'Disease X': International Pandemic Treaty Would Fund Abortions and Curtail Freedoms, Critics Say
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World Health Organization leaders are warning about "Disease X," the temporary name for the next pathogen that will ravage the globe in the future.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said last month that another global pandemic, possibly much deadlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, could be here sooner than we think. With that backdrop, he's urging member countries to approve a so-called Pandemic Treaty touted as a way to prevent, prepare, and respond to the next worldwide pandemic. The 32-page draft is posted on the WHO website.
"Anything happening is a matter of 'when,' not 'if,'" Tedros said. "So we need to have a placeholder for that, for the diseases we don't know that may come. And that was when we gave the name Disease X."
The legally binding agreement is touted by the WHO as a way to ensure poorer countries are provided the same level of health care as wealthier ones, in stark contrast to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lengthy document is full of rules and regulations giving the WHO expanded authority.
At a news conference in Washington, D.C., some conservative policy leaders and congressional leaders expressed major concerns about the draft, starting with WHO's apparent submission to Chinese authorities.
"The WHO denied that COVID-19 was spread via human-to-human transmission based entirely upon the word of the Chinese government, the CCP," said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-OH), Chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. "And I think maybe most appalling is the WHO even delayed naming the pandemic a public health emergency of international concern because the CCP confirmed that the spread of the virus was under control."
The agreement calls for wealthier nations, such as the United States, to heavily fund general health care in developing countries, which likely means late-term abortion access worldwide funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars.
"WHO has lost its way," said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the House Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee. "I used to ask them, I've been here 44 years, year in and year out, 'Where do you stand on abortion?' They'd say, 'Agnostic, we don't do anything on it.' And now they have become the most aggressive promoters of abortion in the world. They have it embedded in this treaty."
The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins said the treaty is a progressive power grab that threatens U.S. sovereignty.
"The draft agreement is first and foremost a global political, economic and social manifesto," he said. "Few Americans, save those who desire to exercise control over the lives of others, would want to see another pandemic like COVID-19 and the government response that followed that pandemic."
Given its scope, critics say it amounts to a treaty and should be put to a vote in the U.S. Senate.
"The WHO refuses to call the Pandemic Treaty a treaty. It calls it an agreement, an accord, a framework, anything else, likely because it does not want it to be submitted to the treaty process in the United States and worldwide," said Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President of Women's Rights Without Frontiers.
Another major sticking point is that approval would allow vaccines, treatments, tests, and other information to be shared.
"The draft would require parties to support time-bound waivers to intellectual property and use WHO TRIPS provisions to override intellectual property rights, which will curtail future investment in health research," said Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Brett Schaefer. "Which is exactly the opposite you would want to respond effectively to a future pandemic."
Experts say the information-sharing portion of the agreement could prove to be a deal-breaker for the U.S. and other nations.
WHO leaders have set a May deadline for the document's approval.
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