In a world of already-low and rapidly declining birthrates, and soon to experience a dramatic aging trend, European governments have decided to devote yet more money to the extermination of children in the Third World. This act of prioritizing comes in the form of new money to support Communist China’ s coercive population control program, and more new money for the Global Safe Abortion Fund created by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). In both cases, Great Britain took the initiative in rounding up support.
On January 30, the New York-based Executive Board of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) approved, as UNFPA itself put it, “the sixth UNFPA programme of assistance to China, totaling $27 million over five years. As they did so, board members and other United Nations countries praised UNFPA as a ‘force for good’ that promotes and protects human rights, implicitly repudiating a claim that the Fund abets coercive practices.” That last clause refers to the Bush Administration, which has withheld American money from UNFPA because of its assistance to the Chinese population control effort. In China, women and their husbands are severely penalized for having more than their quota of one or two children. UNFPA officials do not directly engage in the forced abortion and sterilization practices of the Chinese regime, but subsidize them with its financial and technical assistance to Chinese population control bureaucrats.
Ten European countries led by Britain issued a strong statement of support for UNFPA. These nations provide most of UNFPA funding. Britain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany signed the joint statement. UNFPA has long claimed that coercive practices have lessened in the areas of China where it operates, but a September 2001 PRI investigation found that forcible coercion continues in the same counties in which UNFPA works.
UNFPA Stops Coercion?
How hard UNFPA tries to end coercion is questionable. UNFPA money flows to China without any public strings attached. Even a Dec. 15, 2005 article by UNFPA itself raises questions about what coercive practices UNFPA opposes in any case.
“Lifting birth-spacing rules is an important step towards a fully voluntary approach to pregnancy decisions,” said UNFPA Representative Siri Tellier in the article, which praised an end to birth-spacing regulations in Hainan Province and the subgroup of penalties that went with them. “Around 40% of penalties involve cases of birth spacing, so eliminating that requirement is significant. However, it goes only part way to meeting international human rights standards. We would like China to eliminate any economic penalties for out-of-plan births.” The article discussed the difficulties poor families faced in paying the astronomical fines levied on them for violation of their birth mandates.
It seems curious that he would say “economic penalties” instead of “all penalties” or something to that effect. Third World governments practice various kinds of coercion, from fines to denial of education benefits to ineligibility for government jobs to loss of employment altogether, to keep couples from having as many children as they would like. China employs all of these methods plus simply rounding women up by the thousands and forcibly sterilizing them, which is not an economic penalty (for examples, see Time magazine, “Enemies of the State?,” Sep. 19, 2005).
Hu Daji, Deputy Director of the Hainan Population and Family Planning Bureau, told UNFPA that guaranteeing women’s rights was a goal, but it has to be pursued alongside another one. “Our challenge is to not have more births and to protect clients’ rights,” he said.
Too Few Chinese Girls
The article also discussed the crisis of too few girls in China due to families’ preference for sons if they are allowed only one or two children, a problem China is trying to solve with yet more government meddling. Girls are often aborted by boy-seeking families trying to stay under the child quota. Sons carry on the family in China while daughters join their husbands’ families. UNFPA’s article showcased a minority family that was allowed by the government to have three children because the first two were girls (ethnic Han Chinese are not allowed such an exception unless they can afford to bribe officials). But the third was a girl as well, causing the parents to lament their lack of a son to carry on the family and support them in their old age. Instead of condemning the government’s rule preventing this couple from freely trying for a son, UNFPA gently criticized them for having backwards attitudes toward gender.
A few days after UNFPA reaffirmed its commitment to China. Britain announced $5.3 million to support groups that perform or promote abortion overseas. This contains another tweak for the United States, since the Bush Administration resurrected a version of the Mexico City policy when it came into power. Currently, U.S. policy withholds U.S. funds from groups that promote abortion abroad. IPPF does not receive funds due to President Bush’s decision and was overjoyed by Britain’s contribution to its new Global Safe Abortion Fund. “It is a big boost for us, politically and philosophically, that a sovereign government is prepared to stand up and say ‘we support what the IPPF is trying to do to expand the availability of safe and legal abortions around the world,”’ Reuters reported IPPF Director-General Steven Sinding as saying. Said Gareth Thomas, British Minister for International Development, “I would urge other donors to follow our lead.”
The Global Safe Abortion Fund targets groups that lost American funding when Bush changed Clinton Administration policy, Thomas spoke what has been repeatedly demonstrated as the opposite of the truth when he said, “We know from experience that the absence of sexual and reproductive health services results in an increase in unintended pregnancies and, inevitably, a greater number of unsafe abortions. That is why the UK will support organisations like the IPPF and Marie Stopes that are providing medical care and information to help save women’s lives.”
Using a classic propaganda technique, Sinding said, “What I have never been able to figure out about American policy is why they persist in cutting down funding to organisations that are about preventing unwanted pregnancies.” Of course, the Bush Administration withholds money only from such groups that also promote abortion. It unfortunately continues to fund contraception and sex education around the world. In any case, Sinding made IPPF’s goal crystal clear: more abortion, no matter what the country, culture, or availability of contraceptives. “We are committed to the expansion of safe abortion because in any society, no matter how efficiently contraception is made available, there will be unplanned and unwanted pregnancies,” he said.
International pro-abortion groups have targeted pro-life populations in the eastern Caribbean for recent efforts, and one of the region’s chief abortion advocates wasted no time in praising Britain’s decision. Reported the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation on February 7, “Executive Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association George Griffith has welcomed the announcement by Britain to fund support groups that will offer safe abortions and family planning. Mr. Griffith says the new global safe abortion programme which was developed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, will greatly assist his organisation in achieving some of their primary goals, one of which is women’s health and safety. Mr. Griffith hopes that people will not subscribe to the view that the programme will encourage women to have abortions, but rather as one that will assist those who make that decision, to do so safely.”
No Stopping the Pop Cons
Declining birthrates, aging populations, human rights abuses, U.S. opposition, local opposition — none of these factors have stopped the global abortion juggernaut.