Saturday, January 31, 2009

One of the first orders of business: Obama repeals abortion gag law for NGOs in developing nations

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Nairobi's sprawling Kibera slum is far from America but not from America's battle over abortion.

Aid workers and experts say President Barack Obama's decision to allow aid money to flow again to international groups that offer abortion counseling will help restart programs desperately needed in Africa, the continent hardest hit by a so-called "gag rule."

Dr. Walter Odhiambo, the country director for Marie Stopes Kenya, said his family planning organization had been limping along on European aid because of the U.S. rule Obama overturned on Jan. 23 in one of his first presidential acts. Now, Odhiambo said, he would be applying for U.S. funds he hoped to use to expand counseling and other services, particularly in rural Kenya.

"Family planning was not given the prominence it needs," Odhiambo said.

The policy banned U.S. government money from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion. Its critics call it the "global gag rule," because it prohibits funding for groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method. That can affect a range of services provided by private groups on a continent where governments can meet few of their citizens' health needs.

"The biggest impact has been in sub-Saharan Africa," said Wendy Turnbull, a researcher for Washington-based Population Action International, which lobbies on family planning issues and applauded Obama's move.

The rest of this article can be read here.

Those of us adopting from Africa or other third world nations realize that adoption is merely a drop in the bucket of aid to these impoverished orphans. But at least we are helping in some small way. When I Google this topic I see a lot of horror show pictures of aborted fetuses, obviously Pro-Life websites. I'd like to ask those people if they have ever seen starvation and the suffering brought on by an epidemic of AIDS first hand. What are those people doing to help the children born in the past 8 years because their mothers weren't educated on their options? Other than across the board proselytizing pro-life scare tactics? What are my readers thoughts on this?


Angela said...

Hi Mika,

When I tell people about the plight of African woman and children, they somehow want to blame the women for their lack of family planning- even in third world nations! AUGH!

These women don't have birth control options of any kind. Family planning encompasses all birth control methods, not just abortion. It so unfair these women have been denied access to birth control for so many years.

T5M said...

I wonder how safe an abortion would be in a third world country? The medical facilities seems to lack sanitation, and certainly grief counseling for women. If we look at the root cause of the orphan epidemic, it's AIDs and lack of birth control. I think our funds would be better spent on education an condoms - which would prevent both AIDS and pregnancy.

Just my opinion.

AdoptedAsHisOwn said...

My comment is that no matter the conditions life is a gift..... period. My heart breaks thinking that people are so lukewarm over this subject and I say this with so much love. There is hope and abortion will never be the answer.
In Christ, Aimee'

Adopting1Soon said...

The NGOs were not allowed to educate on contraception either under the Bush administration if they also wanted to educate on abortion options. Now they are allowed to educate on contraception, safe sex, and right to choose, as well as adoption, and hopefully helping birth families say together when possible. The only option for the last 8 years has basically been abstinence (which in countries filled with war and rape is absurd). From the article: "Turnbull applauded the Bush administration for spending millions to fight AIDS and other health threats in Africa, but said the gag rule undermined that effort.For instance, she said, groups that could have helped distribute the condoms the U.S. was supplying to fight AIDS were denied funding because of their stance on abortion."

I thank all three of you for your opinions and respectful tones.