August 28, 2002
Volume 4/ Number 20
The population controllers are at it again, cooking up phony statistics in a desperate effort to get more of our money. Their argument is nonsensical on the face of it: “We save lives by preventing children from being born,” they say. In country after country, they offer only abortion, sterilization, and contraception, standing idly by while children die for lack of basic aid. If the $34 million that President Bush took away from UNFPA were spent on Child Survival programs instead of population control, we could save hundreds of thousands of lives.
Steven W. Mosher
How to Save Lives with $34 Million
When President Bush defunded the UNFPA, the population control agency and its allies claimed this would result in 2 million unwanted pregnancies, nearly 800,000 abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths, nearly 60,000 serious maternal illnesses, and 77,000 infant and child deaths.(1) The major media bought these ludicrous claims hook, line and sinker. But are they true?
UNFPA’s false claims date back to a 1996 Abortion Consortium of pro-abortion physicians who claimed that contraception can save the lives of women and children.(2) “Millions of women” would be left “unprotected” and would die if family planning and abortion funding were decreased, the Abortion Consortium claimed. More pregnancies and births, and fewer abortions, would mean more infant and maternal deaths, or so the UNFPA claims.
Could $34 million for contraception really prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies and 800,000 abortions? The answer is simple: No. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), fifty-eight percent of all abortions are the result of contraceptive failure.(3)
Dr. Malcolm Potts, the Medical Director for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said that “As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate.”(4) And abortion statistician Christopher Tietze said that the abortion rate in a country with moderately effective contraception programs will be 1,000 per 1,000 women over their lifetimes: This is the best we can expect.(5) Globally, abortion rates are directly proportional with contraceptive use. If $34 million goes to contraception, abortion rates will rise.
Can $34 million for UNFPA prevent 4,700 maternal deaths and 60,000 maternal illnesses? Again: No. This outlandish assumption is based on the false notion that pregnancy causes ill-health.
Health experts note that one of the primary determinants of maternal health during delivery is whether or not the birth is attended. Yet in many developing nations, fewer than twenty percent of births are attended, resulting in high numbers of maternal deaths. In many nations, it costs as little a $2 per birth to attend births. At health centers and hospitals in Africa and Latin America, established to reduce mortality, birthing costs begin at about $10.(6) If $34 million were spent ensuring that births were attended, the lives of millions of women could be saved. If the $34 million were spent on population control, these women would all die.
Can $34 million for UNFPA population control save the lives of 77,000 children? Again: no. There is no scientific connection between preventing life through abortion and contraception and preventing future death. But, if $34 million were spent on Child Survival programs, the lives of millions of children could be saved.
Â· As early as the 1970s, world health experts noted that as many as 5
million infants and children die each year because of dehydration. Life-saving child re-hydration can cost as little as 12 cents per unit.(7) $34 million for child re-hydration has the potential of saving the lives of almost 300 million children.
Â· More than half of all infant and child deaths are due to pneumonia,
diarrhea, measles, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Infant malnutrition is an underlying factor that increases mortality risk. In 2000, perinatal mortality – because of asphyxia, trauma or low birth weight — accounted for more than 20% of all infant deaths worldwide. The average cost for infant mortality prevention is no more than 35 cents per child.(8) $34 million spent on these Child Survival programs would have the potential of saving the lives of almost 100 million children.
Â· For complete child immunization, the cost is about $17 per child.(9) $34
million spent on child immunization could save 2 million lives.
Yet infant mortality rates remain alarmingly high. If $34 million is spent on population control instead of immunization, countless lives will be lost.
With the support of the international abortion industry, the UNFPA is asking private donors to cough up the $34 million cut by President
Bush.(10) Any one thinking about donating should remember that the US State Department, not known as a bastion of pro-life sentiment, found that UNFPA supports forced abortion in China.(11)
The UNFPA is also looking to the European Union to make up, to the tune of $32 million, the US cuts. But it is unclear if and when UNFPA will actually receive any EU funds. Countries like Ireland, Portugal, and Italy are not eager to support an agency tarnished by forced abortions.
Indeed, some EU member states may follow the US in cutting UNFPA funding.
If the nations which each year contribute to UNFPA, spent that $200 plus million dollars instead on primary health care, many millions of lives could be saved. And the world would be a safer place for children and families.
1. International Planned Parenthood Federation, “American Citizens Launch $34 Friends campaign,” 23 August 2002; UNFPA Press release, 22 August 2002.
2. “Issues in Brief: Endangered: US Aid for Family Planning Overseas,” The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1996; “The Progress of Nations,” UNICEF, 1996.
3. Stanley K. Henshaw and Jennifer Van Vort, “Abortion Patients in
1994-1995: Characteristics and Contraceptive Use,” Family Planning Perspectives, July/August, 1996, pp. 140-148.
4. Malcolm Potts, “Fertility Rights,” The Guardian, April 25, 1979.
5. Christopher Tietze and J. Bongaarts, “Fertility Rates and Abortion Rates, Simulation Family Limitations,” Studies in Family Planning, 6:114-122, 1975.
6. “A World Free of Poverty,” World Bank; http://www1.worldbank.org/hnp
7. “Oral Rehydration Therapy: Bangladesh,” UNDP; http://www.undp.org/ tcdc/bestprac/scitech/cases/st4bang.htm.
8. World Bank.
10. “Friends of UN Fund Try to Close $34m Gap,” UPI, August 22, 2002.
11. “Analysis of Determination that Kemp-Kasten Amendment Precludes Further Funding to UNFPA under Pub. L. 107-115,” US State Department attachment to letter from Colin Powell, The Secretary of State to Sen. Patrick L. Leahy, Chairman, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Committee on Appropriations, July 21, 2002.