WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Tuesday after the Trump administration announced that it has cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA):
“The Trump administration’s decision to cut off all U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund under the guise that it violates the Kemp-Kasten Amendment is extremely disheartening. UNFPA does not support coercion in reproductive health care, and the Trump administration knows it. This decision, rooted in a false narrative, represents another assault on sexual and reproductive health services by the Trump administration.
“For many women and girls across the world, access to UNFPA’s critical services is truly the difference between life and death. UNFPA addresses the unique needs of extremely vulnerable populations like refugees by providing sexual and reproductive health services, by responding to, preventing gender-based violence, and by focusing on the needs of women and adolescents in conflict. UNFPA fills a critically important role in humanitarian and conflict response.
“The loss of U.S. funding to UNFPA will have an immediate and drastic impact. In Jordan, for example, the United States is currently a major supporter of the only prenatal care facility and maternity ward in Zaatari Camp, the world’s largest Syrian refugee camp. As of early 2017, more than 6,500 babies were delivered without a single maternal or baby death – an extraordinary accomplishment by any measure. Support for this ward is given through U.S. contributions to UNFPA – funds that have now been stripped away by the Trump administration. The fate of this clinic, like hundreds of others around the world, now stands in jeopardy.
“The Trump Administration continues to gut programs and slash funding without considering the vast implications of their decisions. This is a sad day for America, both for our global leadership on humanitarian response, and for our efforts to stand up for the rights of women and girls.”