Thank you for contacting me about family planning.
The UK is committed to remaining a global leader for family planning, women's rights and sexual and reproductive health. Women and girls continue to bear a disproportionate burden of poverty across the developing world. However, voluntary family planning can transform lives. The ability to complete their education and take advantage of economic opportunities provides women and girls with greater choice and helps break the cycle of poverty between generations. These benefits are also transformational for their families, communities and economies.
Marie Stopes International (MSI) is a valued partner in the UK's comprehensive sexual and reproductive health work, and all of the Department for International Development's (DFID) reviews show confidence in the quality of MSI's services in developing countries. It has contributed to an estimated 23.5 million women and girls being provided with family planning services through all UK Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights funding between 2018 and 2019. As a consequence, 7.3 million unintended pregnancies and 2 million unsafe abortions were prevented.
Whilst the provision of family planning services reduce unsafe abortions, it does not eliminate them, and the UK is committed to reducing death and disability caused by this practice. Therefore, where allowed by local law, the UK supports the provision of safe abortions. The UK is clear, however, that aid cannot be used to fund illegal services and allegations of misused funds are taken extremely seriously.
I would like to assure you that DFID operates with the greatest levels of transparency and is regularly scrutinised by a number of independent, international bodies. I will continue to engage with Ministers to deliver value for taxpayers and continue to put girls and women at the heart of our development assistance.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.