Bush Administration Again Withholds UNFPA Money Due to Abortion Link

National   Steven Ertelt   Jul 16, 2004   |   9:00AM    WASHINGTON, DC

Bush Administration Again Withholds UNFPA Money Due to Abortion Link

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 16, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — For the third year in a row, President Bush has withheld taxpayer funds from the United National Population Fund (UNFPA) because of its ties with China’s population control program that involves forced abortions and sterilizations.

The decision means $34 million in federal funds won’t be sent to the U.N. agency.

"We have continuously called on China to end its program of coercive abortion," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The Bush administration recently sent officials from the State Department to review the situation in China and determine if the UNFPA is complicit in the coercive population control program.

After the fact-finding team returned, Secretary of State Colin Powell said China "has in place a regime of severe penalties on women who have unapproved births. This regime plainly operates to coerce pregnant women to have abortions in order to avoid the penalties and therefore amounts to a ‘program of coercive abortion.’"

"UNFPA’s support of, and involvement in, China’s population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion," Secretary Powell explained. "Therefore, it is not permissible to continue funding UNFPA at this time."

Powell sent Congress a report on Friday saying that the UNFPA, by virtue of its involvement in China, violates the Kemp-Kasten law. That’s a 19 year-old provision that prohibits the United States from providing taxpayer funds to any program that engages in coercive population control policies.

However, the Bush administrations’ decision isn’t winning it any new friends among abortion advocates.

Population Institute president Werner Fornos called the decision "a cruel travesty — an act that bypasses rationality and fairness to placate religious ideologue constituents who oppose both family planning and women’s rights."

"This decision is clearly based on politics, not on public health," added Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). "Make no mistake: this administration will always choose anti-family planning extremism over women’s health programs here and around the world."

But Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America said Bush’s decision strongly supports women’s rights.

"The UNFPA’s assistance of coercive family planning programs obviously contradicts its claims to promote women’s reproductive rights," Wright said. "What could be a greater violation of a woman’s rights than a forced abortion?"

Steven Mosher, the president of the Population Research Institute, supports the Bush administration’s decisions on revoking UNFPA funding.

"Why should the U.S. abandon its human rights principles to support an organization that refuses to withdraw from a program of forced abortion," Mosher said.

"For 25 years the UNFPA has been the chief international cheerleader for China’s one-child policy, lavishing upwards of $200 million in funding on the program, and bestowing prestigious awards on its architects," said Mosher.

Should China end its policy or the UNFPA stop funding Chinese population control activities, Boucher said the president would be willing to looking into restoring funding.

Members of the House Appropriations Committee voted 32-26 last week against a measure that would have restored UNFPA funding.

Pro-life groups say President Bush has a strong record of consistently opposing the use of taxpayer funds to promote abortion.

In his first days in office, President Bush reinstated the Mexico City Policy created by Ronald Reagan. Under it, taxpayer dollars are prohibited from funding organizations that perform or promote abortions in other countries.

In September 2003, Bush expanded the policy by also preventing family planning grants from any State Department agency to pro-abortion groups. Previously, the Mexico City Policy applied only to the USAID program.

In March, likely Democratic nominee John Kerry said the first action he will take as president is overturn the Mexico City Policy.

Related web sites:
Population Research Institute – http://www.pop.org