Trump Puts Thousands Of Women In Syria At Risk By Defunding U.N. Group

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President Donald Trumps administration defunded a crucial world maternal health organisation this week, and justified the move by accusing the group of supporting abortions and forced sterilization in China.

But the United Nation Population Fund doesnt actually fund, supporting or administer abortions or sterilization procedures, said Sarah Craven, the programs administrator. The core mission of UNFPA is to ensure that marginalized ladies get adequate access to maternal health care so that they can deliver healthy children in a dignified behavior. The U.S. helped found the organization in 1969.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The Trump administration announced on Monday that it would defund the United Nations Population Fund. It accused the group of supporting abortion and forced sterilization in China. UNFPA denies supporting or money those procedures.

If the Trump administration follows through with its plan topull $76 millionfrom UNFPA, the organization would lose about 7 percent of its budget and be forced to shutter some maternal health clinics and stop offering certain health care services in areas facing humanitarian emergencies something who are able to threw the lives of thousands of women and unborn children at risk.This is particularly of concern in Syria, which is reeling from both a deadly chemical attempt earlier the coming week and aU.S. airstrikethat was waged in response to it.

If you look at whats happened in the past week, in terms of Syrians fleeing from the most horrific and unimaginable violence the Syrian situation is not going away. Its only improved in scale, Craven told. Pregnancy continues even in conflict and natural disaster.

Pregnancy continues even in conflict and natural disaster. Sara Craven, UNFPA

UNFPA, which operates programs in 150 countries, is still in an early stage of assessing which initiatives it is also necessary to axe. But the organization liberated a number of devastating figures to demonstrate where the cuts will be felt most.

Trump slashing UNFPAs budget would result in about 48,000 pregnant women in Syria losing access to safe deliveries, different groups said in a release.

The organization subsistences pregnant women in the two countries in a variety of ways, including by providing delivery kits containing a plastic sheet, a razor blade, a saloon of soap, a rope and string. This is the most rudimentary style to ensure a safe delivery, Craven said.

Muhammad Hamed/ Reuters
Syrian twins Malak and Ahmad are recognized during a ceremony that UNFPA held in March 2016 to celebrate the birth of five, 000 babies with no maternal demises at Al Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

UNFPA operates the only maternal health clinic at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, and Craven said the funding cuts will hurt Syrian women who are lucky enough to make it there.About 7,100 babies have been born at the ward without a single maternal death.

The cuts will likewise likely lead to about 50,000 people in Yemen losing access to reproductive health services. Virtually 120 midwives stand to lose their home-based clinics, which could also lead to more women dying in childbirth. Home births play a critical role in remote conflict zones where women cant access hospitals.

This is, yet again, another attack on sexual and reproductive health and those key services that are really essential, told Jonathan Rucks, advocacy director of Population Action International, a group that works with UNFPA to champion womens reproductive rights. Another attack on womens health without any regard for the implications for this decision.

They literally sat at a desk and Googled, and did a desk review and made a determination. Jonathan Rucks, advocacy administrator of PAI

Rucks said he found it especially frustrating that the U.S. State Department didnt even visit China before deciding to cut funding to UNFPA.

Theyve made this decision without doing any research in country, Rucks mentioned. They literally sat at a desk and Googled, and did a desk review and made a determination. They are now moving to defund, which is going to have an incredible impact on humanitarian situates around the world.

The State Department said in a statement to The Huffington Post that there is no evidence that UNFPA immediately engages in coercive abortions and involuntary disappearances sterilizations in China. But the U.N. group partners with the Chinese government agency responsible for implementing the countrys two-child policy, which the State Department said it considered enough of a reason to defund the group.

But UNFPAs connection doesnt signify much, Craven said.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission in China is the equivalent of a Ministry of Health, she told, adding that its standard for any human rights organization is working in China to work with it.

If you look at the working groups working in China, thats the entity everyone has to engage with, Craven told. Its no different than what we do in every country where we work.

The UNFPAs programs in China focus on advancing reproductive rights, so individuals can choose when and how many children to have.

In the past, the State Department saw no mistake in UNFPAs the programmes in China. Department members lauded the UNFPAs efforts in China in 2015, after visiting the country with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

During its recent visit, the U.S. delegation observed the positive effect of UNFPAs rights-based programming in China, the organizations said in a statement at the time. We commend[ UNFPAs] adherence to demonstrating the advantages of a voluntary approach to family planning and were pleased to see … increased provider emphasis on patient rights, especially with regard to privacy and confidentiality.

Former President George W. Bush also defunded UNFPA between 2002 and 2008. That decision was frustrating at the time, but the world wasnt facing the number of humanitarian crises that it is now.Also, the Bush administration conducted a two-week visit to China before stimulating that decision and likewise didnt find any evidence had demonstrated that UNFPA knowingly supported or participated in coercive abortion and involuntary disappearances sterilization.

At the end of the day, they both did the same thing, Rucks told of Bush and Trump. At least[ the Bush] administration sent somebody to China. At least they went.

Such articles has been updated with statement from the State Department and with more information about how UNFPA works with the Chinese government .

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