Pelosi Says U.S. Should Aid U.N. Population Fund Despite Its Involvement in China Where There's Forced Abortion

By Penny Starr | June 2, 2009 | 8:36 PM EDT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she discussed human rights with top Chinese leaders while on a recent trip to China, but said she supported funding the United Nations Population Fund, which has been linked to China's family planning practices, including forced abortions. (Photo by Starr.)

( – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that the United States government should continue to provide aid to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) despite the fact that UNFPA operates in the People's Republic of China, where there is a coercive population-control program.

The latest State Department report on human rights in China, released on February 25, said: "The government continued its coercive birth limitation policy, in some cases resulting in forced abortion or forced sterilization."

Pelosi visited China last week, where she discussed various U.S. concerns, including human rights, with top Communist officials.

The Bush administration  withheld funding from UNFPA because of the fund’s alleged connection to China’s coercive family planning practices, which include forced abortions and sterilization.

“I don’t think we should stop funding the U.N. Population Fund,” Pelosi told Tuesday at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “My knowledge of the fund is that it does not support abortion in China.”
“I think it’s very, very important that we support the population fund,” Pelosi said, adding that she had voted on the House Appropriations Committee to fund the UNFPA “over and over again.”
But critics charge that the UNFPA has a long history of promoting and funding abortion around the world.
“UNPFA is deeply involved in the promotion of abortion,” Austin Ruse, president of  the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, a social policy research institute focusing on the United Nations, told “Most recently, UNFPA intervened and tried to stop the National Assembly of Nicaragua when they considered making abortion for any reason illegal.”
“UNFPA directly lobbied the National Assembly and tried to stop the pro-life measure, a measure that eventually passed unanimously,” Ruse said.  
He added that the UNFPA also has ties to abortion-advocacy groups.
“Some years ago, UNFPA named the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the largest abortion provider in the world, as an ‘apex NGO,’ meaning an NGO that is central to UNFPA’s mission,” Ruse said. (An NGO is a Non-Governmental Organization usually involved in some form of political advocacy.)
Ruse cited the case of former UNFPA chief Nafis Sadik, who went from that post to being a board member of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a non-profit, pro-abortion legal firm.
 “The evidence that UNFPA is involved with spreading abortion is voluminous,” Ruse said.
In March, the Obama administration approved a $50 million payment to the UNFPA, reversing the Bush administration’s hold on the funding because of  allegations that the money was supporting China’s one-child policy, including forcing women who became pregnant a second time to undergo an abortion.
In 2001, the pro-life Population Research Institute (PRI) claimed that it had gathered evidence that showed the UNFPA supported and funded abortion around the globe, including forced abortions in China.
Following PRI’s claims, the U.S. State Department sent a fact-finding team to China, which reported it found no evidence of UNFPA supporting or participating in China’s family-planning practices.
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), however, criticized the State Department investigation at the time, saying that the team was shown a “Potemkin Village,” where residents had been intimidated into lying about the family-planning program.
Pelosi’s delegation met with top Communist Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, and Wu Bangguo, the chairman of the National People’s Congress.
She said discussions with the leaders focused on several issues “of concern,” including North Korea’s nuclear testing and missile launch, global warming and clean energy, human rights, intellectual property rights, and the global financial crisis.
In addition to Pelosi, the other members of the congressional delegation were Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming; James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), ranking member of the Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming; Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.); Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.); and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).