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According to news reports, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has issued a new directive requiring several African countries to stop providing United States-funded contraceptives to Marie Stopes International (MSI), one of the world’s leading abortion providers.

USAID decided to take action and pull support for MSI in Africa because of the organization’s collaboration with China’s draconian population program.

Under US law, any organization that “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization” is prohibited from receiving American foreign aid.

This law, also known as the Kemp-Kasten amendment, has been used since 2002 to deny funding to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The possibility that other complicit groups would also be affected was hinted at by the US State Department a few weeks ago when it once more withheld funds from UNFPA.

The US government informed Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe that it did not want any USAID-funded contraceptives to be provided to Marie Stopes International.

The AP reports that the US does not give any direct assistance to MSI, but that the organization is a leading family planning health provider in Africa and one of several distributors of US-donated contraceptive commodities, like condoms and intrauterine devices.

MSI chief executive Dana Hovig denied the allegations of cooperating with forced abortions in China, stating, “To the contrary, 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.” He blasted the USAID decision as “purely political and dangerous to the lives of women.”

The US State Department and USAID have said that the directive only affects MSI and that the same amount of US-donated contraceptives would be distributed in the African nations by other groups.

Marie Stopes has been a long-time advocate for abortion rights worldwide. For the past year, MSI has been collecting signatures for their “Global Safe Abortion” campaign which demands “for women’s access to legal, safe abortion to be recognized as a fundamental human right.” Pro-life initiatives to counter MSI’s campaign have also been launched.

This article is reprinted with permission from:
Samantha Singson NEW YORK, NY, October 6, 2008 (C-FAM)