The United States said this month that it will not support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the third year in a row.
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has determined that “China's family planning policies still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization practices,” conditions that under US law require an end to funding.
A State Department spokeswoman said that the reason the United States will not reinstate its funding is that the UN Population Fund's public documents state that “it partners on family planning with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies.“
The funding will now go instead to the U.S. Agency for International Development and will be used for family planning, maternal and reproductive health programs that are in line with the Mexico City Policy (being the United States government policy that blocks U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals, advocate to decriminalize abortion, or expand abortion services).
During the General Assembly meeting this month, the acting U.S. representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Council of the General Assembly Austin Smith said,
“We do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor support the provision, promotion, and referral of abortion in our global health assistance.”
The U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Alex Azar also regularly emphasises that:
“Countries have a sovereign right to be respected on these sensitive, fundamental issues,”.
The U.S. statement added that other American family planning, maternal health, and HIV/AIDS funding amounts to more than $8 billion annually. This is the largest donation of any single country, and more than eight times the budget of UNFPA.
With its original purpose of curbing high population growth now largely redundant, I recently questioned the need for the United Nation’s continuing focus on population control, at all. Good on the United States for holding to its principles, as is its sovereign right.
Shannon Roberts is co-editor of Demography is Destiny, MercatorNet's blog on population issues.