NEWS IN CONTEXT
Bush Administration Withholds UNFPA Funding for Fifth Year
September 19, 2006
On September 13, the Bush administration once again made a formal "determination" that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is ineligible, under a longstanding federal anticoercion law, for the $34 million that Congress had set aside for it. "By providing financial and technical resources…[to China’s] National Population and Family Planning Commission and related entities, UNFPA supports the Chinese government’s program of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization," wrote Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns in a letter to congressional leaders.
The action was predictable. President Bush first blocked a U.S. contribution to UNFPA in 2002, and has done so every year since, on the grounds that the agency indirectly violates the anticoercion law, despite the fact that the administration’s own investigative team found no evidence to support this claim. UNFPA operates in more than 150 poor countries, but does not provide or pay for abortion services in any of them. Instead, UNFPA works to reduce the need for abortion by promoting voluntary family planning.
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