President Bush Blocks UNFPA Funding for 4th Time Over Forced Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Blocks UNFPA Funding for 4th Time Over Forced Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 5, 2004

Washington, DC ( — For the fourth consecutive year in a row, President Bush has blocked millions of taxpayer dollars from going to the United Nations Population Fund, because of the agency’s support for China’s population control program that involves forced abortions and sterilizations.

The Bush administration announced Friday that it will divert the $34 million allocated to the U.N. group to a USAID program that provides health care for poor women and children in other countries and for a program that combats the sexual trafficking of women.

Despite the move, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is attempting to restore UNFPA funding by adding a provision to a foreign aid bill that would reauthorize the funds.

President Bush has already indicated he will veto any bill that redirects money to UNFPA.

A late September letter to members of the Senate, said "[t]he President would veto the bill if it were presented to him with such a provision."

In its letter, the Bush administration said the president "strongly opposes" the Bingaman measure "which would redirect UNFPA funds now intended for the President’s initiative to combat the trafficking of women and children."

In July, Bush withheld UNFPA funding for the third time.

The Bush administration has previously 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."

However, the UNFPA, which works in 140 countries, disputes the notion that its program supports the kind of coercive abortions and sterilizations that occur in China.

The money blocked by the Bush administration represents about 11% of the agency’s $300 million budget, according to Sarah Craven, chief of UNFPA’s Washington office.

President Bush has also received praise from pro-life groups for restoring the Mexico City Policy, that prohibits taxpayer money from going to groups that perform or promote abortions in other countries.

Bush expanded the policy to cover all State Department programs, rather than limiting the pro-life policy only to family planning efforts.

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