Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's going on in Bangladesh?

Detective: Mr. Smith, did you murder your wife?
Mr. Smith: No detective, I did not.
Detective: Can I have that in writing please?
Mr. Smith: I, John Smith, did not murder my wife. Signed John Smith.
Detective: Okay Mr. Smith, you're free to go. Have a nice weekend!

This is similar to how it appears CIDA satisfies its due diligence responsibility, regarding our $6 million funding to IPPF, as it relates to Menstrual Regulation (MR) services in Bangladesh.

(MR is an abortion only if the woman is pregnant; so not all MR's amount to abortions. Because they don't check whether the woman is pregnant first, laws that ban abortions can be circumvented, since they don't actually know that she is pregnant. But if she is pregnant, then MS is an abortion.)

Here is correspondence between CIDA and IPPF on this subject. I received the information through an Access to Information request. There are two separate instances of such correspondence.

The first exchange occurred on October 3, 2011.

(Note: I use the word "IPPF" to identify the IPPF employee in the email exchange. "CIDA" is used to identify the CIDA employee.)
Dear IPPF,
Just as ___  predicted on Friday, CIDA is now being called on to discuss IPPF's activities in Bangladesh, specifically with regard to "menstrual extraction" or "menstrual regulation". Can you please provide information on whether or not IPPF supports this practice/offers this service in Bangladesh, and if you do, how? How can concerned donors be assured that funding to Bangladesh will not support this practice if it can in fact be called abortion or "an abortion-related-service"? What is IPPF's position? (If possible, can you also provide the text of the response you issued to the media in response to the same inquiry?)
FYI, our response will likely re-emphasize what IPPF and CIDA have maintained---that Canadian funding will not support abortion-related services---, but the decision is far from mine to make.  
Thanks very much, 
I hope you are well. 
I am happy to send you the IPPF Bangladesh Brief in response to the questions you have posed. I would like to particularly highlight that menstrual regulation is not a part of IPPF's proposal to CIDA. 
As discussed, our revised proposal focuses on the delivery of increased access to family planning services. 
I do apologise for the delay in sending this brief to you. As you know, our budget meetings have been ongoing this week, meaning we were a bit thin on the ground. Thank you for your patience and understanding! 
Please do let us know if you require any further information. We are always happy to help! 
With best wishes, 
Thanks very much for the information! We appreciate your help, as always. I hope the budget meetings were fruitful. 
Then on March 15 2013 we see another similar exchanger between IPPF and CIDA.
Further to our conversation today, I wanted to clarify something from your recent Semi-Annual Report. 
In a document you provided us a little while back entitled IPPF, Bangladesh and Menstrual Regulation, you indicate that "No Canadian money will be used for abortion services or menstrual regulation services." However, in your recent Semi-Annual report to CIDA (April-September 2012), menstrual regulation is listed as an activity undertaken by FPAB. 
Could you please confirm that, as per the document quoted above, CIDA funds are not used to cover these menstrual regulation services undertaken by FPAB? 
Many thanks ___. Wishing you a wonderful weekend! 
Dear CIDA, 
I, ____ confirm that no funding from CIDA will be used for abortion services or menstrual regulation services including activities undertaken by FBAB in Bangladesh. 
As per the IPPF, Bangladesh and Menstrual Regulation brief, we confirm that FPAB does offer menstrual regulation services. This is in line with government regulations and other service providers in Bangladesh. 
However, no CIDA funds are used to support these activities. 
Well there you have it folks. Right from the horse's mouth.
(The document in question that was in IPPF's semi-annual report.)

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