African Family Planning Clinics Losing Ground to HIV/AIDS Programs Due to Lack of Integration, Funding Restrictions
Family planning clinics in Africa are losing funding and support due to Bush administration regulations on family planning funding and a lack of integration of family planning and HIV/AIDS services, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Although the United States was once the largest source of funding for family planning programs in the world, the Bush administration last year cut funding completely for the United Nations Population Fund, a major donor organization for international family planning groups (Itano, Christian Science Monitor, 11/5). The Bush administration in July 2002 decided to officially withhold $34 million in funds for UNFPA citing allegations that the organization "tacitly perpetuates a 'one-child' policy in China that has led to abortions and sterilizations against women's will." The alleged forced abortion and sterilizations would violate the 1984 Kemp-Kasten amendment, which prohibits federal funding for programs that support "coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization" (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 7/23/02). In addition, Bush in September issued an executive order that prevents the State Department from giving family planning grants to international groups that provide abortion-related counseling. The policy is an expansion of an executive order Bush issued in 2001 that restricts the U.S. Agency for International Development from providing aid to international organizations that use their own funds to provide abortions or abortion counseling or to lobby foreign governments on abortion policy (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/2). According to a new United Nations report, one in 16 women in Africa die during pregnancy -- often because of abortion-related complications. Although abortion is illegal in Kenya and most sub-Saharan African countries -- except when necessary to save the life of the woman -- the World Health Organization estimates that 75% of all abortions occur in the developing world.
HIV/AIDS Takes Precedence
In addition to family planning funding cuts, Africa's fight against HIV/AIDS has taken precedence over family planning, the Monitor reports. International family planning funding worldwide fell 36.8% between 1994 and 2001 to $356 million, while HIV/AIDS funding over the same period grew 300% to $587 million, according to the International Planned Parenthood Federation. In addition, AIDS has caused the number of orphans to "skyrocket," making it increasingly difficult for families to care for additional unplanned children, according to the Monitor. "Everything now is about HIV/AIDS," Linus Ettyang, program manager of the Family Planning Association of Kenya, said, adding, "The tragedy is that loss of that funding for family planning will lead to more abortions and more women dying in childbirth." Advocates say that the fundamental problem is that HIV/AIDS programs and family planning programs are largely unintegrated, the Monitor reports (Christian Science Monitor, 11/5). Bush's executive order banning funding for international family planning groups that counsel on abortion exempts agencies in Africa and the Caribbean that would benefit from Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative. Bush said that even if such groups promoted family planning or provided abortion services, they could still receive funds under the initiative if they used them to treat people with HIV/AIDS (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/2).