UNFPA Still Upset With Bush Decision to Cut Funds Over Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 1, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

UNFPA Still Upset With Bush Decision to Cut Funds Over Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 1, 2005

Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — Officials at the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) are still upset that President Bush has withheld $34 million annually from the agency because of its support for China’s population control program. The Chinese one-child policy has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations as well as the imprisonment and abuse of women who violate it and family members who support them.

Meeting in Beijing on Friday, UNFPA’s executive board pointed to some reforms China has made in trying to curb the abuses that have resulted from its population control measures.

Siri Tellier, UNFPA representative in China, said the agency "deeply regrets the withholding of US support." He said some UNFPA programs on other issues are suffering because of Bush’s decision to cut off funding.

Defending the Bush administration’s position, Kelly Ryan, deputy assistant secretary with the US Bureau of population, Refugees and Migration, said last week that UNFPA would receive funds if it stops working with the Chinese.

Until then, Ryan said the agency "gives it a U.N. seal of approval" to enforce "coercive" measures.

But the UNFPA is not likely to abandon its involvement in China, Tellier said.

Tellier said UNFPA executive board’s 35 other member countries supported its China programs and she pointed to the 166 nations that contributed to the agency in 2004 as an example of its worldwide backing.

Tellier also said China is working to conform to goals set forth in the 1994 Cairo population conference, which developed the Conference on Population and Development Program of Action (ICPD).

"We believe China has made great progress toward the principles of the ICPD, and we are pleased to be working in China at the invitation of the Chinese government to bring international experience and standards for use in the further development of the program," Tellier explained.

The UNFPA is planning to vote on its renewed involvement in China in January.

The Bush administration has sent two investigative teams into China to determine if the UNFPA has any role in promoting the one-child Chinese policy that has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations and jail sentences for those who break the law.

After one of the investigations, Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote, "I determined that UNFPA’s support of, and involvement in, China’s population-planning activities allowed the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion."

Sanctions imposed against violators of the policy include heavy fines, loss of employment, and threats and intimidation for families for those who exceed their child quota. Women have been forcibly aborted, men sterilized, and some jailed for years for violating the policies.

Last month, the House of Representatives voted against restoring the $34 million in taxpayer funding for the United Nations Population Fund because lawmakers say it is still involved in supporting and promoting China’s coercive population control policies.

On a 233-192 vote, the House rejected the attempt by pro-abortion lawmakers to attach an amendment to a State Department appropriations bill that would have sent the public funds to the UNFPA.