by Steven Ertelt
March 6, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Congress have signaled their intention to try to restore taxpayer funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which is known to be associated with China’s one child policy that has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations there.
For five years, President Bush has refused to spend the total of $161 million appropriated for the UNFPA because of it’s support of the Chinese family planning program.
Instead, Bush directed the funds to more legitimate efforts to help women and their medical and health concerns.
On Sunday, pro-abortion Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, authored a letter to the editor that appeared in the New York Times.
Maloney pledged to reintroduce her legislation to effectively gut the federal Kemp-Kasten law which prohibits the U.S. government from financing groups that promote forced abortions.
The lawmaker tried to attach legislation to the foreign aid funding bill last year and will likely attempt to do that again this year or pass her bill on its own.
Maloney’s letter reveals a new tactic she may use to try to get her bill approved.
The letter is a response to an article on obstetric fistula, which is a severe medical condition in which a hole develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina after severe or failed childbirth.
The fistula usually develops when a prolonged labor presses the unborn child so tightly in the birth canal that blood flow is cut off to the surrounding tissues.
The condition normally is seen in underdeveloped countries where basic medical care for pregnant women is not available that would prevent it from happening.
Maloney wants to fund the UNFPA’s efforts to help countries respond to this legitimate health concern. However, the money would go to an organization that has also promoted abortion around the world.
Regardless of the merits of treating obstetric fistula, the taxpayer funds the UNFPA receives would be fungible and would make other funds available to promote abortion.
Pro-life advocates say the UNFPA funding isn’t needed and they point to a bilateral fistula prevention program the U.S. government established through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). They say that should be funded instead of giving money to a pro-abortion group.
However, efforts to stop funding may be difficult because UNFPA officials said after the November elections that they gained 17 votes in favor of funding.
The last House vote on UNFPA funding came in June 2005 and pro-life advocates defeated the Maloney amendment on a 223-192 vote. A change of 17 members of Congress would bring it to a much closer 209-206 margin in favor of funding.
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.
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.
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.
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.