Monday, January 23, 2012

ATIP: CIDA and IPPF (Part 2)

Further to my last entry on my Access to Information and Freedom (ATIP) request to CIDA...

I actually made two ATIP requests.

My first request asked for the signed funding agreement between CIDA and IPPF for the $6 Million funding IPPF would receive, as part of the Government’s Muskoka initiative on maternal and child health initiative approved by Minister Oda. I was informed that the agreement hadn’t been signed yet.

So I revised my first ATIP request, and asked to see the actual IPPF proposal itself, since we had heard that IPPF would receive $6 million.

I received back the 54 page proposal. It came with the following qualification in CIDA’s covering letter:
"For your information, IPPF's recent proposal does not reflect the terms of the approved program and CIDA has not yet signed a funding agreement with IPPF."

We do know that IPPF asked for $6 million, and news reports said they will get $6 million. Therefore, I imagine the funding agreement will be pretty close to the proposal but that remains to be confirmed.

Sprinkled throughout the proposal, is the mention of all kinds of contraceptives, emergency contraceptives and IUDs, including charts of how many of these will be provided.

Many consider emergency contraceptives and IUDs to be abortifacients.

On Page 12, I learned that:
"IPPF will ensure that no MA [member association] will use Canadian funds for abortion activity. In the past certain Governments have placed various legislative or policy restrictions on the use of funds, including for induced abortion services. IPPF has procedures in place that can immediately be reinstated to ensure that no funds from the Government of Canada are used for abortion services. This includes the holding of funds in a separate bank account."

What I'd like to know is, what mechanisms will be in place on the ground, to ensure that abortion services are not provided or referred?

On Page 7 under Program objectives and Components, Programme Goal:
"All people, particularly the poor, marginalized, the socially excluded, and undeserved are able to exercise their right, to make free and informed choices about their SRH [Sexual Reproductive Health], and have access to SRH information, sexuality education and high quality services, including family planning, all of which stigma-free, sensitive to gender dynamics and sezual diversity, and offer a positive approach to sexuality."

This above type of wording permeates the entire proposal.

On Page 8 under Program objectives and Components, Quality-assured, Client Centred care:
"IPPF will strengthen the quality of care at service delivery points, taking into account our commitment to a holistic, no-missed opportunity and stigma-free approach through providing:

Updated self-assessment checklist tool to reflect most recent technical developments.

Guidelines and job-aids based on current global standards (WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria, Selected Practice Recommendations, or Decision Making Tool for Family Planning, including the tool for people living with HIV)

A revised Quality of Care tools through revised edition of `IPPF Medical Service Delivery Guidelines, (14) which complements 'IPPF's Global Handbook on Family Planning. (15)"

Another question I have: If abortion services are not being provided, then why would they provide these manuals which discuss all aspects of abortion, at the "service delivery points"?

Here are a few interesting items from these guidebooks (Note that the guidebooks themselves are not part of the proposal, they are only referred to in the proposal. With a total of 840 pages in these two guidebooks, I'm sure there are a lot of other pieces of fascinating abortion information tidbits):

Chapter 10 is on "Emergency Contraception". Note this: "Mode of action (some clients may need reassurance that emergency contraception is not an abortion)."

Chapter 11 is on "Diagnosis of Pregnancy": "In the event of pregnancy, determination of the gestational age is important to give the woman an estimated date of delivery. This determination is also useful in the diagnosis of certain pregnancy complications (e.g. ectopic pregnancy or threatened abortion). When a client is considering an abortion, information about gestational age helps the woman to make a decision, and where legal, is essential for selection of the appropriate technique."

Chapter 12: "Safe Abortion": "In circumstances where abortion is not against the law, health service providers should be trained and equipped to offer a safe and accessible service. Provision of, or referral for, abortion services is an essential part of women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare: fulfilment of a woman’s right to choice should be a high priority for such programmes. As with all sexual and reproductive health services, the client’s right to confidentiality and privacy must be sustained."

Chapter 13 is on "Options for unintended pregnancy":
"HIV does not necessarily have a negative impact on the pregnancy but might have an adverse effect on the health of the mother especially if her CD4 count is low and ARVs are not available. HIV also leads to increased rates of complications after delivery and is associated with an increase in maternal mortality. If the client is currently pregnant but does not wish to continue her pregnancy, she should be referred to safe abortion services, where legally permitted. Postpartum contraception should be offered as an option for those who do not wish to become pregnant again".

These paragraphs from the guide books, guide the IPPF people (or MAs) on how to refer for abortion, where legal. But when abortion is not legal, what kind of advice do the IPPF people give to their clients?

My next entry will disclose more information from the IPPF proposal.

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