A Blow to Poor Women

The New York Times - Letter to the Editor |

To the Editor:

Nicholas D. Kristof (“Can This Be Pro-Life?,” column, Oct. 9) raises an important point about the contradictory policies of the conservative right.

For nearly eight years, the Bush administration has worked to restrict abortion around the world, yet its policies that limit access to contraceptives and family planning services have been detrimental to international efforts to curb unwanted pregnancy.

Studies have shown that restricting abortion does not reduce its incidence. Rather, it forces women to seek risky procedures that endanger their lives. It is the poorest women who suffer from these policies.

The most effective way to diminish the number of unwanted pregnancies, the root cause of abortion, is to increase access to family planning, sex education and contraception. Greater investments in sexual and reproductive health also play an important role in reducing poverty. Yet the United States Agency for International Development’s recent restrictions represent another harsh blow to the goals it ostensibly promotes.

Carmen Barroso
Regional Director
International Planned Parenthood Federation/
Western Hemisphere Region

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