Trump has halted funds to the UN's maternal health fund because of its stance on abortion

Trump has halted funds to the UN's maternal health fund because of its stance on abortion
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump has dealt yet another devastating blow to reproductive health worldwide.

Monday night, his administration announced the United States would stop contributions to a United Nations fund for family planning, maternal care and children's health — known as UNFPA — in more than 155 countries.

But despite the good UNFPA may do for millions of women, families and children across the globe, Trump and his cohorts just can't get past the fund's pesky stance on abortion. According to the Guardian, the state department explained in a letter that it was halting the country's funds because UNFPA "supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."

In a statement on UNFPA's website, officials denied these allegations, writing that Trump's decision had been based on an "erroneous claim" that the fund supports these practices in China. 

UNFPA officials added that they "regret" the end of U.S. involvement in the fund and, frankly, they gave the Trump administration quite the guilt trip:

The United States, one of our founding members, has long partnered with UNFPA to protect and promote the reproductive health and rights of women and girls, thereby fostering healthier women and girls and their families. The support we received over the years from the government and people of the United States has saved tens of thousands of mothers from preventable deaths and disabilities, and especially now in the rapidly developing global humanitarian crises.

Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule on Jan. 23.
Source: 
Pool/Getty Images

This move from the Trump administration follows the president's January executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, a measure that forbids the U.S. from sending money overseas to organizations providing abortions.

There's no understating the disastrous effects of the law, which serves not only to block access to abortion and contraception — causing spikes in unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths — but also could have impacts on global health issues like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and the Zika virus.

But never mind all of that, because cutting funds to these causes helps keep Trump right on budget. The Guardian reported that the latest slash to UNFPA helps Trump achieve his proposed 28% budget reduction for "diplomacy and foreign aid." 

UNFPA though is still holding out hope that his administration could have a change of heart.

"We have always valued the United States as a trusted partner and leader in helping to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled," UNFPA's statement reads. "We, therefore, look forward to continuing our work with the United States to address these global concerns and to restore our strong partnership to save the lives of women and girls globally."

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Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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