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Senate Will Vote on Prohibiting Funds for Coercive Abortions in China

July 16, 2008

Senate Will Vote on Prohibiting Funds for Coercive Abortions in China
Reid to table DeMint amendments that prevent PEPFAR funds from targeting new countries, and prevent the use of funds for forced abortions and sterilizations

Washington, D.C.Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement prior to a vote on a motion by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to kill two of his amendments to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  Senator DeMint’s amendments would prohibit funds in the bill authorized for the United Nations Global Fund from going to organizations that perform coercive abortions and involuntary sterilization in China and other countries, and ensure that PEPFAR funds are not diverted from their targeted purposes. The motion offered by Senator Reid, if agreed to, will kill both amendments.

Prohibiting funds for Coercive Abortions in China
“This vote is about whether the Senate will allow American tax dollars to go to organizations that provide or support forced abortions in China, which is absolutely outrageous and must be stopped,” said Senator DeMint. “These unconscionable acts not only take unborn life, they violate the human rights of women. Our nation should celebrate life instead of sending funds to organizations that forcibly destroy children in the womb and force women to be sterilized.”

“No matter how badly some want this bill to pass, we should not say we are saving lives in Africa while funding programs in China that take life and harm women,” added DeMint.

While the U.S. is by far the largest contributor to the United Nations Global Fund, sending over $2.5 billion to the organization since it began in 2001, it has not been subject to the Kemp-Kasten policy that prevents tax dollars from supporting forced abortions. The new PEPFAR bill greatly increases the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund with more than $10 billion over the next five years. At least two large Global Fund grants in 2004 and 2006, totaling over $70 million, were given to various Chinese agencies including the National Population and Planning Commission (NPFPC), the organization tasked with implementing China’s “one-child-per-family” policy.

According to the U.S. State Department’s Report on Human Rights Practices in China: “The government continued its coercive birth limitation policy, in some cases resulting in forced abortion and sterilization… [I]n 2005 in Linyi, Shandong Province. International press reports alleged that local official detained some 130,000 persons and forced them to submit to abortions or sterilization procedures. At least 7,000 persons were forcibly sterilized. Local officials profited from this illegal system by charging detention fees.”

Ensuring PEPFAR Remains Focused on AIDS Epidemic in Africa
“Congress must stop being dishonest about what our bills actually do, and we shouldn’t use this bill which is targeted to help those countries most in need to fund programs all over the world. Why are we using a bill for Africa to fund programs in Europe, Latin America, and Asia?  Why are we adding to our children’s debt to send tax dollars to China? China is buying America’s debt and we are about to send them millions in foreign aid. That doesn’t make sense.”

“The President’s original program was a success precisely because it was narrowly tailored. This new bill is Washington as usual, ruining a successful program by expanding it far beyond its original intent. If we want to continue the success of preventing the spread of AIDS in Africa, we must vote to keep these funds focused on Africa.”

The PEPFAR bill explicitly adds Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America to the list of PEPFAR’s countries. The bill also contains vague language expanding the program to other nations.


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