International Planned Parenthood's Strategic Goal: Increase Abortion Services by 82 Percent--in Africa

January 16, 2012 - 4:58 PM

africa

Maasai mother and children in Africa. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – In its strategic plan for Africa for the years 2010-215, the International Planned Parenthood Federation has set an organizational goal of increasing its "abortion services" in that part of the world by 82 percent.  

The number is in Figure 2, the “performance framework” of the plan (page 7), under “performance milestones/benchmarks” and notes its expectation of an “82 percent increase in abortion services: 212,021 services by 2013, and 273,656 by 2015.”

CNSNews.com asked Paul Bell, senior communication officer with IPPF based in the United Kingdom, a series of questions about the group’s strategic plan, including whether the 82 percent increase in “abortion services” by 2015 represents an increase in abortions specifically or abortions and other services.

"The numbers seen in relation to abortion services include post abortion care services following unsafe abortion, counseling services related to abortion, post-abortion family planning services and safe abortion services including medical and surgical abortions," said Bell. "IPPF does not seek to ‘increase’ the number of abortions, but to make abortion accessible and safe wherever women seek such services."

birth control

Birth control pills. (AP Photo)

According to Figure 2 in the strategic plan (on page 7), increases in “New Family Planning Users” is listed separately and states an expected 68 percent increase in “new users” of family planning by 2015 and a 64 percent increase in the “volume” of family planning services.

Also, in Table 1 – “Key result areas, outcomes, outputs and selected indicators, IPPFAR strategic plan 2010-2015” --  “safe abortion” is a separate “key result area.”  This information is also repeated under “performance benchmarks”: “82 percent in safe abortion-related services (2009 as baseline).”

The only other service listed under “safe abortion” (in Table 1) is a “50% increase of post-abortion family planning services (baseline 2009).” A 50 percent increase in “policy initiatives” and “legislative changes” in “support of safe abortion” also are listed under “safe abortion.”

The Strategic Plan for the Africa Region states that the “Five A’s of programmatic emphasis” are: Access, AIDS, Abortion, Adolescents and Advocacy.

baby, abortion

(AP Image)

When asked by CNSNews.com why two other “As” were not included in the plan – abstinence and adoption -- Bell said the IPPF does not have a “mandate as an adoption agency” but that clinics operated by the organization “do provide counseling and referral for adoption services.”

The IPPF’s latest annual report for 2010, however, does not have any statistics on or references to adoption.

CNSNews.com also asked Bell why abstinence was not mentioned in the strategic plan.

Bell said IPPF “provides a comprehensive approach to sexual health information and sexuality education, of which abstinence is included,” but added that, “as abstinence is a component of sexuality education it wouldn’t appear as a major element in a top-level strategy document.”

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed an executive order that put the “Mexico City Policy” into place. This policy prohibited taxpayer funds to be provided to non-governmental organizations around the globe that promote or provide abortion. Each Democratic president has reversed the policy – Carter, Clinton and Obama – and both Bushes reinstated it.

Bell said abortion services account for less than 2 percent of IPPF’s “overall work.”

condoms

Condoms. (AP Photo)

Bell said the IPPF does “excellent work,” including “ providing millions of people around the world with access to maternal and child health services, including nutrition and vaccination services; family planning and contraception services that help prevent unplanned pregnancy and abortion, and allow women and men to better space pregnancies that improve the health and outcomes for both mother and child; pre- and post-natal care.”

The complete transcript for the questions and answers between CNSNews.com and Bell are presented below:

CNSNews.com: “The plan focuses on the "Five A’s" -- Access, AIDS, Abortion, Adolescents, and Advocacy. Can you tell me why IPPFAR has not included anything in the plan about adoption?”

Paul Bell, IPPF: “ IPPF’s mission is to improve the quality of life of individuals by providing sexual and reproductive health services.  While we have no mandate as an adoption agency, individual Member Associations of IPPF do provide counseling and referral for adoption services.

CNSNews.com: “Can you tell me why IPPFAR has not included anything in the plan about abstinence?”
Paul Bell, IPPF: “IPPF provides a comprehensive approach to sexual health information and sexuality education – an approach that helps empower people to make informed decisions about their sexual lives and health, and which does not prioritize one approach over another but takes an evidence-based approach.  This provides for a wide range of approaches, including delaying sexual debut and abstinence.  As abstinence is a component of sexuality education it wouldn’t appear as a major element in a top level strategy document.”


CNSNews.com: “In Figure 2: IPPFAR Performance Framework, 2010-2015, under performance milestones/benchmarks, in the second column of the top row it states: an 82 percent increase in abortion services, followed by numbers for 2013 (212,021) and 2016 (273,656). Do those numbers represent abortions specifically or other services, including abortions?  If those numbers do not represent abortions, or a combination of other services and abortions, can you tell me exactly what those numbers represent?”

Paul Bell, IPPF: “The numbers seen in relation to abortion services include post abortion care services following unsafe abortion, counseling services related to abortion, post-abortion family planning services and safe abortion services including medical and surgical abortions. IPPF does not seek to ‘increase’ the number of abortions, but to make abortion accessible and safe wherever women seek such services. Unsafe abortion is a significant health problem in African countries, accounting for up to 30% of all maternal deaths in some countries, the majority of this burden of death and ill-health falls disproportionately on poor women and girls.  IPPF's Member Associations are all registered, legal entities in their respective countries; as such they work within the legal framework governing access to abortion services in each country.”

Paul Bell, IPPF: “Globally, IPPF’s abortion services account for less than 2% of our overall work.  I would hate to think that your article would only focus on abortion (and abstinence) to the neglect of all the other excellent work IPPF does, including providing millions of people around the world with access to maternal and child health services, including nutrition and vaccination services; family planning and contraception services that help prevent unplanned pregnancy and abortion, and allow women and men to better space pregnancies that improve the health and outcomes for both mother and child; pre- and post-natal care; Gynecological and Obstetric services (16.6 million in 2010); cervical and breast cancer screening; and our work on prevention, treatment and care of HIV, last year reaching more than 12 million services worldwide.”