06/17/2005: And...About Helping those Women to get a leg up in the World
"The following is a statement of Population Connection:
We are very disappointed by today's vote in the U.S. House against restoring U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Maloney amendment offered a chance for Congress to stand up and say that it will not tolerate the deliberate misuse of human rights law to punish an organization that is working to promote human rights.
Ignoring the findings of a host of respected international monitors, and the advice of its own three-person fact finding team, the Bush administration has withheld funding to UNFPA for three years in a row. The decision has undermined UNFPA's efforts to bring basic reproductive health care and voluntary family planning to women and families in nearly 150 countries. The administration is harming efforts to prevent and treat obstetric fistula, to end the horrific practice of female genital mutilation, to increase the availability of contraceptives and yes, to improve human rights in China.
But, if the president were interested in actually improving the lives of women in China, rather than in blocking support for international family planning programs, he would be leading the charge for increased support for UNFPA. Every legitimate investigation of the UNFPA program in China has reported the same thing: the agency is the most effective force for positive change within the Chinese population program. Only UNFPA has gotten the Chinese government to moderate its oppressive one-child policy and to agree to unfettered independent investigation of accusations of coercion.
Indeed, UNFPA's program in China is specifically designed to move the government away from coercion and toward a more rights- based approach. In areas that UNFPA works, abortion rates have fallen dramatically, and women are offered more choice -- and that approach is spreading to other areas of China. Problems still remain within the government program and abuses almost certainly still occur. But that means the U.S. should restore its support to the one agency advocating human rights within China instead of refusing to help."
Courtesy of US News Wire.
Karen on 06.17.05 @ 05:21 AM CST