UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The State Department said on Monday it was ending U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund, the international body’s agency focused on family planning as well as maternal and child health in more than 150 countries.
In a letter to U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, the State Department said it was dropping the funding because the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) “supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”
The cut marks U.S. President Donald Trump’s first move to curtail funding for the United Nations and is likely to raise further questions about how deep those cuts will eventually go throughout the organization, where the United States is the top donor.
It comes after Trump in January reinstated the so-called Mexico City Policy that withholds U.S. funding for international organizations that perform abortions or provide information about abortion.
Known by critics as the “global gag” rule, Trump broadened its scope to include all global health assistance in his Jan. 23 executive order that withholds at least half a billion dollars in U.S. funds. A lack of clarity around the rule, however, has left aid groups scrambling and both Republican and Democratic U.S. lawmakers seeking clarity.