The US Agency for International Development announced this week it will cut of economic assistance to the feminist group “Manuela Ramos” over its improper use of funds for promoting the distribution and use of the morning-after pill in Peru.
According to the Peruvian daily Expreso, sources at the US embassy in Peru said “the aid agreement between USAID and ‘the Manuelas’ has expired this month and will not be renewed,” because the group has defended the morning after pill without considering that “in 1997 USAID warned it would take a neutral position on the issue and respect the decision of the Peruvian government in the matter.”
Carlos Polo, director of the Population Research Institute, said representatives of the group often mentioned the issue during their programs on Peruvian television, and USAID realized their economic assistance was being used to promote an issue on which the agency desired to remain neutral. For this reason, Polo said, “I personally traveled to the US in October of last year to inform USAID about how feminists were using funds that were supposed to be set aside for health care and not for training people about the preference of this method,” he added.
Kent Hill, director of the USAID’s Global Health Office, responded in writing to Polo stating, “In accord with our policy, USAID has abstained from any public comments in favor of or against the pill. In light of this policy and in response to your communication, we have reviewed the cases you mentioned in which the activities of beneficiaries of our program appear to be inconsistent with our neutral position.”
Recently Susana Chavez, director of the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights and a promoter of the legalization of abortion and the distribution of the morning after pill in Peru, asked USAID to abandon its neutral position on the drug, in order to use funds provide by the agency to promote her organization’s and the Manuela’s anti-life agenda.