Congress Reallocates UNFPA Money, Abortion Funding Battle Continues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congress Reallocates UNFPA Money, Abortion Funding Battle Continues

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 3, 2004

New York, NY ( — Citing the UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) failure to convincingly show that it is not participating or condoning coercive family planning and abortion programs in China, Congress has permanently reallocated the $56 million earmarked for the UNFPA over the past two years to other programs.

The money will now go to programs to improve maternal health and combat sex trafficking

“We commend the Bush Administration for its continued strong enforcement of the Kemp-Kasten Anti-Coercion law — a law that was completely disregarded during the Clinton Administration,” Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director for National Right to Life Committee, told “Any agency that collaborates in China’s brutal compulsory abortion program should not receive U.S. taxpayer funds.”

While the Senate approved additional funding for UNFPA last week, unless the organization makes the necessary policy changes that money, too, will be reallocated.

Though the U.N. group continues to deny its involvement with China’s popuolation control program, pro-life advocates know differently.

"Since 1979, the UN Population Fund has been the chief apologist for China’s coercive one-child-per-couple policy," Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) told his fellow legislators during debates over US support of the UNFPA earlier this year.

"Despite numerous credible forced abortion reports from impeccable sources, including human rights organizations, journalists, former Chinese population control officials and, above all, from the women victims themselves, officials at the UNFPA always found a way to explain it all away," Smith said.

Opponents of the amendment to cut UNFPA funding said it would remove funding from programs that help women such as prenatal care and efforts to reduce infant mortality rates. However, Congressman Smith said every dollar denied to the UNFPA would be used to fund such programs.

"We are the largest spender for family planning and nobody will be denied anything — it just won’t go through the U.N.," Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) added.

Thoraya Obaid, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), urged President Bush last month to reinstate U.S. funding of the organization.

"We hope and plead for the United States to come back as a major donor," said Obaid, who told Reuters in an interview in January that family planning programs which help limit global population growth can be as effective as free trade in reducing poverty.

But pro-life groups say the organization shouldn’t receive any money unless it changes its ways, and that isn’t likely to happen.

“UNFPA has made no discernable efforts to convince China to eliminate its one-child policy,” said Douglas A. Sylvia, Vice President of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), an organization that monitors and lobbies against the international pro-abortion movement. “In fact, UNFPA personnel are consistently on record as supporting it.”

Lawmakers have disagreed about a recent investigation conducted by the State Department.

The report indicated China "has in place a regime of severe penalties on women who have unapproved births."

It went on to say, "This regime plainly operates to coerce pregnant women to have abortions in order to avoid the penalties … 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."

Abortion advocates said the report also indicated the UNFPA had no direct involvement in China’s program, but pro-life lawmakers countered that the funding the UNFPA provides to China makes the U.N. group a partner in China’s coercive activities.