The Bush administration announced it would withhold $39.7 million authorized by Congress for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, for the seventh straight year. Congressional critics immediately slammed the long-expected decision as once more based on spurious charges. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said she was “deeply disappointed, but not surprised,” calling it proof the administration remains in a “retrograde rut” and is “blinded by political extremism.”
Since 2002, the administration has withheld a total of US$235 million from UNFPA, which supports voluntary family planning and reproductive health care programs in 154 countries worldwide. In his letter notifying Congress of the decision, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte stated that the denial was justified by charges that UNFPA supports China in its coercive abortion and one-child policies. UNFPA has firmly denied the allegations, which originated in 2001 from a private US group opposed to family planning. Several State Department and other blue-ribbon investigative teams have repeatedly found that no link to coercive practices exists, and in fact reported that UNFPA’s pilot programs demonstrating voluntary family planning methods in 80 counties have been “a force for good” in China.
A record 181 UN member states contributed to the fund’s operating resources in 2007, the highest number of donor nations and the largest amount of contributions since the fund began operating in 1969. The United States stands alone as the only country to withhold funding for political reasons.
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