Shaheen Statement on the Trump Administration’s Decision to Cut Funding for Critical Maternal and Reproductive Health Services
**SHAHEEN: “UNFPA’s goal is to ensure that every pregnancy is planned, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled – it’s astounding that the Trump Administration is undermining this mission”**
(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement in response to the State Department’s announcement that it will no longer fund the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides critical family planning, and maternal and child health services in more than 155 countries worldwide. The Trump Administration’s determination that UNFPA supports population control programs in China that include coercive abortion is directly contradicted by the Administration’s own statement that there is no evidence to support that UNFPA engages in such activities.
“The Trump Administration’s reckless decision to cut funding for critical family planning and maternal health programs relied on by millions of women around the world reveals the lengths that President Trump will go in pursuit of his extreme agenda,” said Senator Shaheen. “UNFPA programs provide women and families in conflict zones, refugee camps, and some of the poorest parts of the world with critical health care such as family planning and contraceptive services, pre- and post-natal care and life-saving health services. Since its creation in 1969, UNFPA’s programs have a record of success, cutting by half the number of women dying from complications during pregnancy or childbirth in volatile areas. I’m extremely disappointed that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley went back on her word when she said during her confirmation hearing that she supports family planning programs such as those provided by UNFPA. These programs never have, and still do not support any abortion services. UNFPA’s goal is to ensure that every pregnancy is planned, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled – it’s astounding that the Trump Administration is undermining this mission.”
During the confirmation hearing for UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, in response to a question from Shaheen, Haley said she would “absolutely support” the continuation of family planning programs by UNFPA. Shaheen asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearing to “pledge to continue to prioritize quality family planning and reproductive health services for women worldwide,” however, he stopped short of committing to continuing the current level of support for such programs. In 2016, the U.S. contribution for UNFPA’s work prevented more than 10,000 maternal deaths. Additionally, U.S. support helped UNFPA avert 320,000 unintended pregnancies and 100,000 unsafe abortions.
In January, President Trump reinstated and drastically expanded the Mexico City policy, which bans federal funds for foreign non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. The following day, Shaheen introduced the Global HER Act, bipartisan legislation that would permanently repeal the harmful policy. In March, Senator Shaheen led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Tillerson on the damage of re-implementing the Mexico City Policy and requesting that the State Department work with Senators on its implementation. That letter went unanswered.