Friday, March 27, 2009

U.S. Dept. of State Announces $50 Million Contribution to UNFPA

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2009 - A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State earlier this week stated that this $50 million in federal funds this year will go to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). While the UNFPA says its activity in China has mitigated the country's coercive one-child policy, a recent on-the-ground investigation by the Population Research Institute (PRI) has confirmed the conclusion of a 2001 federal investigation that UNFPA is complicit in China's coercive population control tactics.

State Department Spokesman Robert Wood issued a statement Tuesday confirming that the State Department will fund the UNFPA, and stating that, "This decision highlights the Administration's strong commitment to international family planning, women's health, and global development.

"The United States is a global leader in promoting voluntary family planning and the health of vulnerable women and children in the developing world," said Wood.

Wood claimed that the UNFPA "works with governments to develop and strengthen laws and policies that support the equality of women and prevent rape, domestic abuse, and other forms of gender-based violence."

Federal funding of the UNFPA was banned in 2001 by President Bush after a federal investigation confirmed that the Fund supported coercive population control tactics in China, including forced abortion and sterilization, and exorbitant fines for having more than one child.

Days after taking office, without commenting on the 2001 investigation, President Obama announced he would reopen taxpayer funds to the UNFPA. Despite protest from pro-life U.S. congressmen, the Senate's omnibus appropriations bill in February accordingly contained a clause insulating the UNFPA from federal law that prohibits the funding of coerced abortion and sterilization.

The day after the recent State Department announcement, The Population Research Institute (PRI), whose work in 2001 sparked the federal investigation, released information regarding a second on-the-ground China investigation conducted earlier this month.

In Wednesday's press release, PRI's lead investigator Colin Mason stated that "when the actual conditions on the ground are observed, the UNFPA's claim that it 'played a catalytic role in introducing a voluntary reproductive health approach in China' is patently absurd. The policy is just as coercive in these areas as anywhere else."

PRI President Steven Mosher implored President Obama to "take a more critical approach in considering funding for the UNFPA."

"United States law clearly dictates that tax dollars cannot fund forced abortion or coercive measures overseas," said Mosher. The President has shown no consideration for these laws, nor has he expressed any concern over the UNFPA's clear and consistent involvement in human rights abuses."

Mosher affirmed that PRI stands "ready to provide evidence to the Obama Administration regarding UNFPA's involvement in China's coercive policy."

"The Obama administration has demonstrated an alarming ideological bent in favor of groups like the UNFPA and Planned Parenthood, groups that have been repeatedly shown a laissez-faire attitude toward human rights and national and international laws," Colin Mason told today.

"We strongly urge the President to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, by taking the $50 million that would go to the UNFPA and reallocating it toward programs and NGOs that actually help women and children," said Mason.