In March 2002, President George W. Bush declared, “I said we’re not going to use taxpayers’ money to fund abortion, and I’m going to make sure we’re not using taxpayers’ money to fund abortion.” Later last year, in July 2002, the State Department announced the findings from a team sent to China to investigate reports that UNFPA funds were being used to force women to have abortions, “we came to the conclusion that the UN Population Fund monies go to Chinese agencies that carry out coercive programs.”
The State Department report flies in the face of the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment stating that no funds may be given to any program, as determined by the President, participating in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Thus, the Congressional vote likely during the week of July 7 on funding for the United Nations Population Fund is pivotal and it is made even more dramatic and far-reaching because of two dualing amendments.
The Crowley Amendment. Added in the International Relations Committee, this amendment would increase funding to the UNFPA and make the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, in effect for 18 years, meaningless and virtually impossible to violate.
The Smith-Oberstar-Hyde Amendment. Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ), Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Henry Hyde (R-IL) cosponsored an amendment to strip out the Crowley Amendment leaving the Kemp-Kasten Amendment to continue preventing tax payer money from supporting forced abortions and sterilization.
The UNFPA controversy is not new; UNFPA has a long history of supporting what is euphemistically known as “population control programs” or “family planning programs.” With an annual budget of $266 million, the U.S. portion (not more than $35 million in 2003) is more than symbolic support and consists entirely of taxpayer monies, though many people are unaware that their tax dollars fund abortions through UNFPA.
In 2001 an undercover team investigated the Chinese population control methods and reported testimonies from numerous women who were forced to have abortions. The Chicago Tribune quoted a UNFPA representative praising China for a generation “who sacrificed themselves for the benefit of the society”
Congressional offices will hear from abortion proponents claiming that UNFPA helps women and children in underserved countries and that by specifying where UNFPA funds can be used, the Bush Administration is hurting women and children.
The TRUTH is that by transferring UNFPA funds to the USAID’s (United States Agency for International Development) Child Survival and Health Programs Fund, the Bush Administration was determining that money would go directly into basic health programs that aid women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Under the leadership of Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Kolbe (R-AZ), House and Senate Appropriations put that request on hold so that the money can be distributed to the UNFPA when it is found to be in compliance with U.S. laws regarding coercive population programs.
So, the plot thickens. If the Crowley Amendment passes and the Kemp-Kasten bill is overridden, the unspent USAID funds can go, unfettered, to UNFPA for abortions.
The next two weeks will be a watershed time for pro-life Americans.
NOTE: Congress will be out-of-session from June 30 July 4. Most Members of Congress will be in their districts during that time just prior to returning to vote on UNFPA during the week of July 7th.