Washington, DC – Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC) Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chairs of the Pro-Choice Caucus Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Diana DeGette (CO-1), Committee on Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (NY-17), and DWC Co-Chair Lois Frankel (FL-21) were joined by 141 colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urging the Administration to immediately reverse its decision to withhold U.S. funding from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). For a third consecutive year, the Administration has invoked the Kemp-Kasten determination alleging that UNFPA is involved with forced sterilization and coerced abortions in China.
UNFPA works in more than 150 countries to end preventable maternal deaths, provide voluntary family planning, and eradicate gender-based violence such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. The Administration made this decision without any evidence to justify its serious allegations and did not bother to conduct a site visit of UNFPA’s China program, despite numerous invitations to do so, or engage with UNFPA despite their work in China to end coercive abortions.
“It remains difficult to reconcile the Administration’s prohibition on funding for UNFPA with its stated dedication to ‘empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life.’ With 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions facing an unmet need for modern contraceptives, cutting off U.S. assistance to UNFPA will undermine the Administration’s stated objective to empower women,” the Members wrote. “Sexual and reproductive health care is health care. It is foundational to any person’s ability to live a healthy, safe, and full life. Denying this care stands in stark contrast to our values as Americans and turns our backs on the world's women and girls. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNFPA, we should be expanding support for their work, not decimating it.”
In their letter, Members requested information about what evidence justifies these serious allegations, whether the Administration will commit to sending an independent team to investigate UNFPA’s work in China, and whether the Administration considered UNFPA’s positive contributions when making this decision.
Click here for a copy of the letter.