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By Andrew Follett
The Department of State laid out why it no longer funds the United Nations’ family planning arm in a memo sent to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relation.
The department said U.S. government money will not be given to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and any other organization that “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”
The UNPF was founded in 1969 when overpopulation was a major political issue. Democratic administrations usually give taxpayer dollars to the group, but the Trump administration won’t be giving the $32.5 million to the UNPF this year.
Pro-life groups have regularly accused UNPF of supporting coercive population control programs, like China’s “one-child policy.” Part of the organization’s stated goal is to “deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted,” and some claim the group was created, in part, to prevent the spread of communism through abortion.
The president has the authority to withhold federal funding from foreign appropriations bills. The U.S. was UNPF’s fourth-largest donor under the Obama administration, but the past few Republican administrations have denied taxpayer funding to the group.
Population control supporters aren’t happy with Trump’s decision.
“What is it about women’s empowerment and autonomy that is so offensive to this administration?,” Brian Dixon, vice president of Population Connection, said in a statement. “Don’t be fooled. Today’s action to bar any aid to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) by the Trump administration has absolutely nothing to do with defending human rights in China or anywhere else.”
Instead of donating to UNPF, the State Department fund U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) global health programs.
Population became an intellectual fad in the 1970s, and advocates claimed “100 to 200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” They predicted that millions of humans would starve to death and that mass famines would sweep rich countries, like England.
Those predictions failed to materialize, and, instead, a massive agricultural revolution boosted the world’s food supply in the following decades.