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Trump admin cuts off UN agency's funds over abortion concern

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The US Won't Give Any More Money To The UN Population Fund

It is extremely concerning that the United States government has chose to defund the UNFPA given the agency's critical role in supporting vital maternal health and family planning services globally, including women and girls in hard to reach fragile settings.

"To the extent that the global community is funding the UNFPA, the blood of Chinese women and babies is on our hands". This decision is based on the erroneous claim that UNFPA "supports, or participates in the management of, a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation" in China. "This is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the U.N. Population Fund's 'model country program, ' where UNFPA-trained officials oversee the enforcement of the one-child policy, and where abuses are rampant", he wrote. The cut-off funds will be "reprogrammed" to USAID's Global Health Programs account to focus on similar issues, said a State Department official, who wasn't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.

Earlier this year, President Trump reinstated a ban on United States funding of any global organisation that provided any kind of abortion service or advice.

It seems to be founded on the 1985 Kemp-Kasten amendment, which prohibits USA taxpayer money from funding abortion or forced sterilization anywhere in the world.

In the fiscal year 2016, the US Congress appropriated $32.5 million to the UNFPA's core funding, while the US also allocated $38.3 million to the United Nations agency through non-core funding to its humanitarian work, according to the Washington-based advocacy and policy group Guttmacher Institute.

The State Department's decision "has absolutely nothing to do with defending human rights in China or anywhere else", Brian Dixon, senior vice president at the Population Connection Action Fund, charged in a statement.

The cut follows Trump's proposed 28 percent budget reduction for diplomacy and foreign aid, including an unspecified reduction in financial support for the United Nations and its agencies, announced last month.

"Citing the reason being the funding cut as promotion of abortions, the State Department in a letter to US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said UNFPA" supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation", making this the Trump administration's first implementation of the global gag rule. "The Obama administration restored this funding".

With the support of the USA, past year UNFPA says it was able to save the lives of thousands of women from dying during pregnancy and childbirth, prevent unintended pregnancies, and unsafe abortions.

Trump's order reinstating the Mexico City policy was also more expansive than past versions. No one should applaud China's announced "two-child" policy; instead we should be insisting they abolish intrusive and abusive birth restrictions forever.

Littlejohn said she also would like to see a new investigation of UNFPA's work in China.

UNFPA is the leading United Nations agency promoting access to voluntary forms of family planning - services that are essential to enabling women and girls to determine the number and spacing of their children and combating violence against women and preventing child marriage.

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