Simon Cooke, CEO of MSI Reproductive Choices, said:
“As details emerge of where UK aid cuts will hit, it’s becoming clear that they will have a devastating impact in the world’s poorest countries for years to come, and it is women and girls who will pay the heaviest price.
“Life-changing sexual and reproductive health services have been savagely impacted, with cuts coming from all sides. Frontline healthcare workers have been hit by the reduced funding to the flagship WISH programme, which over the last two years has saved the lives of 22,000 women. While vital contraceptive supplies have been devastated via the brutal cuts to UNFPA. The speed and magnitude of these cuts will undermine trust between women and their health care providers, and we fear the damage to women’s lives and futures will be worse than that caused by Trump’s Global Gag Rule.
“There is never a good time to step back from this empowering, lifesaving work, but right now is perhaps the worst. Covid-19 has left health systems at breaking point and communities who have done the least to cause the climate crisis are already suffering from its effects. These crises disproportionately affect women and girls, and without reproductive choice, the consequences are even more deadly.
“Expanding access to sexual and reproductive healthcare is one of the smartest global investments. Over the last 10 years, we have seen the difference that the UK’s leadership on this issue has made to millions of women around the world. The cuts will do untold harm to the progress made on preventing women dying from pregnancy related causes and jeopardise the government’s commitments on girls’ education and increasing resilience to the climate crisis.
“We call on the government to allow Parliament a vote on whether they agree to renege on its commitment to maintain the 0.7% and thereby undermine the leadership that the UK has established in supporting the world’s poorest communities.”