100 Members of Congress Tell Obama: De-Fund Pro-Abortion UNFPA

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 12, 2011   |   11:05AM   |   Washington, DC

More than 100 members of Congress have drafted a new letter to President Barack Obama asking him to cut off federal taxpayer funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) due to the agency’s participation in China’s brutal one child policy.

The letter was prompted by the Obama Administration’s continued taxpayer contributions to the UNFPA and Vice President Biden’s recent controversial comments in which the Vice President gave what letter drafter Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey called a “wink and a nod” to China’s coercive population control policy. Smith, a Republican, says the policy makes brothers and sisters illegal in China and subjects Chinese women to horrific human rights abuses including forced abortion and forced sterilization.

“The Vice President said he ‘fully understood’ the one child policy, and that he’s not ‘second guessing,’” said Smith, the Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus since 1982.

“The one child per couple policy is cruel, inhumane and the most egregious systematic attack on women ever,” he added. “For the Vice President to publicly state that he fully understands the one child policy and say he won’t second guess it is unconscionable. He and all of us should be defending the women of China from this state-sponsored cruelty of forced abortion and forced sterilization, not supporting and enabling it.”

Smith said, “Chinese women need advocates, not enablers. This Administration has long enabled this cruel policy by its silence and financial support for organizations like UNFPA that support the Chinese government’s brutal program. Tragically, it has now offered its public support, as well.”

The letter tells Obama: “We respectfully ask you to immediately halt contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the U.N. population control agency which has been linked to the one-child policy. Frankly, words should be backed by tangible action.”

“By now, it ought to be absolutely clear that UNFPA’s programs in China fully comport with Beijing’s cruelty toward women. Pursuant to the Kemp-Kasten provision, other administrations have appropriately denied all funds to the UNFPA,” it says. “The one child per couple policy is inhumane and the most egregious systematic attack on women ever. All of us should be defending the women of China from this state-sponsored cruelty of forced abortion and forced sterilization, not supporting and enabling it. Chinese victims—especially women— need advocates, not enablers. Regrettably, your Administration has long enabled the one child policy by its silence and financial support for organizations like the UNFPA that support the Chinese government’s brutal program.”

“Swift and decisive action is necessary to correct an emerging pattern of your Administration’s disinterest in the human rights abuses that occur on a daily basis in China. Early in your administration, you ordered a resumption of funding for the UNFPA, which had previously lost U.S. assistance due to its involvement in China’s brutal child limitation policy. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton stated that she was not going to allow human rights to “interfere” with other issues in China.lv When Chinese President Hu visited Washington, you failed to raise objections to the one-child policy in your public interaction with him,” the letter continues.

It concludes: “Since you took office, $145 million in taxpayer funds ($40 million in FY11) have been allocated for the UNFPA despite their support for, and participation in, China’s brutal policy. That complicity must end.”

Last week, a House of Representatives committee approved legislation that yanks millions from the UN organization. Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers, of North Carolina, introduced the bill to stop $40 million in annual funding for the UNFPA agency after voters said they wanted the legislation and voted it as a priority in the House Republican YouCut program.

“This is going to save American taxpayers $400 million dollars over a 10 year period and it’s just another part of what we’re doing here in Washington to cut wasteful spending that we see happening,” she said this summer. “And I am very excited to be part of this program and each week we will have more cuts coming forward.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee favorably reported out the bill, H.R. 2059, and Ellmers was joined by Smith and others in making the case for terminating U.S. contributions to this organization, complicit in China’s one-child policy, which sees women subjected to forced abortions and sterilizations.

John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State, stated in a June 26, 2008 State Department determination denying U.S. funds to the UNFPA that “all UNFPA programming related to contraception and reproductive health incorporates, and defers to, Chinese law and regulation. The national law and the provincial regulations are a framework for China’s coercive birth policies.”

If approved by the full House and Senate, the legislation would result in cutting the funding President Barack Obama put in place for the UNFPA. After Obama restored the funding, Smith tried to offer an amendment to revert the language back to the original ban on such funding, but House Democrats blocked him from doing so. Then, pro-life Sen. Roger Wicker offered a similar amendment but the Senate defeated it.

Leading pro-life advocates have urged votes for de-funding the UNFPA ,including Steve Mosher, the head of the Population Research Institute and the leading campaigner exposing China and the one-child policy. He says the UNFPA is the UN population control agency that is complicit in China’s brutal one-child policy

Research from the United States and British governments, along with a first-hand report from the group Population Research International, has shown UNFPA officials working side-by-side their Chinese colleagues and going as far as sharing the same offices.

Bill Saunders of Americans United for Life has also argued in favor of cutting funding to the United Nations Family Planning Agency.

“China’s one-child policy is an inhumane and egregious attack on women and has resulted in a decrease in China’s population by as many as 400 million people,” he said. “By prohibiting federal funding of the UNFPA, Congress would ensure that American taxpayers are not supporting coerced abortion and the abuse of women in China.”

Since fiscal year 1985, a policy known as “the Kemp-Kasten Amendment” has been included in every foreign aid appropriations bill.  Kemp-Kasten specifies that funds may not be “made available to any organization or program which, as determined by the President of the United States, supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” Citing Kemp-Kasten, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush cut off funding to the UNFPA from 1986 to 1993.

President Bill Clinton resumed funding for UNFPA at the beginning of his presidency, but signed a foreign aid appropriations bill for FY99 that zeroed out funding for UNFPA.

Citing Kemp-Kasten, President George W. Bush cut off funding to UNFPA for fiscal years 2002-2008.  In 2008 Secretary of State Colin Powell explained the reason for withholding funds saying, “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. Therefore, it is not permissible to continue funding UNFPA at this time.”

In January 2009, President Barack Obama announced that funding for the UNFPA would resume without any rationale demonstrating that UNFPA had ceased all cooperation with the Chinese population control program.  From FY09 through FY11 $145 million has been appropriated for UNFPA.  (FY09 – $50 million, FY10 – $55 million, FY11 – $40 million).