LIMA, December 19, 2005 ( – In response to a complaint from the Population Research Institute’s Latin American Director Carlos Polo, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has imposed sanctions on two groups in Peru that used American tax money to promote the legalization of the morning-after pill (MAP) in that country. Each will have to return part of their grant as a punishment for violating USAID policy.

“We are pleased to see the strong response of USAID headquarters in response to our complaint,” said PRI President Steve Mosher. “Too often in the past, USAID grantees have interfered in political and legal debates in Third World countries over abortion and related matters in violation of U.S. policy with no consequences. This decision sends a strong message to grantees to get out of the business of promoting abortion, including the morning-after pill, or risk losing all or part of your funding.”

The federal government’s Mexico City policy prohibits the use of federal money for the promotion of any changes in abortion laws overseas. Unfortunately, USAID follows FDA policy, which classifies MAP as “emergency contraception” rather than as an abortifacient, even though MAP’s medical promoters acknowledge that it sometimes causes an abortion rather than prevents conception. However, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Kent Hill wrote in a December 13 letter to Polo that it is USAID policy to remain neutral on what he calls “emergency contraceptive pills” (ECPs) in Peru because “this issue has proven particularly controversial” in that country.

“The point is not what the U.S. government thinks about ECPs but Peruvians’ laws and thinking,” said Polo. The two grantees from which USAID is seeking a so-far-unspecified amount of money are the Peruvian ombudsman’s office, Defensoria del Pueblo, and a major Peruvian feminist group, Mañuela Ramos, which has received tens of millions of dollars in USAID funding.

“Pro-life groups in other countries should monitor the activities of U.S.-funded feminist and environmentalist groups. If these groups promote the morning-after pill or other forms of abortion, they should document the activity and submit the evidence along with a complaint to USAID,” said Joseph A. D’Agostino, PRI’s Vice President for Communications. “We thank USAID for taking these steps in Peru.”


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