UK addresses funding gap created by US anti-abortion stance

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday February 17, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Thursday February 16, 2006.

During the past 5 years, organisations such as the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International have lost millions of dollars in funding because of the US's strict anti-abortion stance, states an Editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

The USA refuses to fund organisations that promote or discuss safe-abortion services, even if they pay for those services with money obtained from other sources. However, last week the UK Department for International Development (DFID) announced that it would step in and donate 3 million over the next 2 years to The Global Safe Abortion Programme--a new initiative that aims to address the shortfall in funding for safe abortion services.

The Lancet comments: "In light of the USA's continued refusal to act on the consensus that safe abortions save lives, DFID's pledge will be essential if the third, fourth, and fifth Millennium Development Goals--to empower women, to save children's lives, and to reduce maternal mortality--have any chance of being reached."

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Contact: The Lancet press office T) 0207 424 4949/4249 pressoffice@lancet.com


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