The US special representative for global women’s health Valerie Huber has emboldened anti-choice groups in the city at a recently held International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi , Kenya saying in a statement that the US will only support family planning programmes that offer alternatives to abortions.
She also told the summit on population and development that her country sought to combat gender-based violence by investing in programmes that respected the rights of women and girls, but didn’t compromise “the inherent value of every human life – born and unborn”.
She added that her statement was not an endorsement of the three-day summit, held to mark the 25th anniversary of ICPD, where world leaders have pledged to redouble efforts to end preventable maternal death, satisfy family planning demand and stop violence and harmful practices.
The conference, which began on Tuesday, has attracted opposition from anti-choice groups, who held their own events in the city.
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition to reject “the pro-abortion and sexualisation agenda at [the]ICPD+25 Nairobi summit”.
A “pro-life and pro-family march”, organised by the Kenya Christian Professional Forum and planned for Thursday, was postponed by police for security reasons.
In her statement, Huber, an advocate of abstinence-only sex education, said the US remained committed to preventing child marriage, female genital mutilation and people trafficking.
She added that while the US was committed to continued funding for family planning, programmes should offer women alternatives to abortion.
“The US is committed to promoting a healthy understanding of child spacing and non-coercive family planning to help couples either achieve or prevent pregnancy. The US is the largest bilateral funder for family planning. That hasn’t changed,” said Huber.
“Our global health programmes, including those for family planning, are consistent with the ICPD pronouncement that abortion is not a method of family planning and that programmes should seek to provide women alternatives to abortion.”
Her comments came as more than 200 organisations from over 50 countries published a call to action to demand urgent advances in sexual and reproductive rights around the world. (Source: The Guardian)