UK Abortion Policy – Internationally
The United Nations (UN) is in the process of negotiating a new range of development goals. The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will create a framework which will determine the priorities for international development over the next 15 years.
One of the areas under negotiation in the SDGs is that of maternal health. Although there is a need for resources and action to improve maternal health, some groups within the UN system and in the wider non-governmental community are pushing for abortion services to be expanded in developing countries. Lobbying for this purpose by Western Governments, UN agencies and some Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) is intense. The aim is to include the term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” in the new development goals which is understood by the governments of some countries to include a right to access abortion.
The UK Government is at the forefront of these efforts to have ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ included in the SDGs. Moreover, the UK Government is one of the four main national funders of abortion overseas through its development aid programme. It has donated over £100m to fund the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) which promote ‘reproductive rights’, including access to abortion services, in developing countries. UK Government funding is even used to support foreign NGOs which run advocacy campaigns for changes in laws on abortion in other countries.
Questions for Candidates
- Do you agree with the inclusion of the controversial term ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ which may include the provision of abortion services, in the new Sustainable Development Goals?
- If elected, would you vote to prohibit the funding of abortions in developing countries through the UK’s overseas aid programme and redirect this money to improve basic maternal health care?
- Is it right that the UK funds advocacy campaigns for legislative reform in countries with restrictive laws on abortion?