Anyone with any remaining doubt might like to reflect on the foot-dragging over the Canadian government's funding of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. That's the family planning umbrella body that the Bush administration cut off from funds on the basis that its member organisations will counsel women who come asking for abortions. The UK, in the teeth of the "special relationship" with the USA, boosted its funding to make up for some of the shortfall. The USA has now reinstated grants.Expect questions to be asked in the House and blanket denials to follow. Recommend this Post
But the last IPPF contract with Canada ended in December. This is what its spokesman Paul Bell told me:
"We submitted our new proposal for funding in June 2009 and have so far not heard if or when we might get refunded. It isn't unusual for Governments to be slow in renewing contracts or to delay payments – all too frequent in fact – but this is different we've not even had an indication of when we might expect to hear one-way-or-the-other.
"The irony is that Canadian funding is used to cover a wide range of maternal and child health services via IPPF country partners – when I was in Uganda two years ago we were doing family planning, maternal health, child immunization and nutrition, malaria bed net distribution and HIV services all bundled together under a Canadian project in the slums of Kampala. The sort of thing that their G8 initiative will probably want to see covered."
Beside endangering the lives of women in the poorest countries, this reluctance to embrace family planning as part of a G8 initiative is toe-curlingly embarrassing for all those countries, like the UK and now the USA as well, that wholeheartedly support it. Let's hope international development ministers are hitting the phone to Canada even now. (emphasis mine)
Saturday, March 20, 2010
From yesterday's Manchester Guardian (yes the British Press is taking note):