USAID cuts fund for Marie Stops Ladies amid Trump's abortion rule
Trump in January 2017 bans funding to any foreign NGO carrying out or offering advice on abortions anywhere.
- Burkina Faso
The Marie Stopes ladies of Burkina Faso are facing a situation where they need to stop working from June onwards. Ten ladies working in remote areas and in villages of Burkina Faso offering advice on family planning and reproductive healthcare are entirely funded by USAID.
The USAID money for the MS Ladies in northern Burkina was due to run out in April but UK development agency, UK Aid, stepped in to keep it afloat until June.
Trump in January 2017 banned funding to any foreign NGO carrying out or offering advice on abortions anywhere. The goal is to please Christian conservatives who strongly oppose abortion and are a major part of Trump's political base.
MSI and the International Planned Parenthood Federation are among only four to reject the conditions of the order. They offer abortion services, in accordance with local rules, and say it is the last resort in preventing unwanted or unsafe births.
USAID says 733 other NGOs still receive funding. But in Africa, MSI and IPPF are the two largest NGO providers of free contraception and family planning advice.
The NGOs say the contraceptive programmes are crucial in Burkina, where the fertility rate is 5.5 births per woman.
In some villages the MS Ladies operate from government centres, supplementing the limited services on offer. The same grant also pays for training for health workers in 80 government clinics.
MSI says the cuts mean programmes affecting thousands of people in Burkina Faso are under threat.
The US policy says foreign NGOs must certify that they will not "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in foreign countries or provide financial support to any other foreign (NGO) that conducts such activities," as a pre-condition for getting global family planning aid from the US government.
(With inputs from Reuters)