The British government plans to spend £600 million over the next five years to fund abortions and contraception in countries across the world, officials announced Monday at the United Nations.
The Telegraph reports most of the funding ($748 million in U.S. dollars) will go to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The agency has been linked to forced and coerced abortions and sterilizations in China, and the Trump administration stopped funding it in 2017.
Some of the British taxpayers’ funding also will go to the abortion chain Marie Stopes International, which has a long history of troubling abortion practices. As recently as 2016, health inspectors discovered such alarming health problems inside its British facilities that the government temporarily forced Marie Stopes to stop doing some abortions.
Despite serious concerns about these groups’ practices, abortion activists celebrated the funding announcement Monday. They praised the UK for promoting “women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights,” according to the report.
“The UK is committed to defending and promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights,” Alok Sharma, UK International Development Secretary, told the United Nations. “This UK aid will help give millions of women and girls control over their bodies, so they can choose if, when and how many children they want. That is a basic right that every woman and girl deserves.”
According to the report, the money will pay for abortions, contraception and other family planning services for about 20 million women in dozens of countries between 2020 and 20205.
“It’s fantastic to see [the UK Department for International Development] showing international leadership on this, and the fact that it’s backed up with financial resource commitment with continuity up until 2025 is fantastic,” said Bethan Cobley, director of policy and partnerships at Marie Stopes.
“It’s also crucial that this has been framed as being important to give women and girls control over their bodies – this is about basic rights around choice and access,” she continued.
Marie Stopes operates almost 500 facilities in 37 countries, providing abortions, contraception and other services. It has been accused of doing hundreds of illegal, unsafe abortions in Africa. In 2017, parents and community leaders in Kitui, Kenya were outraged after learning that Marie Stopes workers allegedly came into their children’s school and implanted long-lasting contraceptive devices into girls as young as 14 without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
Meanwhile, the United States, under the Trump administration, has been taking steps to protect unborn babies’ lives across the world.
In 2017, it stopped funding UNFPA because of links to forced and coerced abortions. The agency “partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies,” the Trump administration said in defense of its decision. China’s oppressive population control measures have led to forced and coerced abortions up through nine months of pregnancy, as well as forced and coerced sterilizations.
In April, Trump officials also intervened to stop the UN from supporting abortion in a resolution to protect victims of rape. Then, this month, it sent a letter urging countries to unite against the UN’s pro-abortion agenda.
The Trump administration has been changing national and international policies to prioritize real human rights issues, including protections for unborn babies, as well. In 2018, the State Department removed references to the so-called “right” to abort an unborn baby from a global human rights report.
Trump also reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits taxpayer funding to groups that promote or provide abortions overseas. The change defunded Planned Parenthood’s international arm of about $100 million in U.S. tax dollars and Marie Stopes of about $73 million.