Health Care

United States to end funding for UN Population Fund over abortion, says official

United States to end funding for UN Population Fund over abortion, says official

The US government has pulled any future funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a group focused on reproductive rights for women and girls, over claims it has practiced coercive abortions and involuntary sterilizations in China. But as that outlet and Kowalski pointed out, the UNFPA covers much more than abortions, and does not support coercive pregnancy terminations.

The move comes as a follow up to President Trump's decision, three days after his inauguration, to restore Reagan-era policy that denies federal funding to abortion-supporting or promoting groups. "Instead, the agency offers voluntary family planning to prevent unintended pregnancies which, in turn, empowers girls and women to pursue an education, earn an income, and live more prosperous lives".

Women's Rights Without Frontiers president Reggie Littlejohn told a panel discussion alongside the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women session in NY last month that forced abortions and the conditions that give rise to sex-selective abortions of baby girls continue under the "two-child" policy.

According to Vox, the United States is the fourth-largest donor to the organization, and a removal of funds from such a large donor is likely to lead to an impact of some magnitude on the work the organization can do.

In a statement, UNFPA said it regrets the United States decision to end funding, which it said is based on an "erroneous claim" that the agency supports coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation in China.

"UNFPA does not fund or perform abortions or forced sterilizations anywhere in the world".

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According to a State Department official, President Donald Trump has instructed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that USA taxpayer dollars do not fund organisations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation".

United Nations agencies such as the UNFPA are funded by governments voluntarily. President George W. Bush had also defunded the UNFPA, from 2002 to 2008, arguing that its presence in China constituted participation in the country's "one-child" family planning policy.

In a January draft executive order to cut United Nations funding, the Trump administration singled out the UNFPA and included a provision on USA funding for organizations that support coercive abortion or sterilization services. "The UN Population Fund helped fund birth restrictions, fund forced abortions, and a massive and coercive family planning bureaucracy".

The 1985 "Kemp-Kasten amendment" prohibits federal funding for any agency that "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization". The U.N. Population Fund has typically been cut off by Republican presidents and restored when Democrats control the White House.

The UNFPA does not provide or promote abortions.

Starting in 1979, China had a "one-child policy" enforced in many cases with state-mandated abortions.