Protest to Trump’s Defunding UNFPA Reveals Poor Results, Lackluster Support

By | April 13, 2017
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NEW YORK, April 14 (C-Fam) President Donald J. Trump cut U.S. funding to the UN Population Fund last week, and protests from Democrats, abortion groups, and UNFPA revealed UNFPA’s dogged determination to partner with abortion groups, lackluster results in improving maternal health, and alienation of constituents due to controversial promotion of sexual rights.

In a formulaic letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson protesting the cut, U.S. House Democrats said UNFPA does not support or participate in the “management” of “a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” Critics point out that China’s own family planning bureaucracy could say the same thing, but that in practice coercive means such as forced abortion and sterilizations are used to execute the policy.

UNFPA’s statement this week showed its lackluster results in promoting maternal health.  C-Fam’s Rebecca Oas noted that UNFPA’s 2016 stats show that “UNFPA didn’t save any women’s lives [with U.S. funding] apart from through contraception.”

The crux of UNFPA’s defense was that it has the “potential” of saving 2,340 women’s lives because they would not die in childbirth if using UNFPA-provided contraception. The International Planned Parenthood Federation, which Trump also defunded, equated this to Trump’s killing of thousands of women, tweeting, “SHAME ON U #TRUMP!” Defunding @UNFPA will lead to 2340 women’s deaths in pregnancy/childbirth.”

Oas concluded that, “UNFPA and its billion-dollar budget will undoubtedly emerge from this just fine” because the funds will be redirected to maternal health programs that have “more oversight and accountability to the American taxpayer and are subject to the Mexico City Policy, unlike UNFPA.”

Lack of oversight and partnership with abortion groups is the reason President Ronald Reagan defunded UNFPA in 1985, on the heels of the original Mexico City Policy.

In 1983 UNFPA gave Chinese and Indian officials the agency’s top award for their population control programs which were widely known to be abusive. In 1985, rather than depart China and India and recoup funding, UNFPA chose to stay on, arguing they could help steer China away from coercive tactics such as forced abortions. After some forty years that has not happened, and UNFPA’s presence has arguably made things worse both due to its moral endorsement and material support.

In 1989 UNFPA gave China $59 million to improve maternal health. Beijing then launched a violent crack-down on infractions of its one child policy after the Tiananmen Square massacre.

In 2010 historian Matthew Connelly debated UNFPA executive director Babatunde Osotimehin, asking why UNFPA has continued its partnership with the Chinese despite its abuses. Osotimehin remained unapologetic about the association.

In 2016 Osotimehin was put on the defensive in his own country of Nigeria when he promoted abortion for pregnant girls who had been abducted by Boko Haram terrorists. During a funding slump, countries scolded him for “harassing” them into contributions and African countries objected to UNFPA’s promotion of sexual activity for youth in their traditional societies.

Contributions to UNFPA topped a billion dollars last year. U.S. funds in 2015 totaled $75 million. Thirty one million of that went to core funding, the figure which Trump announced he would cut. More than half of core funding is not spent on services but on overhead such as advocacy for sexual rights for adolescents and youth, comprehensive sexuality education, and monitoring programs.