WASHINGTON, D.C., February 21, 2020 (C-Fam) — A top abortion advocacy organization recently launched a report meant to discredit U.S. pro-life foreign policy, that instead demonstrated how the policy is supporting pro-life laws and norms in one African country.
The U.S.-based group CHANGE hosted an event in Washington, D.C. last week to present, “A Powerful Force,” a report finding that the U.S. Mexico City policy has put abortion in a negative light in Malawi, supporting a strong separation between abortion and health care, both in law and with regard to which organizations provide services on the ground.
The event included abortion activists from Malawi who said that U.S. foreign policies are hampering their work. Brian Ligomeka, who runs a journalism outlet to promote “sexual and reproductive health and rights, (SRHR)” said that efforts have been underway to expand Malawi’s abortion restrictions to include rape and incest exceptions. It is currently legal only to save the life of the mother. Ligomeka said, however, that since the expanded Mexico City Policy was introduced, advocacy to change the law has been reduced.
Several speakers, including Karl Hofmann, president of Population Services International, repeatedly characterized certain U.S. laws and policies as “belief-based, not fact-based.” In addition to the expanded Mexico City Policy,, this included provisions under the U.S. strategy to combat HIV that prohibit funding for groups that promote prostitution, as well as other pro-life foreign funding restrictions.
The report said the Mexico City Policy, “fortifies existing conservative religious beliefs and social norms that have made abortion taboo in Malawi.” This apparent alignment between U.S. policy and Malawian norms and laws is in contrast to the views of CHANGE, namely that U.S. policy “is a primary example of the ways in which U.S. global health assistance can be used by a powerful few to export narrow American ideologies with impunity.”
Foreign funding for ideological positions is not a U.S. monopoly. Ligomeka’s organization receives funding from Amplify Change, which channels money from Denmark and the Netherlands to local pro-abortion and pro-LGBT groups in developing regions. He is also a grantee of the Safe Abortion Action Fund, which is supported by the Netherlands and Norway.
Both the event and the report attempted to characterize CHANGE’s opposition to U.S. foreign policy as a clash between “evidence and human rights” and raw ideology. Nevertheless, the evidence included in the report — that U.S. pro-life funding requirements are having an affirming effect on existing pro-life advocacy abroad and chilling European-funded efforts to change pro-abortion laws in Africa — demonstrates that the U.S. policies, aimed at promoting protection for the unborn, are effective.
Even the term SRHR, the promotion of which is CHANGE’s central purpose, has never been accepted in any global agreement, nor defined in any international negotiation. The definition of SRHR used by CHANGE in their report was composed by The Lancet and the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research organization.
The report describes the different types of health providers in Malawi, from the Christian church-affiliated network of clinics that provide over a third of all health services in the country, to the affiliates of abortion giants International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International. The latter two groups are ineligible to receive U.S. funding under the expanded Mexico City Policy and have closed clinics as a result. The CHANGE report notes that the Christian clinics do not discriminate against anyone in providing services, but are not activists for SRHR.
Published with permission from C-Fam.