New York, NY—The Center for Reproductive Rights applauds the State Department’s release of $50 million in funds to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which supports programs around the world to advance poor women’s reproductive health. This action follows President Obama announcing in January his commitment to restore U.S. financial support of the fund.“On the heels of lifting the damaging Global Gag Rule, President Obama is continuing to deliver on his promise to prioritize women’s reproductive health and women’s rights here and abroad and has taken another tremendous step in righting the wrongs perpetrated against women around the world by the Bush administration,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Promoting foreign policies that ensure access to essential reproductive health services not only improves the lives of women around the world, it acknowledges the country’s obligations to respect women’s reproductive rights.”UNFPA supports the development of policies seeking to “reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.” Every year, Congress has appropriated funds to UNFPA, but in 2002 the State Department refused to distribute the money, claiming erroneously that the fund was involved in promoting coercive abortions and sterilizations in China. That same year, however, a State Department report found “no evidence” of this coercion. For the seven consecutive years since, the Bush administration blocked funding for UNFPA, amounting to approximately $235 million in lost U.S. support. “It was unconscionable that the U.S. withheld funding all those years,” said Northup. “Restoration of these funds will help address the problem that more than 200 million women in low- and middle-income countries have an unmet need for effective contraceptives. Every year, an estimated 76 million women in these countries have unintended pregnancies, and over a half a million women die each year of pregnancy-related causes. The U.S. will once again be part of the solution to this tragedy.” ###The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing women’s reproductive health, self-determination, and dignity as basic human rights.