Donald Trump, the US President, decided not to fund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in 2018. This decision was made due to the UNFPA’s support for forced sterilisation and coercive abortions in China.
The US is the largest contributor to the agency. It mandates access and voluntary family planning as well as high-quality sexual health services. It allows individuals to make informed and voluntary decisions about their sexual and/or reproductive lives.
US funding of US$610 million, including US$35 million UNFPA for family planning. Programs and reproductive healthcare helped to prevent 2.4 million unnecessary abortions in 2015. This was in addition to preventing six million unintended pregnancies.
The total amount was US$608 millions in 2016, which also includes UNFPA funding. US Agency for International Development (US AID), has requested US$544 Million for family planning and reproductive healthcare for 2017. The UNFPA funds will be redirected.
Fund Hurting The Poor
Trump’s exclusion of funding has led to major disruptions in key areas such as gender-based violence. Contraceptive research, development and biomedical research, contraceptive supplies, distribution and family planning programs that link HIV/AIDS with sexually transmitted disease (STD) information, post-abortion health education, and training of health workers.
These programs are essential to ensure that thousands of infants do not suffer from health problems. Due to high-risk pregnancy rates, particularly for those born to adolescents. Couples will be unable to access modern contraceptives which could lead to unwanted pregnancies.
Unlawful, unsafe abortions could be the result of a large number of unwanted pregnancies. Equally concerning is the impact of a dearth of education and access to contraceptives on efforts towards containing HIV/AIDS.
The Zika babies’ lack of information about safe termination of pregnancies and the services. That can be provided to help them is a potential threat to the future of national and family health budgets.
Women in poorer countries will not have the opportunity to access family planning education and services. This will make it difficult for them to create some kind of health security within social networks. That do not meet their sexual and reproductive health needs. Women have turned to illegal and unsafe abortions in order to save their lives and avoid certain death.
Southeast Asia’s Women’s Health
The UNFPA and US AID are responsible for ensuring the reproductive and sexual health and well-being of Southeast Asian women and girls. They also manage policies and programs in relation to population, including those in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Indonesia.
As they face multiple health issues, the budgets for health in many Southeast Asian countries can be extremely tight. As they may not be prioritized areas, the withdrawal of funding could result in women’s reproductive health and sexual health budgets being cut.
If women have Zika babies, the removal of their right to terminate pregnancies will severely impact family incomes in future. It can also lead to high future health costs in these countries.
A further problem is that abortion rates are not expected to decrease. We will instead see an increase in unsafe abortions, which are one of the leading causes for maternal mortality in the region. We are at risk of compromising the economic security and, by extension, those of these poorer countries.
Both pregnant and raped adolescent girl drop out of school, and can later only get low-skill jobs. Their earning potential is much lower than that of a young woman with at least ten years of literacy and numeracy.
Human Rights And Development Goals
This is a human right issue that can have a significant impact on global health security as well as women’s health. This deficiency must be address by the global community.
Alternatives include a global crisis and instability that could affect peace and stability, especially when it comes to achieving sustainable development goals the shared goals of humanity. These 17 goals require women to be equally and effectively involved.
Gender Equality Goal 5 could be nearly impossible to attain due to the cuts. For example, Target 5.6 outlines the goals to achieve sexual and reproductive health, and rights.
In this context, we need to find like-minded countries that will address the US$32.5 Million UNFPA shortfall in the next budget year.
Donald Trump signed an executive decree reinstituting the global gaunt rule on January 23. This bans NGOs offering information or services regarding abortion. This prompted Norway and the Netherlands, which were both affect by the crisis, to offer financial assistance to help make up the difference so that women in need can continue to have access to safe abortions and birth control.
Considering Recent Fund Cuts
The crisis is too severe and resources are too limit to fill the gap quickly, especially considering recent cuts to UNFPA funds. This could be an opportunity for China, particularly in areas where it has historical and current ties to the problem.
China is trying to be a responsible global citizen, despite continuing human rights violations both at home and abroad. China’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, its recent emphasis on renewable energy, its plans to create a national park that is 60% larger than Yellow Stone National Park in order to protect Siberian Tigers and Amur leopards, and its plan for ending all ivory trade by 2017.
The rising superpower may be able to help create equal access to health and well-being for some of the poorer areas in the world, such as Africa, where it has vested interest, and Southeast Asia where it has historical and economic ties.
China seems to be weaving a narrative that portrays a soft power rather than the US’s hard line. It is gaining international respect and kudos, whether it was intentional or not. It would be a great fund way to gain more respect from the international community by adding the global security of health and safety to its excellent international citizen hat.