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Population Group Slams Proposed Abortion Maneuver by Senator Hatfield

Population Group Slams Proposed Abortion Maneuver by Senator Hatfield

For Immediate Release

March 8, 1998

Contact Scott Weinberg

(540) 622-5240

WASHINGTON — The Population Research Institute (PRI) today sharply criticized a move by Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR) aimed at restoring U.S. funding for international population control programs. The Hatfield maneuver violates an agreement reached by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in January, 1996 which reduced U.S. funding for such programs by 35 percent in FY 96-97.

The proposed Hatfield legislation adds language to the Senate’s omnibus appropriations bill to increase U.S. funding of population control. This would allow enormous federal

subsidies to be awarded to organizations which perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.

“Senator Hatfield, who is generally pro-life, has been misinformed about the impact of population control programs,” said Steven Mosher, Executive Director of the Population Research Institute. “He is basing his actions on a wrong-headed study issued by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), the research arm of Planned Parenthood, which profits immensely from public funding of population control.”

“Since a substantial share of the AGI budget comes from Planned Parenthood, it is highly questionable whether AGI can objectively assess the effect of population cuts,” Mosher noted. “Obviously, the Planned Parenthood agenda underlies the AGI conclusions.”

The Population Research Institute released an independent analysis, “The Demographic, Social and Human Rights Consequences of U.S. Cuts in Population Control Funding: A Reassessment,” which refutes the AGI report. The principal findings of the PRI study are that:

  • Increases in population control pledges by other countries will largely offset the U.S. cuts
  • The demographic consequences of the U.S. cuts will be negligible. Claims that numbers of abortions and maternal deaths will increase as a result are greatly exaggerated, if not entirely spurious.
  • Human rights abuses associated with population control programs, such as coerced abortion, sterilization and contraception will decline
  • The U.S. will reap diplomatic benefits by reducing its involvement in programs which often violate the rights of poor women, offend the sensibilities of underdeveloped countries and raise the specter of cultural imperialism, if not outright neocolonialism. Of particular interest in the PRI report is the documentation of human rights abuses associated with population control programs, where coercion — even violence — in the name of ‘family planning’ has occurred in at least 35 developing countries to date. The report cites specific incidents in South Africa, Cambodia, El Salvador, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

The January agreement to reduce population control funding, which Senator Hatfield now seeks to overturn, contains the following provisions:

1. No appropriated funds could be spent for population control activities (including contributions to UNFPA) before July 1, 1996, unless the expenditures were specifically authorized by law;

2. After July 1, (if there is no authorization), 65% of FY 1995 funding levels could be

spent during the remainder of FY 1996 and through FY 1997 (15 months), and

3. No more than 1/15th of the total amount of funds available could be spent each month.

“Senator Hatfield is now attempting to break the deal and reopen this contentious debate,” Mosher concluded. “But before we continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into population programs, we should first determine whether such programs help or hurt their supposed beneficiaries. And until we can answer this question, we should cut off — not merely cut back – population control funding.”

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