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USAID Bans Supplies to Leading Family Planning Organization

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gave instructions to its staff in several African nations yesterday to no longer provide US funded contraception supplies to Marie Stopes International (MSI). MSI is one of the largest family planning organizations in the world.

According to the Africa Science News Service, Assistant Administrator for Global Health Kent Hill said the new instructions were issued because MSI also works with the Chinese government, whom he said participates in “coercive abortion and involuntary sterilizations.” Under the Kemp-Kasten Amendment (see PDF) of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1985, US foreign aid cannot be given to any organization that, according to the President, “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”

MSI Chief Executive Dana Hovig said in a press release that MSI does not support coercive abortions or involuntary sterilizations in any country, including China. “MSI is one of the few organizations that has worked over the past decade to increase the availability of voluntary, client-centered family planning services in China,” Hovig said. He also stated the new instructions effect family planning programs in at least six African countries, including Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe — leaving many African women with few options to prevent pregnancy.

MSI administers sexual and reproductive health programs throughout 43 countries. MSI prevented more than five million unwanted pregnancies and, consequently, one million abortions globally in 2007, according to the Africa Science News Service.

Sources:

The Africa Science News Service 10/2/2008, Marie Stopes International 10/1/2008, Kemp-Kasten Amendment 10/2//2008