UN Population Fund Donates $20 Million to Combat Child Marriage

By Melanie Arter | October 23, 2012 | 3:41 PM EDT

Child marriage (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced that the department is partnering with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is providing $20 million towards an effort to end child marriage – this despite the fact that UNFPA operates in China, which has a one-child policy that has led to sex-selective abortion, forced abortions and sterilizations.

“And several partners are making major commitments – $20 million from the United Nations Population Fund, $25 million from the Ford Foundation to combat child marriage,” Clinton said in remarks on Oct. 10 in honor of the International Day of the Girl.

“We’re doing all of this because we want to try to give to every girl what we want for our own daughters. Here at home, I’m the mother of a daughter and believe in education, and I imagine that many of your mothers and fathers believe the same,” she said.

“And what we want to do is to make the case for education everywhere and to give every girl and every boy the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential no matter where they live,” Clinton added.

The United Nations Population Fund is described on its website as “an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.”

On Oct. 5, 2011, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a bill to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from going to the UNFPA.

"I am very pleased that the Committee passed this important bill to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from supporting coerced abortions and sterilization in China. These policies are an affront to humanity, and we should not be giving money to international organizations which support them," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chair of the committee, said in a statement after the vote.

One of the most effective solutions to child marriage is education, Clinton said.

“Every year, 10 million girls under the age of 18 become child brides, and many of them under the age of 16. And many of those girls are forced into early marriage, which robs them of the opportunity to continue their education, and it threatens their health, and it traps them in lives of poverty,” she said.

“The evidence shows us, and common sense would show us as well, that education can delay and even prevent child marriage, it can raise incomes, and it certainly can improve health,” the secretary added.

Clinton noted that “more girls go to primary school than secondary school in much of the world.” To address this, the MasterCard Foundation is investing $39 million, and the MacArthur Foundation is donating $10 million “to ensure that adolescent girls in developing countries make a successful transition to secondary school,” she announced.