Bush Admin. Defunds AIDS Program Over Abortion Group’s Participation

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 27, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bush Admin. Defunds AIDS Program Over Abortion Group’s Participation

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 27, 2003

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Bush administration has announced it is discontinuing funding for an HIV/AIDS program in Africa and Asia because it is concerned that one of the participants is supporting forced abortions and sterilizations.

State Department officials say they are worried about Marie Stopes International, a British-based abortion business, because it is involved in China as a partner with the United Nations Population Fund.

The UNFPA has been defunded by the Bush administration because of its ties with China’s population control program that includes coercive abortions and sterilizations. In July 2002, the Bush administration decided to permanently withhold $34 million in UNFPA funding.

Agency officials says Marie Stope’s work with the UNFPA and Chinese officials "is what touched off similar concerns," according to the New York Times.

An unnamed State Department official said, "the fact that they’re tied in with the government management program is what triggered the concern. This wasn’t an ideological decision; it was a legal decision."

The National Right to Life Committee told LifeNews.com it appreciates the Bush administration’s decision.

"This action again shows the commitment of the Bush Administration to keep U.S. dollars away from being used to promote or perform abortions, in particular, to keep the AIDS initiative free of abortion," said Darla St. Martin, NRLC Associate Executive Director.

The agency said Marie Stopes ran afoul of the Kemp-Kasten law that requires the federal government to refuse funding to organizations that participate in programs involving forced abortions. Abortion advocates in Congress are attempting to gut the pro-life law.

The Bush administration isn’t denying funding to the AIDS program entirely.

It says the program has been successful in providing health care to African and Asian nations savaged by the deadly disease. State Department officials offered to fund the first year of the program and to designate other groups that participate in it for funding, but they refused.

"We were disappointed that for reasons of solidarity with Marie Stopes that they should refuse our money," the official told the Times. "We had hoped they would show more humanitarian statesmanship than that."

St. Martinagreed and told LifeNews.com the groups "obviously care more for their commitment to abortion than they do about the plight of the victims of AIDS."

Marie Stopes has come under fire from the pro-life community before.

The Population Research Institute, a pro-life group that monitors international abortion issues, says the British abortion business is guilty of performing illegal abortions in Kenya.

According to PRI, its investigators have uncovered the performance of illegal "manual vacuum abortions" being performed in the East African nation. PRI says an unnamed Marie Stopes official "admitted that manual vacuum aspirators (MVAs), hand-held suction devices, were being used to perform abortions up to — and even past — 16 weeks’ gestation, and that the abortions were being labeled ‘post-abortion care’ or ‘menstrual regulation.’"

Marie Stopes has long been a critic of the Bush administration and its pro-life foreign policies. It has criticized Bush for reenacting the Mexico City Policy.

Similar to the Kemp-Kasten law, the pro-life policy prohibits the federal government from sending taxpayer funds to any international organization, such as Marie Stopes, that performs or promotes abortion in other countries.

ACTION: Contact the State Department with your thanks for this decision. U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520, 202-647-4000. Send an email comment via the web site https://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_foreign.html