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Feminist News


March-13-96

Cut in Foreign Aid Will Jeopardize Women’s Health

A group of population organizations issued a study last week outlining the effects of a new law that “deeply cuts” U.S. aid for international family planning. The study showed that 7 million couples in developing countries who would have used modern contraceptives will no longer have access to them. This setback could result in 1.9 million more unplanned births, 1.6 million more abortions, 134,000 more infant deaths and 8,000 more women dying in childbirth and during pregnancy , including those resulting from unsafe abortions. The findings have inspired Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR) to try to rally “pro-life” groups to support his effort to restore the funds. Sen. Hatfield hopes to attach language to the spending bill to be passed by March 15 (to avoid a government shutdown) that would allow President Clinton to restore the funds if he certifies that the lack of aid will lead to a “significant increase” in abortions.

The Christian Coalition refuses to support Sen. Hatfield’s proposal because of the nature of the study which was conducted by the Futures Group, Population Action International, Population Reference Bureau, the Population Council, and the Alan Guttmacher Institute. Spokesperson Brian Lopina said “giving money to International Planned Parenthood” would not reduce abortions but reportedly made no mention of other potential effects of the aid cut.

Media Resources: Reuters - March 13, 1996