WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has ended government funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) over concerns about its complicity in China’s one-child/two-child policy—an accusation that the organization denies.
According to reports, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker received a letter this week from the U.S. State Department advising him of the development.
“This determination was made based on the fact that China’s family planning policies still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization, and UNFPA partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies,” the letter read.
The Associated Press reports that the $32.5 million that had previously been earmarked for UNFPA will instead be funneled to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which works to lower maternal mortality rates and reduce gender-based violence in foreign countries.
After China announced in 2015 that it was changing its one-child population control policy to two-child, New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith denounced the UNFPA as being partially responsible for the deaths of the unborn.
“For the past 35 years the Chinese government has wasted precious human potential and sanctioned state-sponsored violence against women and children–enabled by pro-abortion groups globally and the United Nations Population Fund,” he said. “No one should applaud China’s announced ‘two-child’ policy; instead we should be insisting they abolish intrusive and abusive birth restrictions forever.”
However, on Tuesday, UNFPA released a statement denying claims that the organization “supports, or participates in the management of, a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”
“UNFPA refutes this claim, as all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination. Indeed, United Nations Member States have long described UNFPA’s work in China as a force for good,” it wrote.
“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,” it said. “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.”
As previously reported, just days after taking office, President Trump signed an executive order re-establishing Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy, which blocks federal funding from being sent to organizations that provide or promote abortions. The policy has been revoked by every Democratic president and revived with every Republican leader.
“I think the president, it’s no secret, has made it very clear that he’s a pro-life president,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in regard to the order. “And I think the reinstatement of this policy is not just something that echoes that value, but respects taxpayer funding as well, and ensures that we’re standing up not just for life of the unborn, but for also taxpayer funds that are being spent overseas to perform an action that is contrary to the values of this president.”
However, Trump, outlined in an op-ed last January that he believes exceptions should be “allowed for rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk.” He also told NBC’s “Today Show” last April that he would like to change the Republican platform to include the three exceptions since there are currently none in the text.