WASHINGTON - July 22 - "President
Bush's anti-choice agenda continues to expand beyond America's borders, jeopardizing
the lives of the world's poorest and most vulnerable women," stated NARAL
Executive Vice President Mary Jane Gallagher. "Today, almost seven months
after freezing $34 million in U.N. family-planning funds, the President caved
to the demands of his most anti-choice political base and cancelled the appropriation
altogether," added Gallagher.
"While this administration professes to care about the health and lives
of women here and abroad, today's action is in blatant disregard for women's health
Contrary to those who mischaracterize UNFPA, the program does not fund abortions.
Instead, it provides voluntary reproductive health care and family planning services
to the world's poorest citizens. A recent report to the State Department confirmed
this and found no evidence of coercive abortion tactics and recommended releasing
the entire $34 million.
"Ironically, opponents of UNFPA claim their goal is to reduce abortion.
Yet, it is estimated that the lack of funds will result in over 1 million abortions
from over 3 million unintended pregnancies," Gallagher added.
Background: The United Nations Population Fund is the largest internationally
funded source of population assistance to developing countries. Over the past
30 years, UNFPA has provided more than $4.3 billion in assistance to over 160
countries. The loss of this funding accounts for 13 percent of UNFPA's total budget
and will cause the United Nations to cut vital health programs across the globe.