WASHINGTON (October 22, 1999) -- In a letter to a congressional committee, Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick expressed support for payment of UN arrears as well as for reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, which prohibited U.S. funding of non-governmental organizations that violate the abortion laws of foreign countries.
Archbishop McCarrick, Chairman of the International Policy Committee, U.S. Catholic Conference, expressed opposition to any funding authorization for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), so long as it maintains support for the Chinese government's coercive family planning program.
The Archbishop wrote to members of a congressional conference committee working on the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY 2000 and 2001.
Noting that the Catholic Bishops of the United States have supported a strong, effective and representative UN since its inception, Archbishop McCarrick requested that the conferees adopt Senate language authorizing $926 million over the next three years for payment of arrears to the United Nations.
"The goals of the UN--combating poverty and despair, protecting freedom and human rights, and promoting peace--are not only moral imperatives but also wise national priorities," Archbishop McCarrick said.
"We believe the United States should take the lead in strengthening the UN so that it can fulfill its crucial role in the world," the Archbishop wrote. "Such leadership means that the United States must honor its financial obligations for past and present UN dues."
Archbishop McCarrick noted that last year President Clinton vetoed legislation authorizing payment of UN arrears because the legislation also included the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. funding of non-governmental organizations that violate foreign countries' abortion laws or lobby to overturn those laws. From 1984 to 1992, this policy established clear separation between family planning and abortion in overseas population programs, based on an international consensus that abortion is not a method of family planning.
"We view that policy as a modest and necessary safeguard against U.S. involvement in efforts to promote the destruction of innocent human life," Archbishop McCarrick stated.
"Despite our overall strong support for the United Nations, we urge you to oppose any funding authorization for UNFPA so long as it maintains its support for the Chinese government's coercive family planning program," the Archbishop continued.
Archbishop McCarrick also objected to provisions in both the House and Senate versions of the bill which would impose fees on sponsors who must file an affidavit of support on behalf of a prospective immigrant. He said the extra fees would discourage the recruitment of co-sponsors and would further undermine immigrants attempting to reunify with family members.