By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
(New York C-FAM) The European Commission is using development funds to pay for abortions in countries that restrict the procedure and funding the two largest abortion providers in the world, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, according to a new report by European Dignity Watch.
The report The Funding of Abortion through EU Development Aid reveals Marie Stopes International received over $30 million from the European Union. The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, a high level global partnership that includes the UNFPA and provides abortion kits to developing countries, was given close to $32 million over a 30-month period ending in June 2011.
The report discloses that EU money was spent to fund abortions in developing countries with strict abortion laws through the EU’s Development Aid and Public Health budgets for projects related to “sexual and reproductive health.” But European Dignity Watch (EDW) says the “term ‘sexual and reproductive health’ as defined by the EU excludes abortion explicitly”.
International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International asked and received funding projects that included “safe abortion,” “emergency contraception,” “training in manual vacuum aspiration,” and “menstrual regulation” to admittedly bypass legal restrictions on abortions in countries like Bangladesh, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru.
The term “menstrual regulation,” the report explains, is a less explicit term for surgical abortions. It is described by Planned Parenthood as the process of emptying the uterus through the high-powered suction created by a manual vacuum aspirator. The device is inserted in the dilated cervix of a woman who “suspects” being pregnant rather than one who “knows” she is pregnant. After the procedure, it is impossible to tell whether a woman was pregnant unless the extracted tissue, which may include an implanted embryo, is examined microscopically.
The report denounces the European Commission, which manages the budget of the European Union, for acting illegally. The report asserts that the Commission does not have the authority to fund abortions because of the limited authority of the Commission, the Commission’s own statements, and the need for consensus to act on foreign policy. Each EU member state has a seat on the Commission, and several EU countries have strict abortion laws.
European Dignity Watch based the report on disclosures from a document request for all papers and correspondence between the EU Commission, the two abortion giants, and the Center for Reproductive Rights for the period running from 2005 to 2010. Not all the information requested from the EU Commission was handed over. The report calls the findings so far “cursory” and asks EU Parliamentarians to investigate further and take action.
The report was presented at the European Parliament in Brussels during an event that was part of the “Week for Life” initiative organized by EU Parliamentarians held in March.
For decades, public funding of abortion in Europe would not have been considered controversial. European Dignity Watch, which was formed in 2010, is just one of many recently formed politically active pro-life organizations in Europe. This development shows how the pro-life movement is gaining momentum in Europe.
Stefano Gennarini writes for C-FAM. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (http://www.c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.