(CNS) -- Prominent pro-life advocates cheered the announcement April 3
from the U.S. State
Department that it would no longer contribute to the U.N. Population
Fund because of the agency's involvement in China's Population and
Family Planning Law, long known as
the "one-child policy."
China, government officials continue to subject women and their families to crushing
fines and employment sanctions, and even destroy their homes, for becoming
pregnant without government permission," said an April 4 statement by
Jennifer Popik, legislative director for National Right to Life.
"U.S. law prohibits funding an agency that in any way participates in such
a coercive program."
at issue is the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, originally enacted in 1985 to keep U.S.
funds from supporting China's program and renewed each year since by Congress.
It survived a 1986 court challenge after President Ronald Reagan declared the U.N.
Population Fund, known as the UNFPA to be in violation of the law, which bans
funding to any organization that "supports" or "participates in
the management of" a program of coercive abortion or involuntary
State Department memo said, "There is no evidence that UNFPA directly
engages in coercive abortions or involuntary sterilizations in China."
However, the memo added, the U.N.
Population Fund continues to partner with China's national
health and family planning commission, and "thus can be found to support,
or participate in the management of China's coercive policies."
During his two terms in office, President George W. Bush
defunded the U.N. Population Fund. His predecessor and his successor, Presidents Bill
Clinton and Barack Obama, respectively, ignored
enforcement of the law 1993-2000 and 2009-2016. For the 2016 fiscal year, $67.88
million was given to U.N. agency.
policy was in place in China, the world's most populous nation, from 1979 to 2015. Although
some ethnic minorities were exempt, it was most strictly enforced in China's
teeming urban areas. It was replaced last year by a two-child policy.
The U.N. Population Fund said in a statement it regretted the U.S. decision "to deny any future funding for its
life-saving work the world over," and called it "erroneous" to say the agency was involved in any way with programs "of
coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization" in China.
According to an AP report, the $32.5 million
the U.S. is withdrawing from the U.N. Population Fund will instead go to the
U.S. Agency for International Development for its efforts of reducing maternal
deaths and practices such as genital mutilation.
government of China has sanctioned state-sponsored violence and massive
discrimination against women and children -- particularly the girl child," said
Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, in an April 4 statement. "China continues to
rely on the brutal machinery of population enforcement and refuses to allow
Chinese couples to determine the size of their own families -- in violation of
Smith, who chairs the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, added: "The UNFPA has been complicit in China's population control policies
from the very beginning. They not only turned a blind eye to abuses, but helped
facilitate and fund them." He said he was "heartened by the Trump administration's
early action to apply Kemp-Kasten and end U.S. support for this most egregious
human rights violation."