DFID minister says she is proud to champion abortion

24 May 2019

baroness sugg 
Baroness Sugg

More aid money for overseas abortion

A minister for the Department of International Development will today use a speech in Norway to criticise pro-life laws in America and to boast about the UK’s role in promoting abortion overseas.

“Vital sexual and reproductive health services”.

Baroness Sugg, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DFID is due to make the remarks at the UN conference on Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Humanitarian Crises in Oslo.

She says that victims of gender-based violence need access to “vital sexual and reproductive health services”.

That she includes abortion in these “services” is apparent from the next lines of her speech.

“We must also stand strongly against the rollback of women’s rights. That’s why I’m proud UK aid will continue to champion, defend and support access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services for the world’s poorest women and girls and those affected by humanitarian crises.”

Funding aboriton giants

Baroness Sugg pledged “£7 million this year to support UNFPA’s humanitarian operations within Syria to reduce the risk of gender-based violence.” The United Nations Population fund is one of the leading promoters of abortion worldwide, and have funded China’s coercive population control policies.

This is only the latest example of UK taxpayers money being given to organisations that promote abortion and population control.  Last month, the then International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, announced a £42 million programme to look at what she called the “neglected issue” of safe abortion in developing countries. The money went to Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation – two of the world’s largest abortion providers.

As both these ministers say, the UK is a leader in exporting abortion overseas. Britain was already the second biggest funder of family planning programmes in the world before Theresa May pledged a further £200 million for family planning last year. This is despite a ComRes poll showing that 65% of the public oppose UK taxpayer money being spent on abortions overseas.

Life-saving?

They also both insist that “sexual and reproductive health services” are “life-saving”. However, The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Icai) last year slammed DFID for focusing on family planning at the expense of maternal health, and questioned the claims made about lives saved. Most damningly, the report says: "most maternal deaths result from intentional pregnancies, rather than accidental ones, and are therefore not prevented by access to contraception...We find that DFID did not pursue the strengthening of health systems to provide quality maternal care with the same intensity as it did for family planning, nor did it do enough to address the barriers that the poorest women face in accessing health services."

Icai is not alone in raising serious concerns that DFID pushes the abortion agenda at the expense of women's lives. As Fiorella Nash explores in detail in her new book, The Abolition of Woman, the push to end "unsafe abortion" (which is given no clear definition) means resources are diverted from interventions which are known to reduce maternal mortality.