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Trump Administration Denies Funding to UNFPA

On April 3, 2017, the U.S. State Department informed Congress that, in accord with the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, the Trump Administration has made the determination that the United Nations Population Fund (referred to as the UNFPA) supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization and thus would be denied the use of funds appropriated for fiscal year 2017.

In an accompanying memorandum the Administration documents that the Chinese Government is engaged in a coercive population control program, employing various methods, including coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization. The China policy was first enacted in 1979 (“one-child policy”) and revised late in 2015 with an effective date of January 1, 2016 (“two-child policy”). The UNFPA began its program in China in 1978 and has supported the government’s population control policies to this day. In a 1991 news story, Nafis Sadik, the executive director of the UNFPA, held up the China program as a model for others. The story concluded: “Now the country [China] could offer its experiences and special experts to help other countries” (XINHUA [China’s official news agency], April 11, 1991).

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113), carried over into early 2017, contains the Kemp-Kasten Amendment in Division K, Title III, “Global Health Programs,” third proviso. The UNFPA was slated to receive $32.5 million (Sec. 7082(a)). If these funds are not made available to the UNFPA “because of the operation of any provision of law,” the funds are to be transferred to “Global Health Programs” (Sec. 7082(b)). The State Department communication to Congress notes this transfer of funds.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, welcomed the State Department’s announcement, stating: “Chinese families have endured unspeakable abuses, including onerous fines, mandatory pregnancy exams, coerced sterilizations and forced abortions.” Cardinal Dolan added,” We are so grateful to the Trump Administration for taking this important action to end U.S. support for the UNFPA as long as it remains committed to China’s coercive abortion and sterilization programs.” See:


Early on overwhelming evidence began to emerge that the China population control program was employing coercive abortion and compulsory sterilization. Over the years that evidence has only grown. From the beginning the UNFPA has been a strong supporter of the program.

In response to this clear violation of human rights, Congress in 1985 passed the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, a provision in annual appropriations law that denies funding “to any organization or program which, as determined by the President of the United States, supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” That amendment has continued ever since to be a part of annual appropriations law.

Based on the law, the Reagan Administration immediately denied funding to the UNFPA. That determination was upheld August 12, 1986 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Reagan and George H. W. Bush Administrations made these annual determinations, as did the George W. Bush Administration from FY 2002 forward. Except for FY 1999 when Congress blocked all funding for the UNFPA, the Clinton and later the Obama Administrations reversed course and allowed the UNFPA to receive U.S. funds, forcing U. S. taxpayers to lend support to this human rights abuse.

The Congressional-Executive Committee on China (CECC), co-chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), has held many hearings on China’s coercive population policy. The CECC’s Annual Reports includes a chapter on the family planning policy“Population Control” in China. This resource provides excellent information on the implementation and evolution of the China policy.  See:

Other resources:

  • A March 8, 2017 speech by Rep. Chris Smith, “Continued Coercion: China’s Two-Child Policy Threatens Human Rights and Prosperity” at:
  • The annual State Department Country Reports. In the latest report issued March 3, 2017, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, see the section on China at: Specific information in Section 6, Reproductive Rights.
  • The various annual HLA Legislative Reports for valuable information on hearings, related appropriations law, challenges to relevant policies, and the like. For recent developments, especially see the Legislative Reports for 2011, 2012, and 2015 at: