United States President Donald Trump’s, signing of an order cutting off funding for planned parenthood organizations in America will have a limited effect on the Barbados counterpart group, according to past and present executives.
Trump signed an executive order on Monday barring federal funds from organizations like the Planned Parenthood Association of America and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) that promote abortion around the world.
The Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) is among the 150 members of the IPPF, and throughout its 61 years of existence, has benefitted from the world body’s funding for special projects, though its main money comes from the Government of Barbados annually.
In response to Trump’s Jan. 23 executive action, BFPA Executive Director, Juliet Bynoe-Sutherland told the Nation newspaper that her organization is ‘financially sound,’ and its core work will continue despite the fact that some of the $100 million that Trump cut from IPPF would have been directed to work on this island.
“BFPA does not rely heavily on US government funding [or external funding] to sustain our work,” she said, but conceded that an HIV prevention and education programme may be affected.
“This order may cause BFPA to lose US funding for ongoing HIV programmes,” she said, and explained it is now a wait-and-see situation because there is no indication yet on how badly an impact Trump’s cut will have on the US organisations that usually channel money for this effort.
The US president’s order required foreign non-governmental organisations to certify that they would not provide abortion and related services before they become eligible for American public funding.
But Bynoe-Sutherland said that her association would not give such certification as its work on family planning and abortions, “is in compliance with the sovereign laws of Barbados, and women in Barbados view these services as essential.”
“We know from decades of global experience that eliminating access to safe abortion services does not reduce the incidence of abortion, it just makes abortion unsafe,” she said.
The former, and now retired BFPA executive director, George Griffith, saw the funding cut having a ripple effect on the Barbados organization and similar groups across the Caribbean.
But Griffith also saw the action having a greater negative effect on the new US president.
“It will not do his image with women any good, especially in light of the most recent demonstrations where more than one million women [in America], and their supporters across the world came out to demonstrate against the views that he has expressed.”