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OPINION | Bush's Decision To Withhold U.S. Funds for UNFPA 'Appalling,' Opinion Piece Says

OPINION | Bush's Decision To Withhold U.S. Funds for UNFPA 'Appalling,' Opinion Piece Says
[June 27, 2008]

President Bush's announcement on Thursday to withhold all U.S. funding for the seventh consecutive year for United Nations Population Fund is "appalling," New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes in the blog "On the Ground." He adds that Bush's decision is "American policy-making at its most inane" (Kristof, New York Times "On the Ground," 6/26). The administration said it would withhold $39.7 million authorized by Congress for UNFPA for the seventh straight year (OneWorld.net, 6/26).

According to Kristof, the reason Bush is withholding U.S. funds is because of claims that UNFPA supports forced abortions in China. He writes, "Even if that were true, it would be ridiculous to withhold funds for UNFPA activities against maternal mortality in Africa because of its work in China." Kristof notes that UNFPA has been a "major force" against "compulsion of any kind" in China, adding that in areas of the country that UNFPA set up a "model program, there is no compulsion and the abortion rate is lower than in the U.S." In addition, UNFPA convinced the country in 1992 to use "more effective but more expensive" intrauterine devices which prevent half a million abortions annually and five million abortions every 10 years, Kristof writes, adding, "Does any antiabortion group have that good a record?"

A major challenge worldwide is the "need for family planning, as well as assistance in fighting AIDS and maternal mortality," Kristof writes. He concludes, "That's UNFPA's cause, and it's appalling that the U.S. is for the seventh straight year boycotting this worthy effort" (Kristof, "On the Ground," New York Times, 6/26).