Yesterday, the United States’ State Department announced it was ending U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), marking yet another attack on women’s rights and gender equality by President Trump and his administration. The decision to revoke the funding: UNFPA "'supports, or participates in the management of, a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization' in China," a claim UNFPA deems "erroneous," since the agency did not support China's past "One Child Policy."
The UNFPA is the United Nations (U.N.) “agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.” According to its most recent annual report, contraceptives provided by UNFPA in 2015 averted 220,000 child deaths, prevented 12.3 million unintended pregnancies, averted 4.4 million abortions and, avoided 34,000 maternal deaths.
As one of the agency’s founding members, the U.S. “has long partnered with UNFPA to protect and promote the reproductive health and rights of women and girls” and been an essential component for the U.S.’ commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving gender equality under Goal 5.
The UNFPA and U.S.’ partnership has historically been a mutually beneficial one. Through the work of the UNFPA, the U.S. was able to continue its commitment as a global leader in the effort to achieve gender equality and stand up for human rights.
The Trump Administration’s decision to cease funding to the UNFPA jeopardizes the health and safety of millions of women and girls around the world.
This decision is another move by the administration that is in stark contrast to the United States’ commitment to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world. In January, the Trump administration reinstated the “Global Gag” rule and “broadened its scope to include all global health assistance in his Jan. 23 executive order that withholds at least half a billion dollars in U.S. funds.” In March, the President’s proposed 2018 federal budget included a “28 percent budget reduction for diplomacy and foreign aid.” A week later, at the Commission on the Status of Women, the U.S. delegation to the U.N. choose to have a hate group as a civil society representative.
Women Thrive is deeply troubled by the precedent being set by the U.S. President and his administration through continued actions against women's rights and gender equality. Following this announcement, we only more deeply avow to continue our work to make gender equality a reality and hold the U.S. government accountable to its global development promises.