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US Highlights Commitment to Women’s Reproductive Rights

FILE - Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to the media in Ankara, Turkey, June 4, 2021.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations met Monday with the head of the U.N. Population Fund in the first such high-level engagement in more than four years.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield highlighted the resumption of extensive support to the organization, which provides life-saving health care to millions of women and girls around the world.

“I'm delighted to announce the resumption of U.S. humanitarian funding for UNFPA, including support for the Rohingya refugee crisis, Afghanistan, Sudan and those fleeing the Tigray region,” Thomas-Greenfield tweeted after the meeting.

In April 2017, the Trump administration withdrew funding to UNFPA, saying it “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization” in China.

For decades, China had a “one-child policy” for couples, which it revised in 2016 to a “two-child policy.” The country had been accused of using forced sterilization and abortions to enforce the restrictions. Last week, it relaxed the policy further, saying it would allow families to have up to three children, due to decreasing birth rates.

The United Nations rejected the Trump administration’s accusation, but that did not persuade Washington to restore the nearly $76 million the U.S. contributed to the agency’s core operating budget. It was also the beginning of what many Western diplomats and activists said was the former Republican administration’s war on women’s health and reproductive rights at the United Nations.

Since taking office in January, the Biden administration has offered the agency nearly $31 million toward its core operating budget. Washington has also resumed funding UNFPA’s humanitarian activities, including $2.6 million for the Rohingya refugee crisis and nearly $1.2 million for Ethiopian refugees in Sudan fleeing the conflict in the Tigray Region.

The U.S. is also contributing nearly $1.5 million for international protection issues in Afghanistan and $1.3 million to assist Sudan in improving the response to gender-based violence for internally displaced persons and vulnerable communities.

In 2015, UNFPA received $979 million in total contributions for its work in more than 150 countries. The United States provided nearly $76 million to the fund’s core budget and specific programs and initiatives, making it one of the top international donors.