U.S. Cuts Off U.N. Agency That Supports Contraception

In Governing and the Cabinet, WOMEN'S ISSUES -- articles only On
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While the administration had signaled back in January that was adopting a tougher stance toward family planning services that provide abortion counseling, the move was nonetheless a stunning piece of news to advocates for women’s and children’s health, particularly in the developing world.

In a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs said it had determined that the Population Fund “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization,” a reference to the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, a 1980s-era law enacted in response to evidence of forced abortions and involuntary sterilization in China.

The Population Fund is the single largest international provider of contraception, family planning, and other reproductive health services. In 2016, health advocacy groups say, American support for the organization’s work prevented an estimated 320,000 pregnancies and averted 100,000 unsafe abortions, while ensuring 800,000 people had access to contraception.

The organization is financed with voluntary contributions. According to its 2015 annual report, the latest available, the United States was the fourth-largest donor with contributions exceeding $75 million.

The International Women’s Health Coalition, a New York-based group, said in a statement that the Trump administration’s decision was “a major blow to the world’s most important agency for reproductive health.” The Population Fund said that it regretted the decision, asserting it had been based on an “erroneous claim.”

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