For the fourth year in a row, the Bush Administration has withheld delivering $34 million in Congressionally approved funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), based on false allegations that the UNFPA participates in coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization in China. This funding would have been used to prevent as many as 2 million unwanted pregnancies and 4,700 maternal deaths in developing countries. Moreover, the cutoff reduces urgently needed funds to treat women suffering from obstetric fistula or other illnesses from childbirth in the developing nations.
“This decision is disheartening because it contradicts clear evidence that UNFPA works hard to end coercion by proving the efficacy and superiority of the voluntary approach to family planning over any other alternative,” said Thoraya Obaid, UNFPA’s Executive Director.
When Bush first began withholding funds in 2002, activists Jane Roberts and Lois Abraham formed 34 Million Friends for UNFPA to try to replace some of the lost funds (now totaling $136 million). To date they have raised more than $2.7 million. For more information or to donate to the cause, visit www.34millionfriends.org.