January 14, 2010
Secretary Clinton Announces 5-year Funding Push, Including Abortion
By Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.
(NEW YORK – C-FAM) In Washington last week, United States (U.S.) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the United States would engage in a massive funding push over the next five years to promote “reproductive health care and family planning” as a “basic right” around the word. Clinton has previously stated for the record that this includes abortion. The plan includes potentially siphoning off funds currently directed towards fighting HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and malaria.
Commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the controversial International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Clinton said there were only five years left to achieve ICPD’s goal that “all governments will make access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services a basic right.”
Last April, in testimony before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, when asked whether the United States' definition of “reproductive health" includes abortion, Clinton replied that, "We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women's health and reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal and rare."
In her remarks last week Clinton specifically emphasized the importance of the abortion component of the Obama foreign policy by saying,“One of President Obama’s first actions in office was to overturn the Mexico City policy, which greatly limited our ability to fund family planning programs.” The 1984 Mexico City Policy required all non-governmental organizations that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a method of family planning, in other countries. In fact, notwithstanding Clinton’s assertions, the ICPD outcome document likewise rules out abortion as a method of family planning.
Despite the economic downturn, Clinton announced that “The U.S. Congress recently appropriated more than $648 million in foreign assistance to family planning and reproductive health programs worldwide.…the largest allocation in more than a decade.” The “centerpiece” of the Obama foreign policy, she said, would be the Global Health Initiative. She said the initiative “commits us to spending $63 billion over six years.” This will link the reproductive rights agenda to high profile global health concerns. Launched by the World Economic Forum in 2002, the initiative is supposed to focus on HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, and malaria.
The plan to link abortion rights to the Global Health Initiative through the issue of maternal and child health was announced at the 2007 United Nations (UN)-sponsored “Women Deliver” conference by abortion rights groups such as International Planned Parenthood and Center for Reproductive Rights as well as the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). At that time, these groups also called for linking abortion rights to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by inserting a target for “universal access to reproductive health” under MDG 5 on maternal health. Critics see this as a stratagem to dip into funds previously directed to fights AIDS and other diseases.
Last week Clinton pledged U.S. commitment to the reproductive health target, saying,“We have pledged new funding, new programs, and a renewed commitment to achieve Millennium Development Goal Five, namely a [three-fourths] reduction in global maternal mortality, and universal access to reproductive healthcare.” That target has never been accepted by the General Assembly in open debate, and was soundly rejected the last time it was raised in 2005.