UN Population Fund Next on the List

United Nations / Martine PerretBy Marci Otranto
M.A. Candidate 2018

Tuesday, 13 April 2017

As a direct result of the “global gag rule,” a policy enacted by the Trump administration that prohibits US aid from funding organizations that provide abortions or information on abortions, the US State Department has moved to defund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a decision that will directly impact the lives of women and girls worldwide.

The US has been one of the largest contributors to the UNFPA, which is responsible for maternal and child health services in more than 150 countries. The proposal to end funding stems from the claim that the organization works with the Chinese government, which imposes coercive abortions and involuntary sterilizations on its population. UNFPA refutes such claims, stating that US funding goes largely to emergency aid. It also says the decision to cut US$ 32.5 million will have devastating effects on woman and children globally during a time of global upheaval and growing humanitarian crises.

"UNFPA does not fund or perform abortions anywhere in the world. Period. Even where abortion is legal," said executive director of the Universal Access Project at the UN Foundation, Seema Jalan, in an interview with CNN. "Second, UNFPA has never and does not promote coercion or birth quotas anywhere in the world."

UNFPA uses funding from the United States to reach those in crisis situations with HIV/AIDS prevention services, domestic violence counseling, pregnancy checkups, and safe childbirth. It also uses the funds for midwife training, pre-natal care and safe delivery services while also working to end child marriage and female genital mutilation. UNFPA says the funding it has received directly from the US has saved tens of thousands of mothers from death and preventable diseases.

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Photo by: UN Photo/Martine Perret

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