Tedros Adhanom, director of the WHO: “All women should be able to decide about their bodies and health. Safe abortion is part of health care” | Society

The Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.JOHANNA GERON (AP)

Around abortion there is an ideological debate between those who are for and against it. But there is no scientific discussion. The evidence that safe access to this practice saves lives is beyond doubt. And this is how the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyessus, wanted to underline this Wednesday: “Given the decision of the United States Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade, I want to reaffirm the position of the WHO. All women should be able to decide about their bodies and health. Point and end. Safe abortion is part of health care.”

The Supreme Court of the United States overturned last Friday the precedent set by the sentence of the case Roe contra Wade, which in 1973 gave federal status to the freedom of women to terminate pregnancy. The decision returns to the 50 states the power to legislate on the subject, and it is estimated that 26 are willing to repeal it.

In a press conference at the WHO headquarters, Tedros has emphasized that there is no doubt that restricting access to abortion “leads women and girls to opt for unsafe abortions, which result in complications and even death”. “And this is not based on hypotheses, but on multiple investigations and scientific evidence. Limiting access to safe abortion costs lives and has a greater impact on women from the poorest and most marginalized communities”, assured the director of the WHO, who lamented that with the decision of the American Justice, four decades of progress in this field.

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“My experience in India is that access to abortion saves lives and that denying it is like denying someone a drug that can save them,” said the chief scientist of the WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, a doctor of Indian origin. “If they don’t have access, (women) are going to try anyway. This leads them into the hands of people who take advantage of the situation and great damage to health or death occurs from the complications that may arise, such as infections, ”she has stated.

These statements fall within the position that the WHO has been holding for years on abortion. In their guides, updated last March, they quantify 39,000 deaths caused by the 25 million unsafe abortions that take place every year in the world. The vast majority of deaths (over 90%) could have been prevented.

“Along with clinical and service delivery recommendations, the guidelines recommend removing medically unnecessary political barriers to safe abortion, such as criminalization, mandatory waiting times; the requirement that approval must be given by other family members, or institutions; and limits on when during pregnancy an abortion can take place. Such barriers can lead to critical delays in access to treatment and put women and girls at greater risk of unsafe abortions, stigma and health complications, while increasing disruptions to education and their ability to work.” establishes the WHO.