‘Women doomed to bleak futures’: Planned Parenthood launches legal action against UK over aid cuts

Planned Parenthood is set to launch legal action against the UK government’s decision to drastically cut aid budgets – warning women and girls affected by the changes to face a “dark and uncertain future”.

The organization, which provides abortions and other reproductive health care in the United States and around the world, said the changes would have “catastrophic” repercussions on millions of “the most vulnerable” around the world.

Planned Parenthood’s own funding is affected by ministerial aid cuts, as the UK Foreign Office pledged up to £ 21million for their programs that strengthen sexual health rights and reproductive health of the “most marginalized and underserved people” around the world.

This could reach up to £ 72million in lost funding over the next three years, the charity has warned.

People struggling to survive in extreme and desperate poverty, as well as those living in humanitarian crises and people with HIV and AIDS, the activists said.

It comes after the UK slashed foreign aid spending from 0.7 to 0.5% of national income – which works out to around £ 4 billion – in November.

MPs voted 333 to 298, a majority of 35, in favor of cutting millions of dollars in foreign aid spending on Tuesday, despite some senior Conservative MPs voting against the measure.

The ministers insisted that the cuts are a “temporary” decision made in the context of soaring government spending during the pandemic.

Planned Parenthood has said the government’s decision to cut the aid budget without revising a law called the International Development Act 2015 is illegal.

The organization has alerted the UK government to its intention to seek an urgent judicial review of its decision to end funding for Planned Parenthood unless the government reconsiders.

Dr Alvaro Bermejo, executive director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said that since learning about the reduction in the overseas aid budget, they had “taken every opportunity” to show “l ‘illegality’ of the cuts.

He warned of “the catastrophic impact they will have on millions of women, girls and marginalized people around the world, and the thousands of lives that will be lost in the process.”

Dr Bermejo added: “Unfortunately, the government ignored our warnings, choosing instead to end the ACCESS grant.

“This means that the International Planned Parenthood Federation has been forced to send a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State, asking for an urgent review of the decision. We were even more disappointed by yesterday’s motion in the House of Commons to introduce lasting changes without going through the proper legislative process.

“The International Planned Parenthood Federation did not take this decision lightly. This action aims to fight against the injustice of the government’s decision on behalf of the women and girls we serve ”.

Planned Parenthood argued that a “rushed debate and vote” in parliament is not “enough” to change “primary legislation” on aid – adding that there must be more “parliamentary oversight” for a a measure that ultimately places the “life and well-being” of millions of women and girls at risk around the world.

The Planned Parenthood program hit by the cuts is helping people living in Lebanon, Mozambique, Uganda and Nepal.

it comes after The independent recently reported that the substantial reduction in the overseas aid budget would result in the deaths of 23,500 women during pregnancy, childbirth or as a result of unsafe abortions gone awry.

MSI Reproductive Choices, a leading reproductive health charity, estimates maternal deaths will be the result of cuts to its services, leaving 6.5 million more people in the most “marginalized and remote” areas unable to cope. ” get the contraception they “desperately” need. .

Data, shared exclusively with The independent, shows that the cuts will cause 2 million more unsafe abortions on the streets and 7 million unwanted pregnancies.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry has been contacted for comment.

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About Natalee Broderick

Natalee Broderick

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