The daughter of the acting head of the US Agency for International Development is rebuking her father over the agency’s push for the United Nations to remove abortion as an “essential service” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am utterly disgusted that you choose to stand by this administration and take part in stripping people of their human rights. I am truly embarrassed to call you my father,” a Twitter account appearing to be that of Camille Barsa, acting USAID Administrator John Barsa’s daughter, posted Friday.
CNN has attempted to contact a number listed for Camille Barsa, but has not yet received a response. The USAID declined to comment, citing a family matter.
The tweet came in response to acting Administrator Barsa’s post: “Under @POTUS & @Mike_Pence’s leadership, the US prioritizes the protection of innocent life. Great to discuss my letter to @UN requesting the removal of abortion as an essential service in their COVID response & religious freedom protection with @tperkins.”
Barsa wrote a letter last month to the UN secretary general urging him to remove any references to “sexual and reproductive health,” including abortion, from the UN’s humanitarian response plan to the coronavirus pandemic to “avoid creating controversy.”
The UN “should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an ‘essential service,’” wrote Barsa, who assumed the role of acting administrator in April after working as the assistant administrator for USAID’s Latin America and Caribbean bureau.
UN health documents often refer to sexual and reproductive health and say it is central to the international agency’s broader goal of accelerating development, particularly efforts to improve mother and child mortality and health care. Global health experts say now is not the time to launch an attack on sexual and reproductive services.
The letter raised criticism from human rights groups and global health experts, who argued during a global pandemic is not the time to launch an attack on sexual and reproductive services.
Some state officials have pushed to include abortions among nonessential surgical procedures that must be deferred or canceled as coronavirus cases flood the health care system. Those efforts have been challenged in court.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.