Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama's Coercive Abortion Policy?

By this time, Catholic Key readers are certainly aware of President Obama's reversal of the Mexico City Policy. The USCCB response is here.

Appended to the president's action was a notice in which he said:

In addition, I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund. By resuming funding to UNFPA, the U.S. will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries.
This action could be even more monstrous than the reversal of the Mexico City Policy. The U.S. government ceased funding the UNFPA after independent investigations found the agency complicit in China's coercive one-child policy - coercion that includes forced abortions.

Following the State Department's own 2002 investigation, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote a letter to Congress saying, "UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion."

UNFPA funding has been withheld for that reason since 2002 and the State Department continued to monitor China's coercive "family planning" regime.

The following U.S. State Department notice on UNFPA China policy has been removed from it's site, but is still available in Google's cache:

UNFPA China Program

The Government of the United States is disappointed that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has decided to continue to provide financial and technical assistance to the Chinese birth limitation program under the direction of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission. We have made our views known at the UNFPA Board meeting, which is currently reviewing the proposed new country program for China.

The U.S. opposition to this program is a matter of principle. It is not directed at UNFPA as an institution. Rather, it is based on the strong opposition of the United States to human rights abuses associated with coercive birth limitation regimes. While the United States has acknowledged that China has made some progress in its approach to population issues, Chinese birth limitation policy continues to contain clearly coercive elements in law and practice. The United States remains deeply concerned about these remaining coercive mechanisms, such as the "social maintenance fee" for "out of plan" births and regulations that leave women little choice but to undergo abortions.

The United States understands that UNFPA does not approve of these policies. Nonetheless, UNFPA’s continuing support for the Chinese coercive birth-limitation program unfortunately provides a de facto UN "seal of approval" on these activities. UNFPA should insist that all coercion end in the counties where it operates. Chinese birth limitation laws and policies are inconsistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with the commitments undertaken by the Government of China at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.


UPDATE: Not sure why the above is no longer on the State Department site, but other material about UNFPA still is. One quote, "The United States government does not give funds to UNFPA because of its work with China, whose birth limitation program has harsh elements that include coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization."