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Slowing the juggernaut: U.S. Congress cuts population control funding by one-third.

Population control funding cuts passed by the U.S. Congress in January, benefiting families and children around the globe, will stay in place as a result of an eleventh-hour stand by pro-life lawmakers.

The population controllers have been on a roll since the Clinton Administration took office in 1993, scoring staggering increases in funding. Appropriations for international population assistance, including UNFPA funding, shot up from $325,643,000 in 1992 to $582,700,000 in 1995, an unprecedented 79 percent increase in funding in just three years; this in a time when other federal programs were experiencing across-the-board cutbacks.

Finally, in January 1996, a coalition of congressmen concerned about the wasteful and anti-life character of these programs took action. As a result, Congress cut funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s population control program by $191 million, down to $378,800,000 for Fiscal Year 1996. Even with this 35 percent cut, funding levels remained 16 percent higher than in 1992.

Population control advocates predictably cried foul, but the budget cuts held. Then in March Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR), the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, suddenly moved to reinstate the funds, despite having earlier agreed to the cuts. His principal reason for doing so was an Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) study — which he himself had commissioned which claimed that the cuts would cause an enormous rise in unwanted pregnancies, abortions and maternal deaths.

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

The Population Research Institute responded with a study of its own, “The Demographic, Social and Human Rights Consequences of U.S. Cuts in Population Control Funding: A Reassessment,” which called Guttmacher’s statistics “static and flawed.” [See “PRI outguns Guttmacher in report duel” on page 3.]

To further clarify the misuse to which U.S. population control funds are put, PRI on 18 April released a report entitled “The International Planned Parenthood Federation: Promoting Abortion in the Developing World.” [See “PRI report spotlights IPPF,” on page 3.]

The U.S. Senate had accepted the Hatfield amendment in March on a narrow vote, while the House remained committed to the January cuts. The issue was finally resolved in the House’s Favor on 23 April.

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