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UK funding to abort the babies of the poor condemned by pro life group SPUC

4 January 2011

London, 4 January 2011: The British government should not be spending tax-payers' money on aborting the babies of poor people in the developing world, says the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), an internationally-active UK-based pro-life group.

SPUC was responding to the recent announcement by the Department for International Development (DFID) that plans to spend an extra £2.1 billion on programmes including abortion and contraception. It is reported that adolescent girls in poor countries will be a target for UK interventions (see note 1 below).

Peter Smith, SPUC’s specialist in international affairs, said: "It is farcical for the government to talk about safe abortions in situations without sterile surgical facilities, safe blood transfusion or emergency back-up. Running abortion clinics in slums, shanty towns and the bush will harm or kill women as well as killing babies.

"Among the abortion organisations that the UK government currently funds, one runs 30 clinics in South Africa, with 10 so-called mini-clinics in poor townships. The organisations says they are cheap to run, relying on pre-fab buildings, basic equipment and minimal levels of staffing (note 2). Since this group started working in South Africa, the maternal death rate, according to the UN, has increased over four-fold (note 3). If this kind of intervention is multiplied, the deaths of unborn children and maternal deaths can be expected to increase, not decrease.

"And what is UK doing bankrolling illegal child sex around the world by promoting contraception for minors? We should learn the lesson of the disastrous government-funded attempts to reduce teenage abortions in the UK, which have focused on providing contraception. There has been a 13% increase in abortions among under 18s in the past 10 years, and a spiralling incidence of sexually-transmitted infections", concluded Mr Smith.

Notes: 1) The Guardian, 31 December 2010 2) Marie Stopes International, and 3) UN Demographic Yearbook 2001, table 17 ; UN Demographic Yearbook 2008, table 17

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