Defunding UNFPA Makes Women a Casualty of Partisan Politics
The U.S. Government defunds UNFPA, putting the health and rights of the world’s most vulnerable girls and women at risk.
On Monday, the U.S. Government withdrew funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), signaling yet another affront to women’s health and rights. With the stroke of a pen, the Trump administration sent a clear message to millions of women and girls around the world, effectively indicating that their health—and lives—are fair game for political posturing.
“Sexual and reproductive healthcare enables women and girls to rise, and lead change in their homes, their communities, their countries, and the world. It also saves lives,” said IPPF/WHR Regional Director Giselle Carino. “UNFPA provides these critical services around the world, and for women who rely on them that can mean the difference between living and dying while giving birth. Denying critical health services to the people who need them the most is not only unfair, unjust, and inhumane—it’s a death sentence.”
The U.S. was one of the largest contributors to UNFPA, and eliminating this funding jeopardizes the world’s most vulnerable girls and women, particularly those living in the poorest regions and in crisis situations. As a rights-based organization, IPPF/WHR has worked with UNFPA and other health and human rights organizations to provide tens of millions of women with sexual and reproductive healthcare, including voluntary family planning, maternal care, and programs to counter gender-based violence.
The administration’s cut to UNFPA comes off the heels of the expansion of the Global Gag Rule, which denies foreign aid for international non-profits that use their own non-U.S. funds to provide abortion services or referrals, or advocate to make abortion more accessible. The policy extends to all global health assistance—which could be as high as $9.5 billion in support for health programs that fund family planning and maternal health, HIV prevention, and tropical diseases, among others.
In both cases of funding cuts for critical healthcare one thing is definitive: Funding from the US administration is not spent on the provision of abortion or in support of coercive reproductive policies. This is a smokescreen for cuts in funding, nothing more. The bottom line is that women’s lives should not be a casualty of partisan politics.
IPPF/WHR denounces the U.S. government’s cuts to UNFPA and the exportation of dangerous policies like the Global Gag Rule that devalue the lives of the world’s most vulnerable girls and women. IPPF/WHR is working with our 50 partners across the Americas and Caribbean to ensure sexual and reproductive rights for all and we will redouble our efforts—and stand in solidarity with partners like UNFPA—to keep fighting for a day when being a woman is not a reason to be denied lifesaving healthcare.