U.S. ban on foreign abortion funds hits family planning work in Ethiopia: NGO

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-13 18:31:45|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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ADDIS ABABA, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The United States government reinstatement of bans on groups that provide abortions is endangering family planning works being done in Ethiopia, according to an NGO official.

Adam Zeleke, a Senior official at the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) which at 51 years old is Ethiopia's oldest family planning organization, says on Thursday up to 10 percent of their annual funds are affected by the ban.

In January, the administration of new U.S. President Donald Trump reinstated funding ban for international family planning charities that provide abortion or actively support the procedure.

Originally banned under the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984 from Republican Party, it was repealed by President Barrack Obama of Democratic Party in 2009 highlighting partisan divisions over abortion in the United States itself.

The volunteer based FGAE, through its 52 service delivery clinics, gives abortion services provided that the fetus or the expectant mother life is in danger, for individuals under 18 years of age, for victims of rape and incestuous relationship and for those who cannot afford to raise a child.

But the ban on abortion-related funds which amount to 20 million plus U.S. dollars annually has affected other gender and contraceptive services which have been mixed up in the ban, according to FGAE.

"FGAE gives reproductive health services to more than 500,000 people annually, helping cut the birth rate of Ethiopia's ballooning population from 7 children per family in 1992 to 3.2 in 2016," says Zeleke.

FGAE also says contraceptive use in the same period has jumped from 4 percent to 32 percent of the general population.

With a population nearing 100 million, mostly youth, Ethiopia is facing the challenge of feeding its population and providing job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of new job seekers annually.

The U.S. government provides FGAE funds through its own institution Center for Disease Control (CDC), the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and an NGO Pathfinder Ethiopia.

"Although the funding ban amounts to just 10 percent of our funds, the fact that we the U.S. government was the largest provider of funds to abortion services will affect our services greatly," says Zeleke.