USAID stops Marie Stopes in its tracks

08 Oct 2008

By The Record

WASHINGTON DC (CNA) – Assistant Administrator for Global Health Dr Kent Hill with the US Agency for International Development has denied funding to the UK-based abortion organisation Marie Stopes International (MSI) on the grounds that it is complicit in “coercive abortion and involuntary sterilisations” 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 US foreign aid from funding any organisation that “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation.”
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 AUS$28.7 million.
In 2002, the Bush Administration canceled AUS$45.37 million, repeating the prohibition each year after, because of evidence provided by PRI showing that the organisation was involved in forced abortions and forced sterilisations.