The Guardian understands that the US department of health and human services has been lobbying the director general's office at the WHO to block approval of the pills, in line with President George Bush's neoconservative stance on abortion.
While the availability of pills might make abortion easier and could increase the number choosing it, the experts want them listed to reduce the deaths and damage caused by surgery. Every year, 19 million women have unsafe abortions - 18.5 million of those take place in developing countries. An estimated 68,000 women die as a result of botched or unhygienic surgery, while many others suffer long-term damage, including sterility.
The WHO's own department of reproductive health proposed the addition of the abortion pills to the list.
As I stated in an earlier diary, "the World Health Organization reports that 500,000 women still die in childbirth every year, and 10.6 MILLION children die before age five."
Maternal health is supposed to be a priority. WHO has proclaimed this year as "make every woman and child count." But for those who will die in childbirth because they could not safely have an abortion, those women don't count. For those women who will die having a surgery in unhygienic conditions, when they could have safely taken medication, they don't count either. For those who are pregnant as the result of campaigns of rape--and such campaigns are being carried on now, as I type, they don't count either. For some of those babies, brought into the world against their mothers' wills, who will die of starvation, malaria, AIDS, diarrhea, they don't count either.
Our government would rather watch women DIE than admit that maybe, just maybe, abortion is the right option for some women.