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JULY 22, 2002
5:00 PM
Jody Frisch at (202) 973-3032
Bush Cancels United Nations Funds
World's Poorest Women Fall Victim to Anti-Choice Politics

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 and safety."

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.


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