US has withdrawn funding for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), an agency that promotes family planning in over 150 countries, a media report said. The Department of State on Monday referred to the presidential directive from January and a provision called the Kemp-Kasten Amendment — enacted for the first time in 1985 as part of a US appropriations law prohibiting foreign aid to any organisation that the administration determines is involved in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation, the BBC reported.
“This determination was made based on the fact that China’s family planning policies still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilisation, and UNFPA partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies,” it said. This is the first of the promised cuts to US financial contributions to the UN by President Donald Trump’s administration.
In response, the UNFPA said it “regrets the decision” and called the claims “erroneous” and that all of its work promotes the rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination. In total $32.5 million in funds is being withdrawn for the 2017 financial year, the BBC reported. With the support of the US, last year UNFPA said it was able to save the lives of thousands of women from dying during pregnancy and childbirth, prevent unintended pregnancies, and unsafe abortions.
The money that had been allocated to the UNFPA for the fiscal year 2017 will be “transferred and reprogrammed to the Global Health Programmes account,” the State Department said. The account will be used by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to support family planning, maternal and reproductive health activities in developing countries, it added.