Abortion Battle Could Tie Up Tsunami Aid Bill in Congress

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 22, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Battle Could Tie Up Tsunami Aid Bill in Congress Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 22, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The issue of abortion could tie up a bill intended to fund relief efforts for victims of the tsunami and earthquake in Southeast Asia.

Noting that there are an estimated 150,000 pregnant women living in the numerous areas affected by the tsunami who need medical care and attention, abortion advocates claim the UNFPA is the only agency that can help them.

Pro-abortion New York Democratic congressmen Steve Israel and Joseph Crowley want the United States to use taxpayer funds to support the United Nations outfit.

"Fifty thousand of those women will give birth in three months, and many of those women have lost their maternity wards," Israel told the Associated Press.

However, the Bush administration revoked funding for the UN group during each of President Bush’s first four years in office because of its ties to China’s population control program that involves forced abortions.

A State Department investigating team found that the UN agency is complicit in the policy, which involves forced abortions and sterilizations, false imprisonment, torture and other human rights abuses.

The president diverted 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 – another problem in the destroyed region.

Crowley said he thought Congress should extend a one-time funding grant to the UNFPA.

But, a Bush administration spokesman said that’s not likely going to happen.

"We are not able to fund UNFPA right now. The restrictions apply across the board until there’s a change in the Chinese policies that UNPFA participates in," said Robert Hilton, a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

At a meeting of the House International Relations Committee last month, Congressional leaders looked into the continued human rights abuses under China’s population control programs.

Representative Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican pointed out that the UNFPA did not accept an invitation to attend the hearing to explain its support for China’s controversial policies.

"Despite numerous credible forced abortion reports from impeccable sources, including human rights organizations like Amnesty International, journalists, former Chinese population control officials and, above all, from the women victims themselves, high officials at UNFPA always dismiss and explain it all away," he explained.