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Abortion and the US Congress: Remarks by Congressman Chris Smith at the 10 February press conference

I want to thank Dr. Steven Mosher and the Population Research Institute for this important and timely press conference.

In the last few days we have heard a number of outrageous assertions about efforts by pro-life Members of Congress to limit United States funding of the international abortion industry. In particular, Administration officials and some of their supporters in the news media have exceeded the limits of responsible discourse with their stunning accusation that abortions in foreign countries are the fault of the pro-life Congress, rather than those who actually perform and promote these abortions.

It is important to put assertions like these in perspective. The United States currently spends about $400 million a year on programs for population control in foreign countries. Under the policies adopted by the Clinton Administration, all this money can go to organizations that perform and promote abortions. On Thursday, Congress will vote on a resolution endorsed by the Clinton Administration which would release an additional $123 million so that the Administration could spend over $500 million on population control that’s over half a billion dollars — and would be free to give it all to the abortion industry. Just to put the numbers in farther perspective:

Four hundred million — the approximate amount the Administration will have to spend on overseas population programs if the Presidents resolution does not pass — is about 25% of our entire budget for development assistance around the world.

This $400 million is substantially more than the $300 million we will spend this year on foreign aid for child survival programs, which prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths of children in developing countries from easily treatable diseases. The population assistance budget is over twice the $190 million we spend every year on international narcotics control. It is about four times what we spend on microcredit programs, which empower poor people around the world, mostly women, by enabling them to establish small business enterprises.

The $400 million we spend on population programs is hundreds of times larger than the $l.5 million US contribution to the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.

Yet the Administration defends our relatively low contribution to these other programs by claiming a lack of funds.

Most importantly, I and my pro-life colleagues in Congress want to know the extent to which organizations that receive US foreign assistance are engaged in the performance and for active promotion of abortion overseas.

In its Vision 2000 Strategic Plan, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF/London) and its 140 affiliates made it perfectly clear that they would “bring pressure on governments … and campaign for policy and legislative change to remove restrictions … against sate abortion …” IPPF is the largest single non-governmental recipient of US population assistance and US aid to these organizations enables and empowers these activities.

Fred Sai, former President of International Planned Parenthood Federation said: “Now for the first time, the IPPF Strategic Plan [Vision 2000], unanimously adopted at the Members’ Assembly in Delhi, outlines activities at both the Secretariat and FPA level to further IPPF’s explicit goal of increasing the right of access to safe, legal abortion.” (“Unsafe Abortion Must be Tackled Now”, Planned Parenthood Challenges: Unsafe Abortion, l993)

And in this connection reports are coming back from the field. I happen to have received a copy of a publication by an organization that calls itself the Dominican Association for the Well-Being of the Family. This organization is the Dominican Republic affiliate of the Inter- national Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF/London). The publication is called a “Sex Education Manual,” and the chapter on abortion makes it clear to teachers that at the end of the lesson, the student should “become aware of the need to change the Dominican legislation on abortion.” The Dominican Republic is one of roughly 100 countries around the world that still protect their unborn children. This manual is only one vivid illustration of a campaign in which IPPF and other international pro-abortion groups have long been engaged, to entice or bully these nations into repealing their pro-life laws and adopting abortion on demand.

I hope our witnesses today will be able to shed further light on the problem of pro-abortion lobbying and related activities by the organizations we subsidize, and suggest how Congress might deal with the problem.

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