Election Results May Renew Abortion Battle on UNFPA Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Election Results May Renew Abortion Battle on UNFPA Funding Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 20
, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Every year since he was first elected, President George W. Bush has prohibited taxpayer funds from going to the United Nations Population Fund. That’s the agency that promotes abortion and has been complicit in China’s one-child family planning program that involves forced abortions and sterilizations.

Abortion advocates in Congress have been trying to overcome Bush’s objections and include UNFPA funding in budget bills, without success.

However, the mid-term election results may make it more difficult for pro-life advocates to keep the president’s prohibition in place.

Democrats, led by a team of abortion advocates, will control Congress and the language of funding bills.

Meanwhile, UNFPA officials have told the Minnesota Star Tribune newspaper that they believe they picked up 17 votes following the elections to force taxpayers to fund the pro-abortion agency.

The last House vote on UNFPA funding came in June 2005 and pro-life advocates defeated an amendment from pro-abortion Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, to fund it. The vote was 223-192 against funding, but a reversal of 17 votes would yield a very close 209-206 vote in favor of sending taxpayer money to the agency.

Maloney wanted her amendment added to the State Department appropriations bill, and chances are she will try again next year.

If the vote goes against pro-life advocates, they may ultimately have to rely on President Bush to make good on previous veto threats he’s issued, saying he would not sign the State Department funding bill if it came with the UNFPA funding attached.

Maloney’s amendment would have exempted the UNFPA from the Kemp-Kasten anti-coercion law, and from any other restrictions, such as the 1973 Helms Amendment that prohibits the use of U.S. foreign aid funds to pay for abortions.

Should the UNFPA ever receive taxpayer funds, pro-life organizations could file a lawsuit seeking to stop it. They could argue the amendment is unconstitutional as it would go against other federal law.

The Bush administration sent two teams of investigators from the State Department and found that the UNFPA had been complicit in China’s one-child program, which has resulted in numerous human rights abuses from forced abortions and sterilizations to wrongful imprisonment, job pressures and harassment.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in October 2005 that the Bush administration "remains firmly committed to women’s maternal and reproductive health" despite the need to defund the UNFPA.

The president first revoked funding for the pro-abortion agency in 2002.

Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, praised the president for his actions, which include diverting the money to groups that stop the sexual trafficking of women, a condition that has resulted in China because of the gender imbalance created by the population control programs.

"UNFPA is guilty of shamelessly supporting and whitewashing terrible crimes against humanity, and the United States will have no part in subsidizing them," Smith said.