

Something similar happens with euthanasia: it is the already analyzed slippery slope.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The quote comes from the Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization, which was adopted by the International Sanitary Conference, held in New York from June 19 to July 22, 1946, signed on July 22, 1946 by representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, No. 2, p. 100), and entered into force on April 7, 1948. The definition has not been modified since 1948.

Is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being of the embryo compatible with its deliberate destruction? Does abortion contribute to the well-being of the mother?

The WHO is sick. The organization that must ensure health has become seriously ill. And the problem is that it is a contagious disease against which we must protect ourselves by telling the truth, showing the evidence and defending the weakest.

Julio Tudela, Cristina Castillo, Ester Bosch

Bioethics Observatory – Institute of Life Sciences

Catholic University of Valencia

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