Earlier today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved two measures advancing human rights and U.S. values.
The Committee approved H.R. 2059, authored by U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), to prohibit U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports China's policies of forced abortions and sterilization. The bill passed by a vote of 23-17.
"I'm happy to announce today that we have taken an important step in protecting American taxpayers from funding controversial family planning operations through the UN and will save $400 million in taxpayer dollars over ten years," Ellmers said. "The UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) has been widely denounced for its involvement in China's one-child policy, which relies on forced abortion and sterilization."
Committee Chairman Ros-Lehtinen supported the bill. "Why, when Americans are facing a struggling economy, skyrocketing deficits, and crushing debt, should our taxpayer dollars go to an organization that supports coercive abortion and is flush with cash?," she asked. Ros-Lehtinen's full statement in support of the bill may be found here.
The Committee also passed an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 2830, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011, authored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). The bill, as amended, strengthens U.S. efforts to combat the "modern day slavery" of human trafficking. It was agreed to by voice vote.
"Although we have learned many important lessons over the past decade and have made great strides in combating this human rights abuse, women, children and men around the world continue to be victimized. It is critical that we continue United States leadership in efforts to end human trafficking both domestically and abroad," Smith said.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen said of the human trafficking scourge, "This form of modern-day slavery is an affront to human dignity, as well as a major source of revenue for international criminal syndicates." She continued: "I am proud of the bipartisan, leading role that the House and this Committee have played in moving the fight against human trafficking from a "non-issue' to a priority of the United States Government."