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is the world’s largest contraception provider — and the Trump administration blocked all U.S. funding to it


Tell Congress: Support women’s health worldwide. End the global gag rule.

Why It Matters

  • The Trump-Pence administration cut off all contributions from the United States to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

  • The move hurt UNFPA’s ability to promote reproductive health; respond to humanitarian crises; and prevent unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths around the world.

  • Abandoning UNFPA took away birth control from thousands of people in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas.

Key Players

Donald Trump

President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Mike Pence

Vice President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State

Nominated by Trump: 3-13-2018
Nikki Haley

Former Ambassador to the United Nations

Resigned: 10-9-2018
Bethany Kozma

Deputy Chief of Staff for USAID, and UN Commission on the Status of Women U.S. Delegation Member

Appointed by Trump: 6-29-2017

“Sometimes I had to work during airstrikes and explosions. I have to take the risk to rescue the pregnant woman's life.”


The Impact: More unsafe abortion and maternal deaths worldwide

  • 12-16-2019
    Republican leaders in Congress block protections in the 2020 government spending bill that would have ended the global gag rule; because the administration blocked funding to UNFPA, money that the spending bill appropriated for UNFPA will be redirected through USAID — but accountability is lacking for where this funding ends up
  • 12-7-2018
    Trump shares intent to name Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador; she later withdraws
  • 5-14-2018 
    Tony Perkins appointed to help represent U.S. on international religious issues
  • 4-26-2018 
    Mike Pompeo, who opposes abortion and gay marriage, becomes Secretary of State
View more +
  • 4-20-2018State Department takes out sexual, reproductive rights from human rights report
  • 1-24-2018: Sam Brownback becomes U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom
  • 6-29-2017: Anti-LGBTQ activist Bethany Kozma appointed to lead USAID gender equality effort
  • 3-30-2017: U.S. pulls out of UNFPA, the UN reproductive health and rights agency
  • 1-24-2017: Anti-abortion advocate Nikki Haley becomes UN Ambassador
  • 1-23-2017: Trump reinstates, expands the global gag rule to restrict abortion access abroad


What U.S. Pullout from UNFPA Means

People rely on UNFPA in over 150 countries, including the world’s most fragile and conflict-affected areas. In 2016 alone, U.S. funding helped UNFPA prevent 947,000 unplanned pregnancies; 295,000 unsafe abortions; and 2,340 maternal deaths.

The U.S. pullout from UNFPA means millions of people — particularly women and girls of color in developing countries in the global south — stand to lose access to contraception, as well as services that save them from obstetric fistula, HIV/AIDS, and dying in childbirth.

Background on UNFPA

Lifesaving Health Care to Women and Girls

UNFPA goes into war zones, natural disasters, refugee camps, and other crises to give women and girls health care — including contraception, lifesaving maternal care, and support for safe deliveries. It also prevents and responds to gender-based violence, child marriage, and female genital mutilation.

Contraceptives Help Reduce Maternal Mortality

Globally, expanding access to contraceptives contributed to a 44% reduction in maternal mortality since 1990.

World Health Organization
Pushing Anti-Abortion Agenda in International COVID-19 Response

In spring 2020, USAID demanded that the U.N. and World Health Organization (WHO) take out abortion as an essential service in their global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19. USAID also wanted the U.N. and WHO to stop explicitly supporting sexual and reproductive health in their international guidance for countries and health program leaders on how to keep people as healthy as possible amid the pandemic. The U.N. and WHO maintained that sexual and reproductive health services, including safe access to abortion, are at risk and must be protected while countries respond to COVID-19.

The Hill
Abandoning Refugee Camp Birth Clinic

Withholding U.S. funding from UNFPA means that the U.S. is no longer supporting a safe birth clinic in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The clinic has helped women fleeing violence in Syria safely deliver more than 9,000 babies.

The Hill
Global Gag Rule Worsens Effects of Defunding UNFPA

What makes defunding UNFPA even worse: The administration reinstated and expanded the global gag rule, which denies reproductive and sexual health care to people in developing countries. The global gag rule bans overseas groups from U.S. health funding if they also provide, refer, or even mention abortion with other funds.


Related Policies

Global Gag Rule