WHO and UN human rights heads 'disappointed' by US Supreme Court abortion ruling

UN human rights commissioner calls it 'huge blow to women's human rights'

Abortion rights activists react to the announcement of the US Supreme Court ruling on June 24 in Washington. AFP
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World Health Organisation head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday expressed his disdain over the US Supreme Court's decision to strike down the nearly 50-year-old ruling that federally protected the right to abortion in the country.

“I am very disappointed, because women’s rights must be protected. And I would have expected America to protect such rights,” he said to Reuters while attending a conference in Rwanda.

The decision will now allow individual US states to decide whether women can have access abortions or not, with some already enacting bans after the ruling.

“It is a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality,” Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement on Friday.

“This decision strips such autonomy from millions of women in the US, in particular those with low incomes and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, to the detriment of their fundamental rights,” she said.

The Financial Times reported that the ruling has caused US abortion rights to go in reverse against global trends.

Ms Bachelet noted that 50 countries that had previously restricted access to abortion had made progress in the past 25 years.

Other UN agencies shared their negative responses to the decision, including UN Women.

“Reproductive rights are integral to women’s rights,” it said in a statement.

Updated: June 26, 2022, 8:05 PM