US Apparently Opposes Family Planning Loan
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The World Bank said Friday it will make $226 million worth of loans to the Indian subcontinent despite apparent U.S. opposition to one for family planning in Bangladesh.
Bill O’Reilly of the Human Life Fund, a U.S. anti-abortion group, said in a telephone interview that the United States voted against a $78 million project to help family planning and efforts to reduce the death rate for mothers and children in Bangladesh.
The office of Hugh Foster, acting U.S. executive director at the bank, said he would not comment.
The United States is the largest contributor to the fund from which the loans are being made - the International Development Association - but does not have a veto power. Votes on loans are held in secret.
James Riddleberger, a spokesman at the World Bank, said its project has nothing to do with abortion, which is legal in Bangladesh. He said he could not disclose the votes of individual countries.
One of the poorest, most populous and fastest-growing countries in south Asia, Bangladesh has about 100 million people, double what it was 35 years ago, a bank statement said.
The Bangladesh loan is for 50 years, with nominal interest.
Grants for the project, which will cost $214 million, are expected from Australia, Canada, West Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Britain. The government of Bangladesh itself will provide $21.8 million.
A $56 million loan to help expand the distribution of electricity in Bangladesh, and a $22 million loan to help the shrimping industry increase the country’s food supply and exports also were approved.
The bank also announced a $70 million loan to Pakistan for improving services in Karachi, the country’s second largest city.