Millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money will continue to fund abortions in developing countries, after David Cameron ordered that the Department for International Development’s (DFID’s) budget be protected from any cuts.
Critics have attacked such a use of public money, and questioned why money intended for abortions should receive special protection at a time when other budgets are being slashed.
A question by the Conservative MP David Amess revealed that a large proportion of the Department’s abortion funding has been earmarked for the controversial abortion provider Marie Stopes International (MSI).
The decision has outraged critics.
Jim Dobbin, a Labour MP and long standing pro-lifer, said: “I am very much against this use of public money. This is not appropriate spending and it should not be protected.
“I do not see why it is necessary to preserve spending like this on sexual education and abortion.”
And David Amess also attacked this use of public funds, saying: “I am appalled that our money is being directed towards this end. We have the most challenging economic climate, and we are seeing our money going to aid abortion overseas.”
Their concerns were echoed by Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, who cautioned: “This is not a proper use of taxpayers’ money. It is wrong.”
But Stephen O’Brien, an International Development Minister, attempted to defend the funding, saying: “It is a major priority for the UK Government to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to modern family planning methods and promoting women’s choice in the developing world.”
Figures from the International Development Department revealed that in the year to March 2009 they gave £770,000 to Marie Stopes International.
The grants for this year have not yet been made public, but MSI has already been awarded £500,000 under one aid programme, according to press reports.
Earlier this year MSI provoked a storm of controversy after it commissioned the nation’s first ever televised abortion advert.
Critics warned that the advert “trivializes human life”, and would exploit vulnerable women.
Michaela Aston, from pro-life charity Life, cautioned: “To allow abortion providers to advertise on TV, as though they were no different from car companies or detergent manufacturers, is grotesque.”
Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, said: “Every abortion involves a personal tragedy for a mother and a child which will have lasting consequences whether immediately felt or not.”