is a mind-bending illogic behind the Bush
administration's decision yesterday to withhold
$34 million from the United Nations Population
Fund, which is working in China despite continued
practices there of coerced abortion and sterilization.
It is precisely because of China's reprehensible
policies that the U.N. presence is important.
Cutting off funds to the agency is an inexcusable
sop to right-wing anti-abortion activists
in an election year. It will increase the
number of abortions worldwide by depriving
poor women of the education and help they
need and that the U.N. agency provides.
U.N. Population Fund is the world's biggest
agency focused on women's reproductive health
and the only serious external force in China
trying to change the way local officials hold
down population growth. Last year Secretary
of State Colin Powell praised its "invaluable
work." Faced with accusations that the agency
was complicit in Chinese misdeeds, the administration
sent in a study team in May. It found no evidence
that the fund knowingly supports or participates
in any Chinese program that coerces abortion
or sterilization. It recommended that the
$34 million requested by Congress for the
agency last year be released.
the administration refused yesterday to do
so because of China's continuing birth-control
practices. This means that some 12.5 percent
of the agency's budget is now wiped out and
that vital and worthy programs like midwife
training in Algeria and a new AIDS center
in Haiti are suddenly without funding they
administration says it will give the $34 million
instead to the Child Survival and Health Program
Fund, part of the State Department's Agency
for International Development. The problem
is that that agency cannot duplicate the work
of the U.N., which operates in dozens of countries
where the United States has no aid presence.
Reproductive health and freedom of women are
central to the improvement of poor societies.
The U.N. Population Fund is one of the most
important forces at work today helping poor
women. The United States should be supporting
it, not undermining it.
Use Notice: This site contains copyrighted material
the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding
of environmental, political, economic, democratic, domestic and international
issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted
material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance
with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without
profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own
that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.