U.N. Population Fund Pressuring Afghan Women to Abort

"Bad Surprise" for Refugees Who Expected Food, Blankets and First Aid

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan, JAN. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The U.N. Population Fund has launched a campaign to promote abortion among Afghan refugees, Vatican Radio reported today.



The news was confirmed by the Pakistani agency Online. In recent days, abortion kits with instruments and medications have been distributed among Afghan refugees who have fled their war-torn country.

This source reports that the campaign has been carried out in Pakistan, where over 3 million Afghans live, as well as in Iranian refugee camps, which shelter another 2 million people.

Vatican Radio reported that a spokesman for the camps in the Peshawar region said that refugees saw the initiative as a "bad surprise."

Instead of abortion instruments, the refugees expected "food, water, blankets and first-aid medications," the source said.

He added: "Abortion is an offensive act under Islamic law." This is why some refugees confiscated the UNFPA material, which included contraceptives and the morning-after pill, which can cause early abortions.

Sources close to the U.N. agency contended that UNFPA is primarily concerned with "family planning," and that abortions are not imposed but proposed.

However, according to Vatican Radio, the refugees´ representatives confirmed that Afghan women have been pressured to submit to abortions "without a real informed consensus."