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Funds to controversial U.N. group denied

WASHINGTON (BP)–The Bush administration has refused for the seventh consecutive year to forward federal money to a controversial United Nations family planning fund linked to the support of China’s coercive population control program.

Congress had designated nearly $40 million for the U.N. Population Fund, but the State Department again determined, as it has every year since 2002, a grant to the organization would violate a 1985 law. That measure, known as the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, prohibits family planning money from going to any entity that, as decided by the president, “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”

During the past seven years, the Bush administration has withheld a total of nearly $235 million from the UNFPA as a result of applying the Kemp-Kasten Amendment.

Officials in many parts of China have practiced a forced family planning program for nearly three decades in an attempt to curb the birth rate in the world’s most populous country. A law codifying the policy throughout China went into effect in 2002, although the national government forbids physical coercion for abortion or sterilization.

The policy limits couples in urban areas to one child and those in rural areas to two, if the first is a girl. Penalties for violations of the policy have included fines, arrests and the destruction of homes, as well as forced abortion and sterilization. Infanticide, especially of females, has been reported because many families want their one child to be a boy.

The United States has regularly urged China to eliminate coercive abortion and sterilization, and it has called on the UNFPA to redesign its programs so it could receive U.S. funds, according to a June 27 written statement from the State Department. “Since no key changes have taken place, these restrictions are being applied again,” said Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman.

Pro-life leaders applauded the action.

“All pro-life Americans ought to be grateful that in spite of the most intense pressures, both external and domestic, the Bush administration has once again held the line in not allowing tax dollars to be used to help support the coercive abortion policies of the People’s Republic of China,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, said in a written release, “The evidence demonstrates that the UNFPA continues to aid and abet China’s barbaric one-child policy. It doesn’t deserve one penny of U.S. money.”

PRI has investigated China’s population control program, and Mosher has written extensively on it.

The UNFPA has denied charges it supports coercive programs, but a State Department investigative team in 2002 reported the agency provided computers and vehicles to Chinese population control offices. The UNFPA’s involvement in China’s program has produced notoriety for an agency that provides family planning assistance in about 150 countries.

The amendment invoked by the State Department to block funding to UNFPA is named after Republican Reps. Jack Kemp of New York and Robert Kasten of Wisconsin, who sponsored the measure.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief of Baptist Press.

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