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Biden Spokeswoman Walks Back Comments on One-Child Policy

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 8/23/11 5:09 PM

International

A spokeswoman for pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden is walking back comments he made in a speech in China where he failed to condemn the forced abortions and human rights abuses associated with the one-child policy.

Kendra Barkoff told The Daily Caller in an email that Biden and the Obama administration strongly oppose the policy — but the comments are a departure from Biden’s speech, in which he said he would “not second guess” the policy and “fully understands” why China would implement it.

“The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization,” Barkoff told the conservative news outlet. “The Vice President believes such practices are repugnant.”

Barkoff contended Biden was attempting to critique the coercive family planning policy in his speech. While he did talk about demographic problems associated with the policy, which has put China in the position of not having enough people to sustain its elderly population, Biden did not condemn the forced abortions, sterilizations or other human rights abuses women and families face in China for violating the one-child rule.

“He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable,” Barkoff added. “He was arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience. ”

Biden came under quick fire from Republican presidential candidates and pro-life advocates.

Mitt Romney, the first Republican to have addressed the statement, said: “China’s one-child policy is gruesome and barbaric. Vice President Biden’s acquiescence to such a policy should shock the conscience of every American. Instead of condoning the policy, Vice President Biden should have condemned it in the strongest possible terms. There can be no defense of a government that engages in compulsory sterilization and forced abortions in the name of population control.”

Later Tuesday, GOP candidate Rick Perry released a statement condemning Biden’s comments, and the forced abortion policy.

“China’s one child policy has led to the great human tragedy of forced abortions throughout China, and Vice President Biden’s refusal to ‘second-guess’ this horrendous policy demonstrates great moral indifference on the part of the Obama Administration. Americans value life, and we deserve leaders who will stand up against such inhumanity, not cast a blind eye,” he said.

Representatives of groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, Students for Life, Concerned Women for America and pro-life leader Rep. Chris Smith, all criticized Biden for not opposing the policy in China.

The one-child policy, instituted by the Communist government in the late 1970s to stem rising population, compels couples in urban areas to have just one child and limits couples in rural areas to two children if the first child is a girl, as girls are seen as having lesser value than boys in some parts of the Asian nation.

The policy has stirred global controversy since it was implemented, as it has resulted in massive campaigns of forced abortions and sterilizations, fines for families violating the rule, sentences to prison and forced labor camps for violators and their families who shelter them from government officials, home detention, loss of jobs or government benefits, beatings and other human rights abuses.

In his statement, Biden talked about the other set of concerns about the one-child policy — demographic — in that China will increasingly have similar problems to the United States in terms of paying for entitlements to the growing number of people retiring who will need government support to make ends meet and a smaller population of younger workers able to take care of those obligations.

“But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China.  You have no safety net,” Biden said in the prepared remarks. “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family.  The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people.  Not sustainable.”

“So hopefully we can act in a way on a problem that’s much less severe than yours, and maybe we can learn together from how we can do that,” he continued.

Although he highlighted the demographic concerns, his statement that the United States is “not second-guessing” the forced-abortion, one-child policy and his essentially ignoring the forced abortions, sterilizations and other human rights abuses that accompany it, will surely upset pro-life advocates who have campaigned extensively against the one-child policy and supported the victims of it.

The speech represents a second missed opportunity for the Obama administration to present a clear position against the policy that is one of the most egregious global human rights abuses in modern times.

Biden’s comments follow a visit earlier this year from China President Hu Jintao, where President Barack Obama apparently failed to ask the foreign leader about the problem of forced abortions on Chinese women. Ask during a U.S. House hearing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton couldn’t say whether Obama brought up the massive human rights abuse millions of Chinese women endure if they break the country’s one-child family planning rules.