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SPUC Pro-Life: “She decides” conference does not allow African women to decide on abortion

1 March 2017

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has slammed the “She Decides” Conference taking place in Brussels tomorrow (2 March) for denying real choice to African women and promoting cultural imperialism. 

Governments including Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden are meeting in Brussels to discuss funding abortion in developing countries. 

She Decides is a global initiative set up in response to the US Government’s reinstating of the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits US funding from being used by organisations which promote abortion. She Decides’ stated aim is to support the “fundamental right [of women] to decide freely and for themselves whether, when and how many children they have”.

Antonia Tully of SPUC Pro-Life said SPUC rejects the premise of the organisation and added:

"Abortion is never safe for the baby. Moreover, it is very often not safe for the woman.

“Money being spent on promoting abortion is money not being spent on proper maternal care, or real healthcare.

"If these governments really want to help the women of Africa and other developing countries, they need to stop thinking that they know best, stop this blatant cultural imperialism, and work with these countries to deliver life-affirming solutions.

“This conference in no way lets women decide.

"Has anyone bothered to ask African women if they want foreign governments funding abortion, which in many cases isn’t even legal, in their countries? 

"This is a group of western European countries deciding that they know what is best for developing countries."

The She Decides website states: “She Decides will include contributions by governments, private sector, non-governmental organisations and citizens to ongoing initiatives that improve access to lifesaving contraceptives, family planning, sexuality education and/or safe abortion.”

But Mrs Tully said: 

"My own experience of working in Africa is that these cultures, which cherish life, resent being told how to plan their families. When I spoke to the chief of Dutse Alhaji village on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria, he expressed his astonishment at meeting a white woman who has six children. 'Why are we being told that we should only have two children?' he exclaimed. I’m afraid what we’re seeing here is cultural imperialism.”

Obianuju Ekeocha, President of Culture of Life Africa, agrees, and in this video message asks the European delegates to the She Decides Conference whether anyone bothered to ask the Africans for their opinion about funding abortion in their countries. 

"Many countries in the West, including Canada and the Netherlands have decided to come together to raise funds. Not funds for food in Africa. Not funds for water in Africa. Not funds that the Africans can use as they want. Instead, they are gathering together to raise millions of dollars that they are dedicating to the so called safe abortion. What is actually most disheartening is that these western countries have not even thought of asking the Africans what they want!"

The She Decides website states: “She Decides will include contributions by governments, private sector, non-governmental organisations and citizens to ongoing initiatives that improve access to lifesaving contraceptives, family planning, sexuality education and/or safe abortion.”

Notes to editors:

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