July 26, 2019

Congresswoman Lee, Pro-Choice Caucus Leaders, and 146 House Members Urge Administration to Immediately Reverse Decision to Withdraw Funding from UNFPA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, joined with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC), Diana DeGette (CO-1), Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, Committee on Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (NY-17), DWC Co-Chair Lois Frankel (FL-21) and 146 additional 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 provides critical services to improve the health of women and girls around the world, said Congresswoman Lee“The Trump Administration’s heartless decision to withhold funding from UNFPA will undermine the United States’ long-standing of improving maternal and newborn survival and its ability to provide voluntary reproductive health care and family planning services. This decision is wrong and counterproductive.”  

“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.”   

As Vice Chair of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Congresswoman Lee helped to secure increased funding for international family planning and a robust contribution to UNFPA in the Fiscal Year 20 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations billUNFPA 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.   

A copy of the letter can be found here.