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U.S. Reproductive Funding Cut Threatens Inequality

United Nations: The U.S. administration's decision to pull funding from the United Nations agency charged with providing women's healthcare will only widen the gap between rich and poor and stir instability that can lead to violence, according to a new report.

Richard Kollodge, who edited the UN's State of the World Population 2017 report, said that decision is already harming women around the globe.

"We estimate U.S. money helped avert close to a million unintended pregnancies and avert about 2,300 maternal deaths. So any reduction in funding for UNFPA has a direct impact on women and adolescent girls in developing countries"

In April, the Trump administration said it would stop funding the UNFPA _ accusing the agency of financing abortions.Last year, the U.S. paid the agency $69 million, making it one of the largest donors.

Kollodge said that decision appeared to be based on a misunderstanding of the agency's role.

"We do not support abortions in developing countries, decisions about abortion are the sole domain of national governments

While the report recognizes economic inequality can't be resolved solely through reproductive health, it argues that enabling women to decide if and when they want to get pregnant can significantly reduce poverty.

"An unintended pregnancy, for example, can set in motion a lifetime of missed opportunities and unrealized potential, trapping a woman and her children in an endless cycle of poverty

The report said the situation was especially critical at a time when the world's 2,473 billionaires control an estimated $7.7 million _ a sum that is equal to the combined gross domestic products of four fifths of the world's nations.

Kollodge said that inequality not only divided the world into haves and havenots but also between those who can and cannot access women's health services.

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