Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) yesterday announced their plan to introduce legislation reversing Bush’s policy, and have already garnered the support of several pro-family planning Republican legislators. Tens of thousands of women in developing nations will die each year as a result of George W. Bush’s first executive order reinstating the Reagan/Bush Sr. policy that bars family planning programs outside the U.S. that receive federal aid from using separate, private monies for abortion counseling.
Programs that provide a wide range of resources, including gynecological exams, AIDS prevention and treatment, and contraception, will be forced to lose a large percentage of their operating costs, or to discontinue services formerly paid for by private dollars. With no other option, young women in developing nations will again turn to illegal abortions, too many of them dying as a result of serious infections. “This is going to affect 13, 14, 15 year-old girls in developing nations,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “These girls will face death from botched, illegal abortion as well as the brutal treatment inflicted on unmarried, pregnant women in many countries: acid attacks, beatings, and death.”