Jun 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

WHO chief calls U.S. abortion ruling "a setback" that will cost lives

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General talks during a FIFA meeting.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, speaks. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/FIFA via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will ultimately cost lives, World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

Driving the news: “The evidence is irrefutable,” Tedros tweeted. “Restricting (abortion) drives women and girls toward unsafe abortions resulting in complications, even death.”

What he said: Tedros said the U.S. Supreme Court's decision is "a setback" that will disproportionately hurt women from poor and impoverished communities, the Associated Press reports.

  • “We hadn’t really expected this from the U.S.,” Tedros said, per AP.

The big picture: The WHO's chief said the court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could have a global impact by inspiring other countries to restrict abortion access, the AP reports.

  • “The global impact is also a concern,” he said.
  • “This is about the life of (a) mother,” he said. “If safe abortion is illegal, then women will definitely resort to unsafe ways of doing it. And that means it could cost them their lives.”

Several global leaders and human rights organizations have condemned the ruling since last week, Axios' Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath and Ivana Saric report.

  • Israel eased the country's regulations on abortion access Monday, authorizing a proposal that would amend the country's criminal code over medical abortion procedures, Axios reports.
  • In a similar light, French lawmakers are looking to propose a bill that will add abortion rights into the country's constitution, The Guardian reports.

Go deeper ... The future of privacy rights in a post-Roe world

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