70,000 Women Died from Backstreet Abortions Last Year
Bush's 'pro-life' policies overseas are causing tens of thousands of women to seek back-street abortions. As a result, 70,000 have died. That's 39 dead women per day.
Critics of America's aid policy say some might have lived if the US had not withdrawn funding from clinics that provide safe services - or that simply tell women where to find them.At issue is the 'global gag rule,' which was reinstated by Bush on his first day in office in January 2001. The rule requires organizations applying for US funds to agree not to counsel women on abortion -- other than advising against it -- or provide abortion services.
The British government has decided to step in and give money to the organizations that have been cut off from American funding:
The Department for International Development will contribute £3m over two years. DFID and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) - whose clinics across the world have suffered badly - hope that others, particularly the Scandinavians, Dutch and Canadians, will be emboldened to put money in too.The death toll is highest in Kenya, where abortion is illegal or severely restricted.
"I think the UK is being very brave and very progressive in making this commitment," said Steven Sinding, director general of the IPPF. "We're deeply grateful for this gesture not only financially but also politically.
"Tens of thousands of women who depend on our services are not able to get them. We're committed to the expansion of safe abortion because in any society no matter how efficiently contraception is made available there will be unplanned and unwanted pregnancies."
The "global gag", he said, had increased the number of unsafe abortions by stopping funding to clinics that primarily provide contraception. "What I've never been able to figure out about American policy is why they persist in cutting down funding to organisations that are about preventing unwanted pregnancies."
If the so-called 'pro-lifers' get their way, this is what we'll face in the United States. The rich will have access to safe illegal abortions, but the poor will be left to die.