UK announce £600m aid for family planning as US ramps up anti-abortion stance

Britain announced a £600 million aid package for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights at the United Nations on Monday in the face of opposition from the United States.

Alok Sharma, the UK’s International Development Secretary, told delegates the UK would promote and defend “women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights” – despite the Trump administration circulating a letter calling for the phrase to be dropped on the grounds that it was being interpreted as a new international right to abortion.

Announcing the new multi-million pound investment, which will pay for family planning services, including abortion, for women in dozens of developing countries, Mr Sharma delivered a firm rebuttal to the US “pro-life” approach. 

“The UK is committed to defending and promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights,” Mr Sharma told delegates. 

“This UK aid will help give millions of women and girls control over their bodies, so they can choose if, when and how many children they want. That is a basic right that every woman and girl deserves.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that the US had urged UN member states deemed sympathetic to their anti-abortion stance to join a “growing coalition” of countries opposing terminations.