The U.S. will no longer financially support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the White House declared on Monday.
In justifying that decision, the Associated Press (AP) reports that the Trump administration cited population control programs in China that forced women to have abortions. In specific, a memorandum given to the AP states that the UNFPA partners with the Chinese agency charged with enforcing China’s “two-child policy.”
In response, the UNFPA told the AP that the administration’s decision was regrettable and that it was “erroneous” to imagine that it helped carry out forced abortions or sterilizations in China.
“UNFPA refutes this claim, as all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination,” the agency said.
According to the AP, the U.S. typically shuts off funding for the UNFPA during Republican presidencies, while Democratic administrations turn the funding spigot back on. These changes come due to the interpretation of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, a 1985 law which denies the U.S. federal government from offering foreign aid to any organization that the administration determines is involved in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
The worldwide organization states that it does not focus or participate in any of those activities, and that its primary goals include preventing pregnancy-related deaths, supporting maternal health, encouraging family planning, and campaigning against female genital mutilation.
The State Department said the U.S. will withhold $32.5 million in funding from the program for 2017, and will give it to departments at the U.S. Agency for International Development instead.