State Department Withdraws Funding for AIDS Program, Alleging Group Involved Supports Forced Abortion in China
August 27, 2003
The State Department has announced that it is discontinuing funding for an HIV/AIDS program for African and Asian refugees because of concerns that one of the seven groups that runs the program supports forced abortions and involuntary sterilization in China, the New York Times reports. Although State Department officials said they have no evidence that Marie Stopes International, which provides family planning counseling and abortion services, is involved in forced abortions and sterilizations, they expressed concern that the group works as a partner in China with the United Nations Population Fund (Swarns, New York Times, 8/27). The Bush administration in July 2002 decided to permanently withhold UNFPA funding -- withdrawing $34 million in financing for that year -- stating that the organization "tacitly perpetuates a 'one-child' policy in China that has led to abortions and sterilizations against women's will." Although a State Department fact-finding team in May 2002 found that there was no evidence that UNFPA funds were being used for coercive practices in China, the administration rejected the report's findings, stating that China "coerces women to have abortions by charging them a prohibitive 'social compensation fee' for having children without permission" (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 7/17). State Department officials said that Marie Stopes' work with the UNFPA and Chinese officials "is what touched off the similar concerns," according to the Times. An unnamed State Department official said that although the group's program in China aims to reduce the country's number of abortions, "the fact that they're tied in with the [Chinese] government management program is what triggered the concern. This wasn't an ideological decision; it was a legal decision."
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.