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Column: Population control funding suspended

President George W. Bush ordered last month that the United States suspend $34 million in funding for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. (UNFPA). The Daily Telegraph reports that Bush’s decision was swayed by reports that implicate the UNFPA in the abuse of China’s one-child policy. The communists in Beijing are furious at the halt in funding for population control within China. In China, one method of population control is numerous abortions. The U.S. government is banned from funding abortions within the United States under the Hyde Amendment.

During both the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, this rule was enacted on foreign aid, as well. During the Clinton administration, this tradition was done away with, so the UNFPA and other groups that funded abortions were given American tax dollars to fund abortions, especially of female fetuses, as a form of contraception. (In some foreign countries, sons are preferred to daughters, and abortions are often used to stop the birth of females.)

Other than the tradition against the U.S. government funding of abortions in foreign countries, the major reason for this action of suspending the funding to the UNFPA, is that in China, major human rights abuses are incurred in the name of population control. Even with the presence of the United Nations.

Most of you know that China is considered to be over-populated. Twenty years ago, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) put in the one-child policy to start the process of depopulating the country. In China, less than $425 million (33 cents per person within China) goes toward the State Family Planning Commission, which is under-funded for the job ahead of them, so it has been highly corrupted.

Under the one-child policy, there has been the practice of female infanticide that has left China with a birth rate of 113 to 100 in favor of boys. Have you ever wondered what happens if one violates the one-child policy? If one violates the one-child policy, and can’t afford to bribe the local officials, forced abortions and forced sterilization are normal practices.

Many are late-term abortions, eight and a half months into the pregnancy. Many of these are done in unsanitary conditions and roughly executed. There are even incidents of destruction of violators’ homes. The local offices for family planning have computers that hold the marital, reproductive and birth control history of every woman in town. They even have the dates of the menstrual cycles.

During May 2001, the Chinese county of Guangdong was given a quota of 20,000 abortions and sterilizations that must be preformed before the end of the year. This quota was established after it was found that the one-child policy had been routinely disobeyed. One city had an average family size of five children. The population of the county is only 1 million people, yet they will have the same number of abortions performed per year as Hong Kong, a city of 7 million, would have in a year. During this time, Sven Burmester of the UNFPA said, “For all the bad press, China has achieved the impossible. The country has solved its population problem.”

The problem with China is that it is solving its population problem while committing more human rights abuses. This is not an issue of pro-choice, because in many instances, choice is not a part of the equation. It is a violation of human rights, and American taxpayers’ dollars shouldn’t be anywhere near this type of abuse.

  • Alex Hardman is a junior majoring in electrical engineering and