Led by opponents of women’s health, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 23–17 yesterday to eliminate U.S. funding for to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.
UNFPA works directly with governments in over 150 countries around the world to improve health care and strengthen health systems. UNFPA estimates that an annual contribution of $50 million helps prevent 7,000 maternal and newborn deaths, allows 10,000 women afflicted by a fistula to have a surgical repair, and around one million couples to benefit from modern methods of family planning. The U.S. contributed $55 million to the agency last year and allocated $40 million this year.
Opponents of U.S. support for UNFPA have long made baseless claims that because the agency works in China it must support forced abortion and sterilization. Contrary to this rhetoric, UNFPA does not perform or fund abortions. In fact, UNFPA plays an important role working to expand voluntary family planning programs in China and reform the country’s human rights standards.
“Efforts to defund UNFPA are clearly ideological attacks that put politics before the health and well-being of millions of women and children around the world,” said Latanya Mapp Frett, vice president-global, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “More than 215 million women around the world want to delay or prevent pregnancy but do not have access to contraception. UNFPA works with governments and local organizations to fulfill this need. Cutting off women’s access to vital services will only drive up rates of unintended pregnancy and pregnancy complications, leading to higher global rates of unsafe abortion and maternal death. ”
During yesterday’s committee vote, supporters of UNFPA’s vital work offered 10 separate amendments that would allow U.S. funding for the agency, but restrict that support to activities such as contraceptive services or safe childbirth and emergency obstetric care. The majority defeated all 10 amendments.
October 06, 2011
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
October 06, 2011