THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT notched up a victory last week when the US House of Representatives narrowly voted to keep the Kemp/Kasten amendment, which denies US federal funding to organisations complicit in coercive population control programmes. In contrast, our own government continues to give millions of pounds every year for so-called "family planning" to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) despite clear evidence that UNFPA is complicit in coercive population control, most notoriously in China's one-child policy. In October 1999, the UNFPA representative in Beijing declared effusively that "China has had the most successful family planning policy in the history of mankind in terms of quality and with that, China has done mankind a favour." It was therefore logical for US Secretary of State Colin Powell to conclude in July 2002 that "UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its programme of coercive abortion."
Despite decades of reports in the West of the one-child policy's crimes, very little is being done about the policy by governments (apart from the US) and human rights groups (apart from the pro-life movement). This is partly because the policy's victims are mainly the unborn, whom the Western world largely neglects.
However, a sea-change in political and media awareness of population control is beginning. Whatever one's views may be about current American foreign policy, the US administration has begun a process of increasing purification of its overseas aid budget. On his second day in office President Bush restored the Reagan-era Mexico City Policy, which denies US federal funding to overseas abortion providers. Last Monday BBC2's Newsnight broadcast a refreshingly unbiased report on the massive UNFPA-run programme of forced sterilisation in Peru in the 1990s. Even a leading pro-abortion American feminist writer, Wendy McElroy, has recently described China's one-child policy as "arguably the greatest bioethical atrocity on the globe".
Much of the credit for this sea-change is due to an international pro-life coalition consisting principally of the Population Research Institute (PRI), the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) and SPUC. SPUC was able to secure for the first time a section on China's one-child policy in the Foreign Office's human rights annual report. Catholics should therefore add momentum to this coalition's campaign by writing to and asking their MP to oppose the government's funding of family destruction through UNFPA's macabre version of "family planning".