Population controllers do not take rejection well. Take the partisans of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which late last year lost its $20 million annual subsidy from the U.S. Treasury.
Regular readers of the Review will recall that the UNFPA secretly — and in violation of an explicit commitment to the U.S. Congress — negotiated a five-year, $20 million dollar program with China. This is a country that, in violation of the Tiahrt Law, enforces targets and quotas for births by means of forced abortion and forced sterilization. Once word of the UNFPA’s new program leaked out, Congress rightly pulled the plug.
Enter the Clinton administration, in the person of Frank Loy, whose title is Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs. The congressional ban on funding for the UNFPA, said Loy, should be lifted, because it has “terrible, immediate consequences.”
Congressional opponents of the cut-off were more specific. Rep. John Porter (R-Illinois), a long-time advocate of population control programs, announced that he supports the massive distribution of contraceptives around the world because this helps to reduce the numbers of abortions. “This [spending cut] I cannot understand and do not respect,” Porter said.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) went so far as to offer oh-so-precise estimates of the effect of the cut. She estimated that the withdrawal of U,S. funding has deprived 870,000 women in developing countries of modern contraception, leading to 500,000 unintended pregnancies, 200,000 abortions and thousands of maternal and child deaths.
But all of these claims are bogus. Dumping contraceptives throughout the Third World, often accompanied by “safe sex” campaigns, encourages sexual activity before and outside of marriage. The end result is more — not fewer — unplanned pregnancies, and more — not fewer — abortions.
Even abortion advocates — at least those who are not in thrall to the population control movement — will occasionally admit this. In a 1991 letter to the Wall Street Journal, the medical director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America wrote: “More than three million unplanned pregnancies occur each year to American women; two-thirds of these are due to contraceptive failure.”1
Given that women who use birth control are more likely to have an abortion than those who do not, sending contraceptives around the world is not going to reduce the abortion rate. If anything, because of high rates of contraceptive failure, it will increase the number of abortions.
There are other reasons to question Congresswoman’s Maloney’s numbers as well. For years, the U.S., the UNFPA, and other agencies have shipped container-loads of contraceptives to the Third World. It will take months, if not years, for the huge stockpiles built up in warehouses and clinics around the world to be used up. This is to say that the real world impact of the funding cut is to date nil. It is unlikely that one, much less “870,000,” women have been “denied” contraceptives.
Moreover, it is denigrating to women (and men) to say that, absent “modern” contraceptives, they are helpless to prevent pregnancy, should they wish to do so. They will not fall into a breeding frenzy, but use other means to achieve their desired family size. They may practice abstinence, for example, a method far more reliable than any “modern” method.
If the estimate of unintended pregnancies is a huge exaggeration, the number of abortions is made up of whole cloth. No one can say for certain what percentage of pregnancies in the Third World ends in abortion, although it is certainly far lower than in the economically advanced (but morally challenged) countries of the developed world.
Finally, to suggest that those who cut off aid to the UNFPA are somehow responsible for “thousands” of maternal and child deaths is sheer demagoguery. Where is Congresswoman Maloney’s concern for the thousands of Chinese women who die of complications from forced abortion and sterilization? Or for the hundreds of thousands of baby girls who are aborted in utero, killed at birth, or abandoned to die shortly thereafter?
This is the real tragedy of the UNFPA’s involvement in China, which all the disingenuous cant or fabricated numbers in the world can’t deny.
The official date for the world to pass the 6 billion mark will be October 12th, 1999. Will there be huge banners, walkathons, contraception parades, giant goodyear blimps in the shape of condoms; or will it come and go, like a silent grey blanket of fog, unnoticed by the press? What exactly is going to happen? Well, nothing. The media will give it mention in section H, page 5 next to the classifieds. If activists could reach into their pockets and consider this as a last gasp effort to draw attention to this issue, perhaps something big could happen. Lets get out the word and start working on it. What are you guys going to be doing?
Via the Internet
Editor’s comment: Thank you for asking. PRI agrees the day should not pass unnoticed. We envision a parade celebrating people, children and families, with huge blimps shaped like babies. PRI will promote a “walk-a-thon for people” since our goal is that the populations of nations be able to sustain themselves.