UnPresidented

By Stacie Murphy, Policy Director

$0.

Zero dollars.

That’s how much the Trump administration thinks we should spend on international family planning.

It wasn’t enough to impose a radically expanded Global Gag Rule. It wasn’t enough to ban funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). No, these people have such utter contempt for women and families around the world that they want to COMPLETELY ELIMINATE programs that impact millions of lives by helping people plan their families and their futures.

The current budget allocates just over $607 million for family planning. Trump wants it gone.

What will that mean?

Well, the Guttmacher Institute has data on what our family planning assistance achieves in the developing world. According to their analysis, the United States’ funding for international family planning means:

  • 26 million women and couples receive contraceptive services and supplies;
  • 8 million unintended pregnancies prevented;
  • 3 million induced abortions prevented (the majority of which would occur in unsafe conditions); and
  • 15,000 maternal deaths prevented.

That’s the effect of ONE YEAR of funding. And those numbers, dramatic as they are, don’t even take into account the secondary effects of family planning: increased levels of education and economic empowerment, especially for girls; lower levels of poverty for families; and less competition for scarce natural resources.

The total elimination of international family planning funding is (fortunately?) not the only outrageous thing in the budget. It calls for dramatic cuts to both international and domestic programs—cuts that are so severe that even Republican members of Congress have pronounced the budget plan “dead on arrival.”

That almost doesn’t matter, though. The Trump White House has gone out of its way to demonstrate its complete disregard for the needs of women and families around the world. And they’ve done it in perhaps the cruelest way possible. They’ve gone on the record as believing that international family planning programs—programs that save the lives of women and children and make communities stronger around the world—aren’t worth a penny of US support.

It’s short-sighted. It’s disgusting. It’s infuriating. And it’s also, unfortunately, exactly the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from Donald Trump.

Categories: Blog
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