ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The head of the United Nations Population Fund says a recent executive order by President Donald Trump on abortion-related funding will not affect the agency's family planning services, but he insists that family planning is a human right.
Babatunde Osotimehin told The Associated Press that "anything that reduces funding for family planning services would affect women around the world. Africa has a great need for family planning." He has tweeted more than once since Trump's order that family planning is central to protecting human and women's rights.
Trump has expanded the ban on U.S. funding to international family planning groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information. Now all organizations receiving U.S. global health assistance are affected.
International aid organizations have responded with alarm to Trump's order, saying it will affect many millions of women in low- and middle-income countries, notably in Africa.
Osotimehin said the expansion hits family planning services the hardest, since counseling often includes information about abortion. He spoke on the sidelines of the African Union summit this week.
The Ethiopia country director of the aid group Marie Stopes International, Risha Hess, told the AP that it will search for other sources of funding, but if none are found such services could end.
Hess said the group in 2017 had expected to receive about $2.5 million from the U.S. government to support family planning projects.
With Trump's order, people in rural communities will be hit the hardest, Hess said.
"They may be able to go long distances to reach a public facility and get short-term methods, such as the pill, but for many they've already had five, seven, eight children (and) they don't want more," Hess said. "And this really cuts off their access to those services."