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Niger shuts down Marie Stopes clinics over illegal abortions

28 November 2018

 
Marie Stopes only started operating in Niger in 2014, and has already been accused of carrying out illegal abortions.

MSI's illegal practices in Africa are being exposed

For the second time in as many weeks, an African country has taken action against Marie Stopes International (MSI) for carrying out illegal abortions.

Less than two weeks after Kenya ordered the abortion giant to "immediately cease and desist offering any form of abortion services", the West African country of Niger has ordered the closure of two clinics run by Marie Stopes.

"We have decided to close this charity on grounds of a 2006 law which bans abortions," said Health Minister Idi Illiassou. "Our inquiries have shown that this non-governmental organisation is enabling the voluntary interruption of pregnancy" which is not authorised by the partnership agreement MSI has with Niger. 

Flouting the law

According to Mr Illiassou, the British organisation has been terminating pregnancies through a method of "manual vacuum aspiration for a fee of 30,000 CFA francs (£40)", despite the abortion only being legal in Niger when the mother's life is at risk. It is clear that abortions were being carried out for other reasons, as the closure order relating to the two centres run by MSI in Niamey, the capital, and in Maradi, the country's economic hub, reads: "The voluntary interruption of pregnancy should never be considered as a method of contraception, in any case."

MSI only began operations in Niger in 2014, and its website focuses on their aim of "increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate in the country to 50% by 2020". Abortion is not mentioned.

Mr Illiassou said that the government would take legal steps against those involved, and a source at the Health ministry told AFP that police were currently searching for the charity's "Nigerien accomplices" who had fled.

Britain funding illegal abortions in Africa

Obianuju Ekeocha of Culture of Life Africa has worked to expose MSI's record of performing illegal abortions in a number of African countries, such as in her new documentary, Strings Attached. She has also repeatedly slammed Western countries funding abortion and contraception as a means of alleviating poverty as a form of "ideological colonisation".

Britain's Department for International Development (Dfid) is by far the biggest single contributor to Marie Stopes International, giving the abortion giant £44 million in 2017. It is also one of the beneficiaries of an additional £200 million the Prime Minister recently earmarked for family planning in Africa and Asia.   

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