Sending Office: Honorable Jackie Speier
Sent By:
Yana.Mayayeva@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague,

Please join the Pro-Choice Caucus in signing the following letter to Secretary Pompeo to immediately reverse the Administration’s decision to withhold funding from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

The U.S. recently invoked the Kemp-Kasten determination against UNFPA for a third consecutive year alleging UNFPA is involved in coerced abortion in China. It is regrettable that the Administration did not bother to conduct a site visit of UNFPA’s China
program, despite numerous invitations to do so, or engage with UNFPA despite their work in China to
end coercive abortions. 

UNFPA works in more than 150 countries, including in many refugee and humanitarian emergency settings, to end preventable maternal deaths, provide voluntary family planning, and eradicate gender-based violence such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

It remains difficult to reconcile the Administration’s prohibition on funding for UNFPA with its stated dedication to “empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life.” Sexual and reproductive health care is health care. It is foundational
to any person’s ability to live a healthy, safe, and full life. Denying this care stands in stark contrast to our values as Americans and turns our backs on the world’s women and girls.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNFPA, we should be expanding support for their work, not decimating it. 

To add your boss, please fill out this form:
https://forms.gle/qM384Gv6svtCs3GFA
. The deadline to sign is COB Thursday July 25.

Sincerely,

Jackie Speier   Barbara Lee    Diana DeGette    Nita Lowey    Lois Frankel 
Member of Congress   Member of Congress   Member of Congress   Member of Congress   Member of Congress

July 26, 2019

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

We write to you today to express our strong opposition to the negative Kemp-Kasten determination against the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) for a third consecutive year. The annual determination process continues to be performed in bad faith and without evidence
of violations to the Kemp-Kasten Amendment. Defunding UNFPA is antithetical to American values and jeopardizes the lives and well-being of women and girls. 

UNFPA works in more than 150 countries to end preventable maternal deaths, provide voluntary family planning, and eradicate gender-based violence such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. By withholding funding from UNFPA, this Administration
is withholding lifesaving care from the world’s women and girls and abdicating our leadership on human rights. Defunding UNFPA also threatens other key global health goals, such as ending the HIV epidemic.

The Administration made this determination without any evidence to justify its serious allegations of “forced sterilization” and “coerced abortions.”
It is regrettable that the Administration did not bother to conduct a site visit of UNFPA’s China program, despite numerous invitations to do so, or engage with UNFPA despite their work in China to end coercive abortions. 

As in years past, the State Department based this year’s Kemp-Kasten determination against UNFPA on a posted program document – edited and approved by the United States – that lists UNFPA’s “partnership” with China’s Ministry of Health. You neglect to link
any such partnership to violations of the provision. Partnerships between the Chinese Ministry of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services do not appear to trigger a Kemp-Kasten violation.

As a member of UNFPA’s Executive Board, the U.S. Government helped shape and approve UNFPA’s current China workplan, stating upon approval in 2015 “[o]ur delegation welcomed the opportunity to provide comments on the draft [China] country program upon its
return [from a visit to UNFPA’s Office in China] and also appreciated UNFPA’s willingness to consider our proposed amendments. The U.S. supports the priorities outlined in the UNFPA’s 8th Country Program… [d]uring its recent visit, the U.S. delegation
observed the positive impact of UNFPA’s rights-based programming in China.”

The State Department has not stated what – if anything – has changed in the current workplan to trigger a negative determination. The U.S. is the only UN Member State that has ever raised concerns about UNFPA’s work in China. 

In the midst of a global refugee and humanitarian crisis, this determination inexplicably extends to UNFPA’s work in emergency settings, depriving women in places like Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela from accessing critical family planning, prenatal care, safe
childbirth services, and protection from violence. In many cases, UNFPA is the only organization that operates in these areas. Prior to the 2017 determination, the U.S. was the second largest contributor to UNFPA’s humanitarian efforts. 

It remains difficult to reconcile the Administration’s prohibition on funding for UNFPA with its stated dedication to “empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life.” With 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions facing
an unmet need for modern contraceptives, cutting off U.S. assistance to UNFPA will undermine the Administration’s stated objective to empower women. Sexual and reproductive health care is health care. It is foundational to any person’s ability to live a healthy,
safe, and full life. Denying this care stands in stark contrast to our values as Americans and turns our backs on the world’s women and girls. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNFPA, we should be expanding support for their work, not decimating
it.  

We call on you to immediately reverse this decision and answer the following questions:

  1. What evidence justifies the serious allegation that UNFPA supports or participates in coercive abortion in China?
  2. President George W. Bush’s Administration sent an independent team to investigate UNFPA’s work in China and found no evidence that it was in violation of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment. Will the Trump Administration commit to conducting a site visit of the UNFPA
    Office in China to provide evidence, if any, for its allegations? If not, why?
  3. Did the Administration consider UNFPA’s positive contributions in providing family planning and maternal health, eradicating gender-based violence, and training health care workers when making this decision?
  4. Officials from the State Department and USAID promised to “consult closely with UNFPA to carefully assess whether UNFPA’ s programs may continue to warrant the [funding] restriction in future years.” Can you describe the close consultation with UNFPA you
    committed to undertake?
  5. Much of the Kemp Kasten determination cites history and policies of the Government of China. Have you raised these concerns with the Chinese government directly? 

Sincerely,

 

 
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