Responding swiftly to President Bush’s decision to cut the $34 million appropriated by Congress earlier this year for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the European Union (EU) stepped in with $31.8 million to fund projects by the UNFPA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Calling Bush’s decision “irresponsible and counterproductive,” EU officials Ñ anticipating Bush’s withdrawal Ñ submitted their request as soon as Bush took office and quickly secured approval by the 15-member governments, according the Associated Press.
The EU funds will benefit 22 developing nations where childbirth mortality rates are high and focus on pre and post-natal care, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS prevention, and pregnancy counseling, including “avoiding unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion,” reported Reuters Health.
The countries slated to receive the funds are Burkina Faso, Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Haiti, Jamaica, Lesotho, Madagascar, Muritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Surinam, Sudan, Tanzania, Tuvalu, and Zambia.
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