President Trump’s decision to halt aid to the World Health Organization (WHO), if it is not overturned soon, will live in infamy. In late April, while the president was floating the absurd notion that injecting disinfectant might help fight the coronavirus, over 1,000 organizations and individuals signed a letter asking the White House to restore aid to the WHO, calling it “the only organization with the technical capacity and global mandate to support the public health response of all countries during this critical time.” That is particularly true in Africa. Read More »

There is nothing like a pandemic to illustrate what the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once described as the “fierce urgency of now.” The battle against COVID-19 is far from over—more missteps may come, and resurgences might occur. But at least for now, stay-at-home orders, social distancing requirements and other emergency measures appear to be “flattening the curve” in the U.S. and other hard-hit countries. It proves that collective, effective action in the face of a common enemy is possible, so long as the threat is imminent, evident and lethal. That raises a question about other global challenges, including climate change, that may be less immediate, but no less important. What will it take to spur effective action on them? Read More »

From Ohio to Texas, abortion opponents are not wasting any time in taking political advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last weekend, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost ordered health care facilities in the state to stop providing what he deemed as “non-essential” abortions. His action, unfortunately, is part of a larger national campaign that needs to be exposed for what it is: a cynical political ploy being led by anti-choice advocates who have urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ban abortions. Read More »

I spent most of my career as a Foreign Service officer in Africa, and I served as deputy to the commander for civil military engagement at the U.S. Africa Command during the Ebola crisis of 2014. And now I fear what the novel coronavirus could mean for the health and prosperity of virtually every nation in Africa. On Monday, the World Health Organization reported that the number of confirmed cases had surged to 126 in Egypt, 48 in Algeria, and 51 in South Africa, where President Cyril Ramaphosa just declared a “national emergency.” The same day, Benin, Somalia, Liberia and Tanzania reported their first cases, bringing to 27 the total number of African countries reporting cases. Read More »

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear oral arguments in June Medical Services v. Russo, and the stakes could not be higher for reproductive rights.

It ought to be a forgone conclusion. The Louisiana law at issue is virtually the same as a Texas law that was struck down by the Supreme Court in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt four years ago. But since then, Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have joined the Court and solidified a conservative majority. Read More »

Actress Michelle Williams got some traction when she used her Golden Globe acceptance speech to champion abortion rights, saying she was “grateful to have lived at a moment in our society where choice exists.” But the moment she spoke of may be fleeting. Read More »

The COP25 climate change summit that just wrapped up in Madrid, Spain, was not the decisive plunge into climate action the world needed. In the lead up to the conference, 11,000 scientists declared “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” and half a million protesters in Madrid demanded we act accordingly. In the end, however, UN Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted the world “lost an important opportunity.” Read More »

Australia? It’s not the end of the world as we know it, but you might be able to see it from there, if it were not for all the smoke. Last week scattered bushfires burning close to Sydney converged and formed a “mega-fire,” casting a dense pall of smoke over the city, which is Australia’s largest and one of the world’s most beautiful. This week Sydney’s air quality plummeted, measuring 11 times the level deemed hazardous to human health. The smoke is so bad that fire alarms are being triggered in many parts of the city. Read More »

Every November 13th, we observe Thanks, Birth Control Day. As 99 percent of women in the US will use a contraceptive method at one point or another, birth control should be celebrated. But the Trump administration is doing its best to limit access to contraception at home and abroad. It defies both logic and public opinion. Read More »

The U.S. Supreme Court has not overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, but lower courts and statehouses are threatening to turn the clock back nearly 50 years on abortion rights. The fate of Missouri’s only remaining abortion provider, a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, hangs by a thread, awaiting the outcome of a recent arbitration hearing. If it is forced stop performing abortions, Missouri will become the first state without an abortion provider since Roe recognized the right to abortion in America. Read More »