UN Agencies Increase Funding to Embattled Planned Parenthood

UN agencies have stepped up funding of International Planned Parenthood Federation despite an economic downturn and increasing government reticence to fund the organization over abortion. 

Although governments have reduced or eliminated funding of Planned Parenthood, UN agencies are still filling IPPF coffers with grants. In 2010, UNFPA increased its contribution to over $1.6 million.  The newest UN agency, UN Women, debuted on IPPF’s list of donors with a contribution of over $330,000.   UNAIDS gave IPPF more than $1 million. Rounding out contributions from UN agencies, the World Bank, UNAIDS and the WHO also gave over $400,000 collective, despite not contributing at all in 2009.

While UN agencies gave more, governments gave less. Government grants, which comprise 71% of IPPF’s total income were down in 2010.  Blaming the global recession, IPPF reported that Japan, Sweden and Germany had reduced their grants.  

Most of IPPF’s funding decrease was due to the Canadian government’s decision not to fund the organization in 2010, a decision totaling over $5 million.  The Canadian federal government is still debating IPPF’s funding for 2011 and as of April, no decision on IPPF’s grant application had been made.  Similarly, in the US a growing number of US state governments have decided to defund Planned Parenthood.

IPPF is reporting a $16 million dollar decrease in income in 2010. In its recently released 2010 financial report, the abortion industry giant reported the loss represented 11% of its total annual income as compared with the previous year.

For the most part, the reduction of income led to a reduction in IPPF program spending, but the organization did increase its funding for advocacy work in 2010.  IPPF specifically touted its 2010 UN advocacy that pushed for “progressive language in key UN documents.”

IPPF’s advocacy seems to have worked both in terms of funding from UN agencies and in policy. References to target 5b in both the outcome document of the UN Summit and the Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health and five UN agencies contributed to IPPF’s coffers in 2010.   

IPPF’s UN work focused on promoting the hotly-contested MDG target 5b on “universal access to reproductive health by 2015.”   IPPF actively lobbied for inclusion of “reproductive health” in the 2010 MDG review summit and was also given privileged status at key UN meetings in 2010. 

As a UN keynote speaker, IPPF’s executive director, Dr. Gill Greer, pushed UN member states to “prioritize sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly for young people.”  IPPF continued its partnership with UNFPA in 2010, co-hosting a side event targeting adolescents.

IPPF will continue to advocate for the inclusion of reproductive health in the new MDG framework as it is negotiated this year and has promised to be active at key events such as the G20 meetings and the World Bank and aid effectiveness meeting in Korea.

Despite the decreased income, IPPF’s most current figures still have the organization providing a record number of “abortion-related services” totaling over 1,411,000 and distributing a staggering 152 million condoms.

This article is courtesy the "Friday Fax" of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).