IPPF Director General Tewodros Melesse has said that a decision by the US Government to withdraw funding from the United Nations Population Fund will have “devastating consequences” for women and girls around the world.
Mr Melesse said:
“The money the US administration now wants to withdraw would have been spent on health care for some of the poorest and most vulnerable women and girls in the world.
“It will take away funding for contraception, maternal care and the safe delivery of babies, as well as programmes to counter gender-based violence.
“IPPF works closely with UNFPA in some of the most difficult situations in the world to provide this kind of care, especially in the poorest regions of the world’s poorest countries. The women and girls living in these situations are especially vulnerable, and this will have devastating consequences for them.”
Mr Melesse added: “This is the second blow this year delivered to health care for women and girls around the world by the new US Administration.
“The re-enactment of the Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy) has already denied US funding for contraception services, HIV programmes and work to counter the Zika outbreak to IPPF and other health organisations.
“We estimate that the $100m in funding IPPF expects to lose will stop us from preventing 20,000 maternal deaths, will lead to 4.8m unintended pregnancies and 1.7 million unsafe abortions.
“We should be clear. None of the funding being withdrawn by the US administration is spent in the provision of abortion or in support of coercive reproductive policies. This is a smokescreen for cuts in funding, nothing more.
“As a rights-based organisation, IPPF works in partnership with UNFPA and other health and human rights organisations to provide tens of millions of women and girls with the right to choose how and when they use contraception and to access other live-saving health services.
“UNFPA brings governments together to work on commonly-agreed policies such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which are vital in the fight to try to ensure sexual and reproductive health care for everyone.
“I am deeply sorry that for a second time in the space of three months the US Administration has decided to deny critical health services to the people who need them most. We know that tens of thousands of lives will be lost as a result.”