US Defunds UNFPA

US Defunds UNFPAUS Defunds UNFPA

US President Donald Trump’s administration halted all US grants to the United Nations Population Fund, an international humanitarian aid organization that provides reproductive health care and works to end child marriage in more than 150 countries.

The State Department invoked the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which he said will ensure that “US taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization”.

US ex-president George W. Bush used the same policy to defund the UNFPA from 2002 to 2008, arguing that the organization’s presence in China constituted participation in the country’s “one child” coercive family planning policy.

The UNFPA does not provide or promote abortions. The organization works in China to make reproductive health program voluntary and rights-based and has advocated against the country’s one-child policy.

The Trump administration did not explain exactly how it determined that the UNFPA violated any US law.

“The UNFPA no longer provides any financial support to the Chinese government to support its family planning program. Not a dollar,” said Peter Yeo, vice president of public policy at the United Nations Foundation.

“So I’m not quite frankly sure how you make this Kemp-Kasten determination with a straight face.”  

Trump’s move will pull $76 million from the UNFPA, which is about 7% of its budget. In 2016, the funding provided access to contraceptives to 800,000 people around the world and prevented an estimated 100,000 unsafe abortions and 10,000 maternal deaths, according to the organization.

At the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, for instance, UNFPA-supported health providers have managed to deliver more than 7,000 babies without a single maternal death.

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