USAID to sto 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 programme 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.
The US does not give any direct assistance to the group but is a leading family planning health provider and one of several distributors of US-donated "contraceptive commodities", including condoms and intrauterine devices, in some of Africa's least-developed countries.
Under US law, 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 programmes 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 abortion and gutting choice for women in Africa," it said.
The Bush Administration reviewed UNFPA’s activities in 2001 and determined they did not violate the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, nevertheless they canceled $34 million funding, repeating the prohibition each year after
USAID denies funding to international abortion group complicit in coercive abortions
.- Assistant Administrator for Global Health Dr. Kent Hill with the U.S. Agency for International Development has denied funding to the UK-based abortion organization Marie Stopes International (MSI) on the grounds that it is complicit in “coercive abortion and involuntary sterilizations” in China.
MSI has denied the accusations, the Population Research Institute (PRI) reports in its weekly briefing.
PRI president Steven W. Mosher applauded the decision, saying MSI’s “aggressive promotion of abortion, and its longstanding collaboration with China's coercive program leave little doubt that it is not only aware of the massive human rights abuses that have resulted in that country, but is actively collaborating with it.”
According to Mosher, the USAID decision will cut back MSI’s population control programs in a number of African countries, including Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.
MSI claimed that the lack of funding would leave African women few options besides abortion.
Mosher responded to this claim, calling it “particularly risible, coming as it does from the very agency that is responsible for many of the abortions that are performed in Africa in the first place.”
He also claimed that PRI investigations have revealed that MSI is “one of the biggest abortion actors in Kenya.”
Mosher praised USAID’s decision, saying:
“The Bush Administration is to be congratulated for its consistent enforcement of a policy that is supported by the vast majority of the American people--a policy in which PRI is proud to have played a part--and which benefits women and girls by defunding predatory agencies which seek to rob them of their fertility. Marie Stopes International needs to decide what its purpose is: performing abortions, often in violation of national laws, or providing legitimate health care to women.”
Mosher explained that the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, passed during the Reagan presidential administration, prohibits U.S. foreign aid from funding any organization that “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”
President Ronald Reagan first invoked the law to deny funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) because of its complicity with China’s one-child policies, Mosher said in the PRI briefing.
The George W. Bush Administration reviewed UNFPA’s activities in 2001 and determined they did not violate the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, granting it $21.5 million. In 2002, the Bush Administration canceled $34 million, repeating the prohibition each year after, because of evidence provided by PRI showing that the organization was involved in forced abortions and forced sterilizations.