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Hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee - H.R. 2059, To prohibit funding to the United Nations Population Fund


Location: Washington, DC

This morning the Committee will mark up H.R. 2059, which prohibits funding to the United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA. The purpose of this legislation is simple: to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from benefiting coercive abortion and sterilization programs.

China's policy of coerced abortion is one of the most visible and deplorable human rights abuses. It has contributed directly to the elimination of millions of young girls, which has increased the demand for trafficked women and girls in the region.

But instead of condemning China's behavior, UNFPA not only supports China's coercive "One Child" policy, but commends it as a "model" for population programs across the globe. In 1999, a UNFPA representative stated: "China has had the most successful family planning policy in the history of mankind in terms of quantity, and with that, China has done mankind a favor."

Now, U.S. law is clear. The Kemp-Kasten amendment, first enacted in 1984, states that U.S. assistance cannot be provided to any organization that "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." The late Congressman Jack Kemp stated that UNFPA funding would likely be affected by his amendment "because of involvement with the program of coercive abortion in the People's Republic of China."

Pursuant to this amendment, three previous Administrations have stopped assistance to UNFPA. Justifying this cutoff of assistance, then--Secretary of State Colin Powell stated in 2002 that: "UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion. Therefore, it is not permissible to continue funding UNFPA at this time."

The State Department has repeatedly found that UNFPA refuses to provide detailed information on its activities in China. In December of 2010, the vice-minister of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission thanked UNFPA for "its constant support to China's population and family planning undertakings during the past thirty years and more." UNFPA continues business as usual, and last year, it approved another 5-year operational plan for China.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has failed to enforce U.S. law, claiming that the Kemp-Kasten Amendment does not apply to UNFPA. Accordingly, Congressional action is House Committee on Foreign Affairs necessary to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from continuing to benefit UNFPA, in contravention
of U.S. law.

I would note that, while some will claim that UNFPA does not use U.S. funding for its programming in China, we all know that money is fungible. Directing U.S. funding to UNFPA activities in other areas of the world simply frees up other funding for their China program. There are far better uses of U.S. taxpayer dollars than funding for the UNFPA. In fact, UNFPA clearly does not need U.S. funding. Reports indicate that UNFPA has built up reserves and unspent funds of 500 million dollars. UNFPA's annual report for 2010 indicated that its budget totaled 870 million dollars -- a record amount.

So why, when Americans face 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? Again, there are much better uses for taxpayer funds than sending millions to UNFPA.

And so I thank the distinguished gentlelady from North Carolina, Ms. Ellmers, for introducing this bill, and I urge my colleagues to support it in its current form.

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