Don’t Fund UNFPA Population Control

Washington Times on May 9, 1999.>

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

These days almost no sane person gives any credence to the populationbomb hysteria that was all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s. Everyprediction of massive starvations, eco-catastrophes of biblical proportionsand $100 a barrel oil has been discredited by the global economic andenvironmental progress of the past quarter century. Intellectually, theMalthusian 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 tointernational population control -- or what is euphemistically describedthese days as "family planning." In countries ranging from India to Mexicoto Nigeria to Brazil, the basic human right of couples to control their ownfertility and determine their own family size has been trampled upon by thestate, thanks in larger part to flows of dollars and deluges of falselimits-to-growth propaganda supplied by the American government.

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

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

Incredibly the members of Congress leading the campaign to restorefunding for the UNFPA tend to be "pro-choice" women -- principally CarolynMaloney of New York, Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and Connie Morella ofMaryland. But how in the world can an agency that participates in programsthat sterilize women against their will or that tells women they have anecological responsibility to have only one or at most two children possiblybe called pro-choice? Last year the U.S. Senate Committee on Human Rightsheard from witnesses of the China population program, who related how ruralwomen are forcibly strapped to steel tables in "hospitals" and their babiesaborted -- in some cases in the 7th, 8th and 9th months of pregnancy. Ms.Maloney may fantasize that the UNFPA promotes "reproductive rights," butthere are quite literally millions of women in China, India and Mexico whowould beg to differ.

These programs were never about giving women reproductive choice. Justthe opposite. Population control programs have been from their inceptionabout 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 lackbandages, needles and basic medicines but are filled to the brim with boxesof condoms -- stamped UNFPA or USAID.

Rep. Maloney believes that population control is necessary to "stophunger and preserve our world's resources." In Maloney's dim world view,human beings are not resources. They are destroyers of resources. Yes, thespirit 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 thatholds that we should celebrate the planting of a tree, or a litter of threebaby seals, but that we should regard the birth of a human couple's thirdbaby in China or India or even the United States as eco-terrorism. This is afundamentally anti-Christian philosophy and it explains why groups likeUNFPA, Zero Population Growth and Planned Parenthood view the CatholicChurch as "the evil empire."

The cause of world hunger and environmental disasters in the worldtoday is not too many people. It is too much statism. Almost all of thegreatest ecological damage of the past 50 years was perpetrated by thesocialists 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

Stephen Moore is director of fiscal policy studies at the Cato Institute.