Statement on the Guttmacher Institute's “Just the Numbers” report: a snapshot of the impact of the UK aid cuts

The Guttmacher Institute has today released new data showing the impact of the UK aid cuts on sexual and reproductive health and rights for the fiscal year 2021 - 2022. 

The figures show the devastating impact on the lives of women and girls around the world. Together with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the cuts threaten to undo years of progress towards gender equality and increasing access to reproductive choice.

When surveyed, major sexual and reproductive health organizations reported they expected to receive at least £218.9 million in the fiscal year (FY) 2021–2022 (from April 2021 to March 2022) for family planning activities in low- and middle-income countries. The resulting cuts to the family planning programs of these major program-implementing organizations are estimated to have totalled £132.4 million in FY 2021–2022. The loss of funding will result in:

  • 9.5 million fewer women and couples receiving contraceptive services 
  • 4.3 million more unintended pregnancies
  • 1.8 million more unplanned births
  • 1.4 million more unsafe abortions
  • and 8000 more maternal deaths 

The figures also show how much could have been achieved through sustained UK aid spending. 

IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, said:  

“The Guttmacher figures are a harrowing, but sadly unsurprising, insight into the catastrophic impact that the UK aid cuts will have on the health and lives of millions of women, girls and marginalized people across the globe, and serve to confirm what sexual and reproductive health charities have been saying since they were first made aware of the cuts.

“We must also remember that the Guttmacher numbers are just a snapshot of the 2021 – 2022 fiscal year, and the effects of the Government’s sudden and short-sighted termination of support will stretch far beyond that, piling unthinkable pressure on people already dealing with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, and leading to millions of unintended pregnancies and thousands of preventable deaths.

“With the upcoming spending review in November, we ask the UK Government to reconsider the cuts, which IPPF still believe to be outside of the boundaries of the law, and reinstate the 0.7% commitment, so that it can finally deliver on its promises to the millions of people it chose to abandon.”

IPPF also signed on to a joint letter from the UK SRHR Network.