INTERVIEW-African women pay for Trump's anti-abortion move - activist

Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:30am GMT

By Katy Migiro

NAIROBI, April 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lisa Shannon, a U.S. women's rights campaigner, scrolled through photos on her laptop, stopping at a picture of a dead baby in a plastic bag on a dumpsite in Somalia, a brutal illustration of what women do when they are not able to control their fertility.

She took the picture during a month-long trip around East Africa to talk to women about reproductive health and the likely impact of U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on financing foreign groups that provide abortions.

"Girls are so desperate, they operate in denial," she said, seated in an outdoor cafe in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

"They give birth in secret and then dump the newborns."

Unwanted babies are left to die in toilets and garbage sites across the Somali capital, Mogadishu, every week, Shannon said.

It is a taboo for women to have sex outside marriage in Somalia, where only 15 percent of women use contraceptives, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says.

In one of his first actions as president, Trump reinstated a policy known by critics as the "global gag" rule, which withholds U.S. funding for international organisations that perform abortions or tell women about legal options for abortion.

The move is likely to lead to a $600 million shortfall for abortion services, according to the Dutch government, which has set up a fund to plug the gap.   Continued...

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