CHANGE: USAID Should be Ashamed for Trying to Remove Reproductive Health Care From Global COVID-19 Response

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BREAKING: USAID Head Attempts to Use COVID-19 Pandemic to Undermine Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights Worldwide

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Contact: Madison Donzis | [email protected]

Center for Health & Gender Equity: USAID Should be Ashamed for Trying to Remove Reproductive Health Care from Global COVID-19 Response

Today, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the U.S. Agency for International Development condemned the organization for including sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion, within its Global Humanitarian Response Plan to COVID-19, urging all of its references and its derivatives be removed from the document.

Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), a leading global health advocacy organization, issued the following in response:

“USAID should be ashamed for its outlandish attempt to use coronavirus as a means of dismantling a long-standing sexual and reproductive health rights framework from the UN’s pandemic response.

“When the United States steps away from an internationally agreed upon SRHR framework, it steps away from protecting women’s right to life. It tells the world it will not hold other countries accountable for attacks on human rights. This is the difference between a survivor of domestic violence getting critical health services or not. This is the difference between an LGBTQI individual getting critical health screenings or not. SRHR matters. 

“Make no mistake: USAID and the rest of the Trump administration are hell-bent on peddling an extremely dangerous, radical agenda that will quite literally cost the lives of women and girls all over the world if they are denied access to reproductive health care and basic health rights — especially in the middle of a pandemic.

“Sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. The US needs to uphold them at every level, or put hundreds of thousands of lives on the line. Period. USAID: We’re watching you and we will hold you accountable every step of the way throughout this response.”

In November, the Center for Health and Gender Equity rolled out its annual Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Index. The SRHR Index grades the White House and Congress, as well as USAID, Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Defense. 

It assesses actors’ policies, investments, and actions across three domains of sexual and reproductive health and rights—family planning (FP), maternal and child health (MCH), and HIV and AIDS—for their gender-responsiveness, responsiveness to need, basis in evidence, and consistency with internationally recognized human rights principles. 

Last year, the Index saw a massive drop in USAID’s score, declining from an A- (91.5) to a C (76).


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