Nearly 200 advocacy organizations urge U.N. to step in regarding abortion accessibility in the United States.

Nearly 200 human rights organizations and experts are calling on the United Nations to take action on the destruction of abortion rights in the United States. The letter sent on Thursday warns that since the federal constitutional right to abortion was overturned in June 2022, around 22 million women and girls of reproductive age in some US states now have no access to abortion. The signatories include Pregnancy Justice, Human Rights Watch, the Global Justice Center, and Amnesty International, and they are part of a broader coalition of groups and individual advocates for human rights and justice.

The letter claims that overturning the constitutional right to abortion goes against the US’s international obligations as a member of the United Nations. The US must uphold the rights to life, health, privacy, liberty and security and also ensure freedom from torture and inhumane, cruel, or degrading treatment, says the letter. The authors argue that the curtailing of abortion rights in the US reflects the country’s history of devaluing the lives of Black women, who are the worst affected by abortion restrictions.

The letter was addressed to several UN agencies and officials, including the Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The signatories ask for the recipients to communicate with the US about these violations, request an official visit to the US, and ask the country to comply with its obligations under international law as a UN member state.

The signatories list prior actions by the UN Human Rights Committee over abortion access in countries such as Ireland and El Salvador, arguing for similar scrutiny of the US. The letter notes that denial of abortion can cause “physical and mental suffering so severe in pain and intensity as to amount to torture”. The letter also details cases of several patients who had to travel out of state for an abortion after being refused care for an ectopic pregnancy and others who were denied chemotherapy care due to pregnancy.

The signatories accuse the Biden administration of doing too little to address the issue, despite consistent lip service from the administration. The authors argue that even with the loss of Roe, the Biden administration could make abortion drugs more readily available by removing unnecessary regulations on certain drugs.