Trump Administration Defunds UNFPA

By Stacie Murphy

In a not-exactly-shocking development, the Trump administration announced Monday night that it will use its authority to bar U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Do you think Donald Trump even knows what UNFPA is? (Personally, if I could I would head to Vegas and bet everything I own on “No,” but maybe you give him more credit than I do).

Four Reasons Why UNFPA Performs a Vital Public Service

  1. He probably doesn’t know that UNFPA works in more than 150 countries—three times as many as where the U.S. works on its own.
  2. Or that in 2016 *alone,* US funding to the organization provided access to birth control for 800,000 people.
  3. Or that UNFPA is a leading voice in programs to end gender based violence, prevent and treat obstetric fistula, and end the harmful practice of female genital mutilation.
  4. And I’m sure he’s never heard about the safe childbirth kits they hand out to pregnant women in disaster areas—kits that enable women and their babies to survive when there’s no skilled health care available.

He. Has. No. Idea.

And that’s infuriating. But if I am being honest, it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter because even if Donald Trump did know about all of the great work UNFPA does, he’d probably go along with defunding it anyway.

UNFPA Is a Constant Target of Ideologues

UNFPA is the perennial target of a certain kind of right-wing ideologue, and the pretext for defunding it has always been (and remains under this administration) hilariously flimsy. It goes like this: China has a record of coercive practices that violate human rights; UNFPA works in China; therefore, UNFPA supports coercion. Of course, this isn’t true. UNFPA doesn’t provide or pay for abortion. UNFPA has consistently opposed reproductive coercion in all forms. And UNFPA has always been a clear and constant voice urging China to adopt programs that respect the rights of individuals to make their own reproductive decisions.

As far as I can tell, Donald Trump isn’t personally a right-wing ideologue (To be an ideologue of any kind, you have to have an ideology. Greed and a pathological need for approval don’t count).  But when it comes to policies affecting women and families around the world, it’s all too clear that he’s completely willing to outsource the work to them.

Just like when the administration announced a radically expanded version of Global Gag Rule, women will die because of this decision.

Donald Trump might not know that. But what’s worse is that we know he doesn’t care.


Stacie Murphy is the Policy Director at Population Connection Action Fund.

Categories: Blog