Commentary

Don’t Fund UNFPA Population Control

By Stephen Moore
Washington Times on May 9, 1999.>

Within the next week or so Congress will vote on whether to restore $60 million of U.S. taxpayer funding over the next two years for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). For at least 30 years the UNFPA has been a complicit partner in some of the most unspeakably brutal population control programs around the globe — including China’s genocidal one-couple, one-child policy. Almost universally, women and children — at least hundreds of thousands of them — have been the victims of this fanatical crusade. The UNFPA should not be re-funded. It should be universally condemned for the evil acts in which it has participated.

These days almost no sane person gives any credence to the population bomb hysteria that was all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s. Every prediction of massive starvations, eco-catastrophes of biblical proportions and $100 a barrel oil has been discredited by the global economic and environmental progress of the past quarter century. Intellectually, the Malthusian limits to growth menace is stone dead.

But within the Clinton-Gore State Department, Malthusianism flourishes. The Clinton administration still allocates almost $300 million a year to international population control — or what is euphemistically described these days as “family planning.” In countries ranging from India to Mexico to Nigeria to Brazil, the basic human right of couples to control their own fertility and determine their own family size has been trampled upon by the state, thanks in larger part to flows of dollars and deluges of false limits-to-growth propaganda supplied by the American government.

The UNFPA, however, has had a particularly demon-like presence in developing nations. Back in the Reagan years, Congress sensibly pulled out of the UNFPA because of its complicity in some of the most inhumane forms of population containment. Today the UNFPA ludicrously maintains the fiction that the agency has fought coercive policies. How does one explain then, that UNFPA once gave an award to the Chinese government for the effectiveness of its genocidal one child per couple policy?

To this day no one knows precisely how many babies and women have died at the hands of the population control fanatics in China. What we do know is that this program will go down in history as one of the greatest abuses of human rights in the 20th century (see table). The Chinese government’s birth control policy has already claimed an estimated 5-10 million victims. I say already because this is an ongoing genocide. An estimated 80-90 percent of the victims have been girls. UNFPA still spends millions each year on population control programs in China.

Incredibly the members of Congress leading the campaign to restore funding for the UNFPA tend to be “pro-choice” women — principally Carolyn Maloney of New York, Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and Connie Morella of Maryland. But how in the world can an agency that participates in programs that sterilize women against their will or that tells women they have an ecological responsibility to have only one or at most two children possibly be called pro-choice? Last year the U.S. Senate Committee on Human Rights heard from witnesses of the China population program, who related how rural women are forcibly strapped to steel tables in “hospitals” and their babies aborted — in some cases in the 7th, 8th and 9th months of pregnancy. Ms. Maloney may fantasize that the UNFPA promotes “reproductive rights,” but there are quite literally millions of women in China, India and Mexico who would beg to differ.

These programs were never about giving women reproductive choice. Just the opposite. Population control programs have been from their inception about preventing couples from having “too many” babies. Moreover, these “family planning” services do not promote women’s and children’s health; they come at its expense. There are many Third World hospitals that lack bandages, needles and basic medicines but are filled to the brim with boxes of condoms — stamped UNFPA or USAID.

Rep. Maloney believes that population control is necessary to “stop hunger and preserve our world’s resources.” In Maloney’s dim world view, human beings are not resources. They are destroyers of resources. Yes, the spirit of Malthus is alive and well in the U.S. Congress.

A vote for the UNFPA is a vote for a fanatical anti-people creed that holds that we should celebrate the planting of a tree, or a litter of three baby seals, but that we should regard the birth of a human couple’s third baby in China or India or even the United States as eco-terrorism. This is a fundamentally anti-Christian philosophy and it explains why groups like UNFPA, Zero Population Growth and Planned Parenthood view the Catholic Church as “the evil empire.”

The cause of world hunger and environmental disasters in the world today is not too many people. It is too much statism. Almost all of the greatest ecological damage of the past 50 years was perpetrated by the socialists behind the iron curtain.

Reagan had it right when he declared 15 years ago that economic growth is “the best contraceptive.” The UNFPA is at best irrelevant to economic development and probably a deterrent. To help women and children in the developing world, the United States should be exporting capitalism, not condoms.

Greatest Genocides of the 20th Century
Turkey’s Slaughter of Armenians 0.5 - 1.0 million
Hitler’s Holocaust 6 million
Pol Pot’s Killing Fields 1 - 2 million
Stalin Extermination of Jews 10 million
Mao’s Great Leap Forward 10 - 20 million
Chinese One-Child Policy 5 - 10 million
Stephen Moore is director of fiscal policy studies at the Cato Institute.