January 25, 2002
Volume 4/ Number 3
Opposition to US funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is building in Washington, as pro-family Americans continue to call the White House (at 202-456-1414) in large numbers. World magazine just made this the cover story for their February 2 issue (see “Volunteer . . . or else,” by Mindy Belz at www.worldmag.com).
Yesterday, I joined with Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Jo Ann Davis (R-VA), and other Members of Congress to oppose US funding of UNFPA at a press conference on Capitol Hill. We were joined by human rights activist Harry Wu, leading China demographer John Aird, and other victims and witnesses of China’s one-child policy. All of us called upon the Bush Administration to exercise its powers under the Kemp-Kasten Amendment and zero-fund this UN population control organization because of its involvement in forced abortion and forced sterilizations in China.
At the same time we met with the press, Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) was speaking on the floor of the House. His remarks, based in part on PRI’s recent investigation in China, follow
Steven W. Mosher
Stop Funding the UNFPA
A woman, four months pregnant, flees to her mother’s village to avoid a forced abortion. Her brother, two sisters and three other relatives are arrested as bargaining chips to enforce China’s brutal one-child-per-family policy. Three of her families’ homes are destroyed. A second woman, 19 years of age, is told she is too young to have a baby. She doesn’t meet the government’s age requirements for pregnancy. Her friends, who accompanied her to the local clinic for her mandatory abortion, all nod vigorously when asked by an undercover investigator if the young lady would like to keep her baby. “But the law forbids it,” they add. Sound barbaric? Read on.
China’s indefensible population control programs have been cited by Nafis Sadik, the former director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) as a “remarkable achievement,” a program that could lend advice and expertise to other countries. However, the UNFPA claims to support only voluntary population activities. According to its website, it “carefully monitors its programs” to ensure that its activities conform to internationally accepted human rights standards. International agreements state that, “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning.” Although the UNFPA claims to fully subscribe to this standard by providing services that actually prevent abortion, it is clearly complicit in coercive family planning programs around the world.
For example, the UNFPA claims to work only in regions where the Chinese government has suspended its oppressive one-child policy and discontinued all coercive practices. However, testimony in a recent House International Relations Committee hearing revealed photographs of a UNFPA office located within the Chinese Office of Family Planning. The testimony also uncovered evidence that the UNFPA is active in Sihui, a county in China in which family planning is decidedly not voluntary. Officials there have imposed age requirements for pregnancy and require birth permits, mandatory sterilization and forced abortion. Those who refuse to comply with these standards face fines, imprisonment and often the destruction of their homes and property.
In Peru, a recently uncovered UNFPA report revealed perturbing information that the government continues to pursue aggressive population controls, despite promises to end these programs. According to the leaked UNFPA report, at times during the course of the study, situations arose when “the decision [to use certain contraceptive methods] was made external to the person.” The report went further in saying, “There are notorious deficiencies among Reproductive Health/Family Planning providers regarding the respect of personal and reproductive rights; in this particular field, there is a clear contradiction…between a formal acknowledgement of the person’s rights and its practical denial.” Perhaps the UNFPA is not as innocent as it claims to be.
In El Salvador, the recent massive earthquakes were followed by reports of the UNFPA distributing morning-after pills and manual vacuum aspirator kits to victims of this natural disaster. At the height of the refugee crisis in Kosovo, the UNFPA shipped reproductive health supplies to at least 350,000 Albanian refugees. These reproductive “kits” included morning-after pills and manual vacuum aspirators for performing abortions in the field. Coercion again rears its ugly head, this time in the form of crude abortion devices intended to be used on traumatized refugee women lacking access to the most basic of health supplies.
In FY2001, the UNFPA received a total of $21.5 million from the U.S. government. The recently passed FY2002 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill allocated a total of $34 million to the UNFPA, a 58 percent increase in funding. The Mexico City policy prohibits federal funding of groups that perform or promote abortion services overseas. By continuing to fund the UNFPA’s family planning efforts, the U.S. government is explicitly breaking established norms, and giving tacit support to some of the most abhorrent population control programs in existence.
Forced abortion is not a pro-life or pro-choice issue. There is no choice in China. Nor is there choice in countries that share China’s aggressive population control agenda. For this reason, Americans on both sides of the abortion debate should urge President Bush to zero out all UNFPA funding in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. American tax dollars must not be used to fund an organization that violates the basic human rights of women around the world.