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UK Government cut to UNFPA “unconscionable attack” on global women’s health

News 29 April 2021

The UK Government has proposed an 85% cut to UNFPA, the flagship UN programme delivering funding for sexual and reproductive healthcare globally. Despite the UK’s commitment to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which includes the commitment to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) and achieving gender equality, this cut will lead to maternal and child deaths, unintended pregnancies and inevitably a rise in unsafe abortions. 

Dr Ranee Thakar, Senior Vice President for Global Health at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“The RCOG is a global college, with members delivering essential services for women and girls around the world, including in warzones and in places of natural disaster. They are embedded in different societies and different cultures, many working with partner organisations to improve women’s health services. 

“An 85% cut to the UNFPA comes at the worst possible moment, when sexual and reproductive health services especially have been devastated by the global pandemic. Cutting support to SRH services will jeopardise the health and wellbeing of women and girls globally. The tragic reality is that women and girls across the world will be paying the highest price for these cuts.“

Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“This proposed 85% cut to UNFPA is an unconscionable attack on the health and wellbeing of women and girls around the world. Advancing women’s health and wellbeing, and achieving gender equality, must be sustained by a tireless effort. 

“The RCOG is committed to supporting the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring women and girls have universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, including safe abortion. The UK Government must now clearly demonstrate how they will return to the 0.7% global aid commitment and rededicate itself to the global advancement of women’s health and rights.”


For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)7986 183167 or email

In 2020, the RCOG embarked on a 3-year programme working to increase healthcare professionals' capacity to address the barriers to safe abortion and/or post-abortion care for women and girls globally. To find out more about this project, visit:
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high-quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.