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The U.S. Has Cut Ties With This U.N. Agency

Mothers at UNFPA Aid Station
The Department of State has announced it is cutting off funding to the United Nations Population Fund because it provides abortion services and because it has been complicit in China's coercive abortions resulting from its "One Child" policy. (Reuters photo)

According to numerous news reports Tuesday, the Department of State has informed the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that it intends to cut off funding to United Nations Population Fund in accordance with President Donald Trump's executive order reinstating the so-called Mexico City Policy that prohibits taxpayer funding of international programs that promote abortion.

The UNFPA, as it is known by its French acronym, has long been considered a complicit participant in China's coercive abortion policies. The Department of State letter to Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) stated as much:

This determination was made based on the fact that China's family planning policies still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization, and UNFPA partners on family-planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies.

Despite numerous findings by independent reviews over the past several decades, UNFPA insists that's an "erroneous statement." In a response to the letter, the U.N. agency claims all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination.

It insists its work in China is considered "a force for good."

The UNFPA response also stated:

The United States, one of our founding members, has long partnered with UNFPA to protect and promote the reproductive health and rights of women and girls, thereby fostering healthier women and girls and their families. The support we received over the years from the government and people of the United States has saved tens of thousands of mothers from preventable deaths and disabilities, and especially now in the rapidly developing global humanitarian crises.

For an agency that is supposed to be focused on "family planning" in overpopulated and developing countries, UNFPA has spent less than half of its funding on programs that fulfill that mission. According to its most recent financial report, it spent more than 60 percent of its budget on "integrated sexual reproductive health services"—jargon it uses to describe a whole host of efforts, including abortion, contraception and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

Currently, the U.S. provides about $32.5 million a year in funding to UNFPA. For 2017, those funds will be redirected to the Global Health Programs account, which will be accessed by the US Agency for International Development. Part of USAID's mission is to support family planning, maternal and reproductive health activities—without committing abortion—in developing countries.

The Trump administration's decision is not unusual. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush all took identical action against the UNFPA.

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