by Steven Ertelt
December 21, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has imposed sanctions on a pair of groups in Peru that used American tax money to promote the legalization of the morning-after pill.
As a result, each group will have to return a portion of its grant for violating USAID policy. The groups involved include the Peruvian ombudsman’s office, known as Defensoria del Pueblo, and a Peruvian feminist group called Manuela Ramos, which has received tens of millions of dollars in USAID funding.
The imposition of sanctions follows a complaint issued by the Population Research Institute’s (PRI’s) Latin American Director, Carlos Polo.
"We are pleased to see the strong response of USAID headquarters in response
to our complaint," said PRI President Steve Mosher.
"Too often in the past, USAID grantees have interfered in political and legal debates in Third World countries over abortion and related matters in violation of U.S. policy with no consequences," Mosher explained. "This decision sends a strong message to grantees to get out of the business of promoting abortion, including the morning-after pill, or risk losing all or part of your funding."
The federal government’s Mexico City policy bans the use of federal money for the promotion of changes in abortion law overseas. However, USAID follows FDA policy, which considers the morning-after pill to be emergency contraception rather than an abortifacient. This is the case, despite the fact that even promoters of the morning-after pill acknowledge that it sometimes causes an abortion rather than prevents conception.
In a letter to Polo earlier this month, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health, Kent Hill, wrote that it is USAID policy to remain neutral on emergency contraceptive pills in Peru because "this issue has proven particularly controversial in that country."
Polo added, "The point is not what the U.S. government thinks about emergency contraceptive pills but Peruvians’ laws and thinking."
PRI’s Vice President for Communications, Joseph D’Agostino, said, "Pro-life groups in other countries should monitor the activities of U.S.-funded feminist and environmentalist groups. If these groups promote the morning-after pill or other forms of abortion, they should document the activity and submit the evidence along with a complaint to USAID. We thank USAID for taking these steps in Peru."
Related web sites:
Population Research Institute – https://www.pop.org