The crisis caused by the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic highlighted the numerous difficulties faced by modern societies worldwide. However, it has also clearly shown the problems related to the World Health Organisation’s activities. After all, the WHO’s delay in providing information on the coronavirus and making a clear threat assessment resulted in the disease spreading much faster than it otherwise would. Apart from its activities related to health protection, the organisation has also been involved in the implementation of radical ideological demands for years now and has not done away with these demands, even during a global pandemic. The WHO's priorities still include upholding “reproductive and sexual rights”, such as access to abortion.
For many people, the current pandemic has undermined the confidence in international bodies, including WHO. WHO itself made numerous mistakes, such as delays in reporting about the dangers of the coronavirus. Initially, it even stated that human-to-human transmission was impossible in the case of SARS-CoV-2. This prevented other countries from suspending travel to and from China, which would have helped contain the virus.
Throughout its history, the World Health Organisation has conducted many positive activities as well. It proved successful in the fight against extremely dangerous infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and cholera, and also led to the complete eradication of smallpox worldwide. Nonetheless, numerous activities undertaken by WHO in recent years have a deeply rooted ideological basis. It takes steps to merge health with a much broader category of the so-called “reproductive and sexual rights,” including abortion, in a completely unauthorised way. In addition, WHO pushes for extremely controversial and borderline obscene sex education standards. The COVID-19 situation may further exacerbate this phenomenon, especially in regard to WHO’s decisions, as the protection of “reproductive and sexual rights,” including access to abortion, is among its priorities in the fight against the current crisis and its effects.
The way WHO functions requires far-reaching reforms to ensure that the organisation’s activities respond to the actual needs of the nations which contribute to its budget. The answer to these problems could be to increase the degree of control that member states have over the WHO’s expenditure eligibility. Cancelling programmes that undermine international arrangements and fundamental human rights would also be crucial. Otherwise, the United States, which announced that it has halted its funding for the World Health Organisation, may soon be joined by other countries. This could hinder the effective implementation of WHO’s undisputedly positive mission, i.e. disease control.
“The World Health Organisation’s history shows that the activities undertaken by this institution were universal and effective only when it respected the beliefs and interests of all parties involved – when it respected the culture and economic interests of the member states. For WHO to overcome this crisis of confidence, it seems that it must allow the member states to have a greater degree of control concerning the way funds are spent and the objectives achieved, as well as to improve communication with the populations of these countries,” said Filip Furman, Director of the Social Sciences and Bioethics Centre at the Ordo Iuris Institute.
“What is particularly concerning for people is WHO’s push for extreme, ideologically-motivated proposals. It is all about promoting the concept of reproductive and sexual rights, which includes the proposal to lower living standards and increase access to abortion. In this regard, WHO's intentions are quite clear, and its collaboration with a well-known US abortion clinic network that co-finances its activities only serves to confirm this. WHO’s guidelines on obscene and aggressive sex education for children are yet another problem,” said Bartosz Zalewski, an attorney at the Ordo Iuris Legislative Analysis Centre.
Poland submitted a comprehensive report on the implementation of the Istanbul Convention to the Monitoring Committee (GREVIO). It describes in detail all the legal measures and programs in place in Poland aimed at combating domestic violence.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe requested Polish authorities to create procedures for easier killing of children through abortion. The institution also requires the collection of information about hospitals where doctors invoke the conscience clause. The Committee demands easier methods for objecting to decisions by physicians who refuse to perform abortion.
The crisis caused by the pandemic has put the activities of the World Health Organisation at the centre of public debate.
The right to life from conception, protection of the identity of marriage or parents’ right to raise their children in conformity with their own convictions may be at risk if the European Commission’s proposals enter into force.