Family Planning and the World Bank

FAMILY PLANNING AND THE WORLD BANK….Here’s yet another reason to think that maybe Paul Wolfowitz wasn’t such a hot choice to head up the World Bank:

Under beleaguered President Paul D. Wolfowitz, the World Bank may be scaling back its long-standing support for family planning, which many countries consider essential to women’s health and the fight against AIDS.

In an internal e-mail, the bank’s team leader for Madagascar indicated that one of two managing directors appointed by Wolfowitz ordered the removal of all references to family planning from a document laying out strategy for the African nation. And a draft of the bank’s long-term health program strategy overseen by the same official makes almost no mention of family planning, suggesting a wider rollback may be underway.

….[The managing director, Juan Jose Daboub] said he did not ask that family planning be struck from the Madagascar report. “It is not true,” he said.

Yet internal e-mails obtained by the Government Accountability Project appear to indicate otherwise. Referring to Daboub as the “MD,” an acronym for his title as managing director, Madagascar country program coordinator Lilia Burunciuc wrote to colleagues on March 8, 2007: “One of the requests received from the MD was to take out all references to family planning. We did that.”

It’s bad enough that Republican administrations routinely remove funding for family planning from American foreign aid budgets, but this makes it look like the administration is trying to bully the World Bank into doing the same thing. And keep in mind: this isn’t just about abortion. It’s about all family planning. I’m sure the Republican base will be delighted.