US decision to cut funds to UNFPA ‘will cost lives’ – Women Deliver

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US decision to cut funds to UNFPA ‘will cost lives’

By Ogechi Ekeanyanwu | Development Cable | 5 April 2017

Katja Iversen, president/CEO of  Women Deliver, global advocate for the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women, says the decision of the US to cut funds to UNFPA will cost women their lives.

On Tuesday, the Donald Trump administration decided to stop funding the UNFPA  over what the UNFPA described as the “erroneous claim that UNFPA supports, or participates in the management of a programme of coercive abortion of involuntary sterilization in China”.

UNFPA has denied this, saying “all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination”.

Women Deliver said the US decision to cut support for UNFPA will undermine any progress made towards gender equality and will have grave consequences for girls and women.

In a statement on the website of Women Deliver, the organisation said, “The U.S defunding of UNFPA is senseless and shortsighted. It will cost lives and money, while contributing to a more unequal and unstable world.

“This appears to be an ideological war on women’s health and rights… The truth doesn’t seem to matter here and neither do data on the grave consequences of the cut.”

Women Deliver vowed to continue speaking out against harmful policies against girls and women.

UNFPA said in 2016, it used the funds received from the US to save the lives of 2,340 women from dying during pregnancy and child birth, and also prevented 947,000 unintended pregnancies, ensured 1, 251 fistula surgeries and prevented 295,000 unsafe abortions.