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On UNFPA Trump is Not Letting Facts Get in the Way of Political Pay Back

April 4, 2017

The Trump administration’s decision to deny funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will hurt millions of vulnerable women around the world.  The announcement of this decision on the same week as the 50th session of the Commission on Population and Development is a deliberate slap in the face of women as the UN considers the importance of family planning for sustainable development.

“From a Catholic social justice perspective, we think this decision is especially cruel at a time when women bear the heaviest brunt in an unprecedented number of global crises, from famine in the Horn to the crisis in Syria,” said Catholics for Choice president Jon O’Brien. “President Trump seems less driven by an understanding of UNFPA’s impact and more by a desire to pay back the far-right Christian constituency that voted him into office.”

UNFPA is an important provider of contraception in more than 150 countries, which has helped to significantly reduce maternal mortality worldwide. The State Department’s announcement of the decision incorrectly states that UNFPA has supported coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization in China. This claim could not be further from the truth.  More than 14 years ago, Catholics for Choice led an independent delegation by faith leaders to China to assess the impact of UNFPA in the country.  Our report found that UNFPA has been a major catalyst in helping China to transition to a fully voluntary and non-coercive family planning program.  For more information, read our report here.

We urge the US administration to focus on evidence-based development and revisit its stance on UNFPA—an essential partner in the fight against poverty.  We encourage all donors to support UNFPA’s efforts to empower women to make family planning decisions that allow them and their families to get and stay on a path to development.