Republican Win In 2012 Election Could Spell End Of International Family Planning Programs

“If a Republican becomes president, … say goodbye to international programs providing birth control to women in desperately poor countries such as Liberia,” senior contributing writer Michelle Goldberg writes in this Daily Beast opinion piece. Goldberg notes that birth control has become a “significant issue in the U.S. presidential campaign,” writing, “All of the Republican candidates have slammed the administration’s refusal to give religious institutions a broad exemption from the mandate that insurance cover family planning.”

“[W]hatever effect the upcoming election has on the reproductive health of American women, the effect on women worldwide is likely to be even greater,” she writes. “If [Republican candidate Mitt Romney] is willing to scrap the only federal program to provide birth control to low-income women in the United States, programs to do the same thing abroad certainly aren’t safe,” Goldberg says, using Liberia, where she recently visited, as an example. “If Romney is willing to slash American funding for HIV/AIDS, which has significant Christian conservative support, it seems likely he’d be willing to do the same for USAID’s family planning programs, which don’t,” she writes, adding, “USAID remains the world’s largest source of birth control for poor countries — a role it played even under [former President George W.] Bush. If that changes, as Liberia shows, the consequences for the world’s most vulnerable women will be horrific” (2/3).