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Global gag rule led to increase in abortion rates in Africa

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Summary of story from Planned Parenthood, September 29, 2011

Planned Parenthood has said it was not surprised by a new study which shows abortion rates in Africa increased during  the period the global gag rule was in effect.

The rule prohibits foreign family planning agencies from receiving US funding if they provide, counsel, refer or lobby for abortion services, even with their own funding.

Latanya Mapp Frett, vice president, Global, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said: “This evidence conforms what we have seen on the ground in the countries where we work.

“Restricting access to providers of comprehensive reproductive health services does not reduce the need for abortion.

“It drives poor women to risk death and injury by seeking unsafe abortion care from unskilled providers.”

Authors Eran Bendavid, Patrick Avila and Grant Miller, all of Stanford University, reviewed demographic and health surveys of 20 African nations and found abortion rates increased in countries most affected by the US foreign aid policy.

The researchers compared women’s likelihood of having had abortions for years when the global gag rule was in place and compared those odds to years when the policy had been lifted.

The gag rule, sometimes referred to as the Mexico City Policy, was first introduced by President Reagan but was rescinded by President Obama.

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