NEW YORK ― Days after Melania Trump presented courage awards to 13 women working for gender equity around the globe, President Donald Trump’s administration halted all U.S. grants to the United Nations Population Fund, an international humanitarian aid organization that provides reproductive health care and works to end child marriage and female genital cutting in more than 150 countries.
The State Department invoked the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which he said will ensure that “U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” President George W. Bush used the same policy to defund the UNFPA from 2002 to 2008, arguing that the organization’s presence in China constituted participation in the country’s “one child” coercive family planning policy.
The UNFPA does not provide or promote abortions. The organization works in China to make reproductive health program voluntary and rights-based and has advocated against the country’s one-child policy. The Trump administration did not explain exactly how it determined that the UNFPA violated any U.S. law.
“The UNFPA no longer provides any financial support to the Chinese government to support its family planning program. Not a dollar,” said Peter Yeo, vice president of public policy at the United Nations Foundation. “So I’m not quite frankly sure how you make this Kemp-Kasten determination with a straight face.”