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U.S. aid blocked to abortion provider

WASHINGTON (BP)–The Bush administration has cut off federal aid to a leading international provider of abortions because of the organization’s alleged support of China’s coercive population control program.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, in informing Marie Stopes International of its decision, said aid to the London-based MSI would violate the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment. That measure 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.”

In a letter to MSI, Kent Hill, the assistant administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, described Maries Stopes as “the major implementing partner” of the program in China operated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Bush administration has refused for seven consecutive years to forward federal money to UNFPA because it concluded the organization’s work in China has violated Kemp-Kasten. During that time, the administration has withheld a total of nearly $235 million from UNFPA.

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. 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, also has been reported.

Although Marie Stopes is not supported directly by USAID, it receives USAID-funded condoms and other contraceptives from some countries that are supported by the State Department agency, Hill said is his Sept. 26 letter to MSI. USAID has informed American missions in those countries to make certain MSI does not receive USAID-funded contraceptives from the governments of those countries, he said.

MSI denied it supports forced abortion or sterilization, but it acknowledged in a news release it has partnered with UNFPA for 10 years to implement the U.N. organization’s family planning program in China.

MSI’s “aggressive promotion of abortion and its longstanding collaboration with China’s coercive program leave little doubt that it is not only aware of the massive human rights abuses that have resulted in that country, but is actively collaborating with it,” Steven Mosher said in an Oct. 2 commentary for LifeNews.com. The president of the Population Research Institute, Mosher is considered an expert on China’s population control policy.

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 Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.

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