Bush Administration Withholds UNFPA Funding for Fourth Consecutive Year
Resulting Lack of Critical Family Planning Services Will Lead to Thousands of Deaths Around the World
Washington, DC — For the fourth year in a row, the Bush administration has announced it will withhold funding from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, the world's only multilateral agency primarily dedicated to family planning and reproductive health care. Experts estimate that the U.S. contribution to UNFPA would prevent two million unintended pregnancies, nearly 800,000 abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths, and 77,000 infant and child deaths each year.
"Yet again President Bush has put ideology at the forefront, and the result will be thousands of preventable deaths among the world's poorest people" said Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). "UNFPA provides basic reproductive health care — birth control, prenatal and obstetric care, and HIV-prevention programs — that serve millions of women and men around the world each year. There is no excuse for withholding this funding."
The Bush administration has withheld funding because it alleges UNFPA's family planning efforts in China violate "Kemp-Kasten," a vaguely-worded law that prohibits U.S. funding of coercive abortion and forced sterilization. In actuality, UNFPA does the opposite, working with the Chinese government to eliminate coercive practices and to promote voluntary family planning and birth control methods. This has been confirmed by several groups sent to monitor the situation, including a fact-finding team handpicked by the Bush administration.
"Planned Parenthood believes in the right of every individual to decide freely and responsibly when and whether to have a child," continued Pearl. "We are firmly against coercion. However, charges that UNFPA supports coercive practices are false, as the president's own fact-finding team has made clear. UNFPA works to end such practices and provides vital services on which millions of people rely each year."