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International News

United States, Citing Abortion in China, Withholds Funding From UN Group

September 19, 2005

For the fourth year in a row, the Bush administration intends to withhold funding from the UN agency that provides family planning services and maternal health care to women around the world, saying it contributes to China's "coercive abortion" program. Congress had appropriated $34 million for the UN Population Fund (UNPF) but gave President Bush the final decision on whether to spend the money.

UNPF Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid called the decision disheartening. UNPF is supported by 166 countries "that believe in strengthening [its] role as a leading voice for human rights in family planning, safe motherhood, and AIDS prevention," Obaid said in a statement. "I hope the United States will rejoin the family of nations that support our multilateral work. Our task is made more urgent by the fact that more than 300 million poor women in the world suffer from ... illnesses related to pregnancy or childbirth, with more than half a million of them dying each year."

UNPF, Obaid stressed, "works hard to end coercion by proving the efficacy and superiority of the voluntary approach to family planning over any other alternative."

Several House Democrats were critical of the decision, which was disclosed in a letter from Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns to key senators. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) called it "a blow to our efforts to improve women's health around the world."

China has denied using any coercive tactics in its population control efforts.

Back to other news for September 19, 2005

Adapted from:
Associated Press

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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