Shocking new evidence shows that Marie Stopes International has been performing illegal abortions in African countries. Speaking to Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder of Culture of Life Africa, Desire Kirabo, a Ugandan nurse and former centre manager of the MSI clinic in Hoima, Western Uganda, gave a very disturbing description of the organisation’s activities in the country, where it coerces young girls to undergo the painful procedure, and flushes foetal remains down toilets or into put latrines.

Kirabo says the charity uses the pretext of providing family planning services as a front for an almost maniacal focus on performing abortions. She says the organisation even sets targets for each clinic to reach during regional meetings. While she worked for the organisation, she learnt that each abortion is paid for by the Department for International Development, the UK’s foreign aid agency.

Abortion is illegal in Uganda, as it is in many other African countries. This means that MSI is acting in direct contravention of Ugandan law, as well as the laws of the 15 countries in which it has a footprint (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). It was actually censured in Zambia in 2012 when it was found to be performing illegal abortions in the country through its clinics and outreach programs.

Marie Stopes International was founded in 1976 to “help women to have children by choice, not chance.” It took over the work began by Marie Stopes, a renowned British eugenicist. And although she opposed abortion, the organisation bearing her name now performs over 3 million abortions a year, the largest by any single organisation in the world. Most of these abortions are illegal, as Paul Cornellisson, then MSI Programme Director for South Africa, admitted during a conference in 2007.

Apart from DFID, Marie Stopes pulls parts of its annual income of over £250 million from the aid agencies of other Western countries like the United States (through USAID), Australia, Canada, Denmark (through DANIDA), The Netherlands and Norway (through NORAD). This is, in essence, taxpayers’ money from Western countries being used to fund abortion in 37 countries around the world, 16 of them African.

Along with its flagrant disregard for the laws of the countries in which it operates and the high-handed manner with which it induces vulnerable girls and women to procure abortions, the organisation is also guilty of hiding evidence of its abortion activities from the USAID, which is legally prohibited from funding abortion overseas.

An online petition has been launched to end taxpayer funding for the organisation’s abortion activities. 

According to the Culture of Life Africa’s website, it is “a UK-based response to the disturbing encroachment of the bold and wealthy proponents of the Culture of Death, as well as the unbelievable cultural pressure that is beginning to erode and alter the trajectory of the African cultural values of life, marriage, motherhood, family and faith.”

Mathew Otieno writes from Nairobi.

Mathew Otieno

Mathew Otieno

Mathew Otieno is a Kenyan writer who moonlights as a communications assistant at a university in Nairobi. As it happens, he is also studying for a Master’s degree in Applied Philosophy there. While an...