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USAID to stop providing US contraceptives to MSI  Charity-  03 Oct 2008 Source: PA News

Family planning charity Marie Stopes International  has blasted the Bush administration for telling six African governments to stop giving it US-donated contraceptives.

The move by the US State Department and US Agency (USAID) for International Development affects Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

USAID says Marie Stopes is a major player in a United Nations program in China that, the Bush administration says, promotes coerced abortion and sterilisation. "Given these circumstances, USAID made the policy decision to inform governments in these countries that it does not want USAID-funded commodities to be provided to Marie Stopes International," the State Department, which oversees USAID, said, under the GAG Rule (Kemp-Kasten Amendment), the government must withhold aid to agencies and groups found to support or participate in management of family planning programs abroad that involve abortion or coerced sterilisation.

But MSI, one of the world's largest family planning organisations, said the move was "purely political" and dangerous because it could result in more abortions, maternal deaths and health problems for poor African women and girls.

"Only the Bush administration could find logic in the idea that they can somehow reduce abortion and promote choice for women in China by causing more abortions and gutting choice for women in Africa," it said.

The Bush Administration, itself, reviewed UNFPAís activities in China, 2001 and determined they did not violate the GAG RULE, nevertheless they canceled $34 million funding, repeating the prohibition each year after.