Congressional Hearing Shows
UNFPA Involvement in Forced Abortions
October 21, 2001—Washington, DC: A Virginia-based
population research organization says that Americans are funding coerced
abortions and sterilizations overseas, without even knowing it. At a hearing
before the House International Relations Committee Wednesday, witnesses to
China's harsh population control laws testified about the effects of the
laws on women and their families.
China allows families to have only one child. Pregnant mothers are required
to have an explicit "birth authorization." Violators of the law
face forced abortions and sterilization.
According to a study released Oct. 4 by the Population Research Institute
(PRI), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which the Senate
Appropriations Committee recently increased funding from $25 million to $39
million, has consistently stood by and watched China's one-child policy be
enforced, which violates the U.N. group's own credo.
The UNFPA, which is involved in "family planning" offices in 32
county-level municipalities in China, claims that: its "reproductive
health programs" are "fully voluntary" and that "women
are free to voluntarily select the timing and spacing of their
pregnancies;" targets and quotas enforced by normal Chinese law have
been lifted; in keeping with the 1994 Cairo Program of Action, abortions not
promoted as a method of family planning; and coercion never happens.
However, the PRI says that through a September investigation in China at the
family planning facilities, the UNFPA sat back and watched its Chinese
counterparts enforce the very situations it claims to avoid.
"We located the family planning offices, and in that family planning
office, we located the UNFPA office, and we confirmed from family planning
officials there that there is no distinction between what the UNFPA does and
what the Chinese Family Planning Office does," said Scott Weinberg,
spokesman for PRI.
Weinberg went on to say that PRI investigators have video and audio proof of
women flocking up to their investigators telling us stories of very recent
forced abortions and sterilizations imposed at the hands of Chinese
officials, in the same office where UNFPA works.
"[The UNFPA] are working hand-in-glove with this policy, there is not
evidence of volunteerism, but there is only evidence for sterilization and
forced abortion," he said. "Americans would be horrified to learn
of these actions of a group we fund, and would be irritated that the UNFPA
so routinely provides misinformation."
The UNFPA denies the allegations, claiming only to provide information about
voluntary birth control.
"The United Nations does not provide support for abortion services
anywhere," said William Ryan, spokesman for the UNFPA. "In China,
we specifically involve in a program that is in 32 counties to demonstrate
the effectiveness of voluntary approach to family planning."
Ryan went on to say that China's one-child policy is not enforced in the
counties where UNFPA is present, in an effort to push its philosophy that
women should choose their birth control measures. "If the woman decides
to have a procedure done, we don't condone or reject any policy that would
deny any woman her choice," Ryan said.
Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, said that
given the findings of PRI's study, UNFPA's claims are hard to believe.
"I have always held the opinion that, given the character of China's
family planning program, and its human rights situation in general, that it
was highly unlikely that the UNFPA's claims about its current program are
accurate," Mosher said. "We now have documentation, from on the
ground in China, that it's claims are completely false."
UNFPA receives $280 million annually in donations and distributes it to more
than 100 nations.
However, Stirling Scruggs, spokesman for the UNFPA, wrote in a letter to the
committee that no U.S. dollars given are used in the Chinese population
control programs. According to U.S. law, any money given to the fund is
segregated, to ensure the U.S. supports no such programs in China.
"For every dollar that UNFPA spends in China, the U.S. contribution is
reduced by one dollar," she writes. "Under this system, it is
absolutely impossible for any U.S. funds to be utilized to make voluntary
family planning and health-related services available to women in
Pro-abortion Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) reiterated that no U.S. money is used in
the Chinese program. He went on to say that the UNFPA's overall work it does
worldwide is worthy of U.S. support, and not only does the U.S. need to keep
supporting the fund, but it also should increase the amount of money it
gives to match the Senate's $39 million.
"UNFPA deserves America's whole-hearted support," Lantos said.
"We cannot afford to continue shortchanging this most important
program. Let us not lose sight of the valuable work it is doing around the
globe, including Afghanistan.
"Support for the UNFPA is squarely in America's national interests-and
clearly in keeping with American values," he said.
However, pro-life Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) said that even though all funds the
U.S. directs to UNFPA are segregated, the U.S. should not support a program
that does stand idly by while women are forced to abort their children and
be sterilized against their will.
"As we evaluate our response, the United States must examine its own
support for programs that assist China in carrying out this abusive
program," Pitts said. "In good conscience, the United States
simply should not support the UNFPA while it is funding and actively
promoting China's abhorrent and oppressive population control program."