WASHINGTON (July 10, 2003) -- Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua has urged Congress to keep the ban on U.S. funding of organizations involved in programs of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
In a July 10 letter, the Cardinal called on the House of Representatives to approve the Smith/Oberstar/Hyde Amendment when it takes up the State Department Authorization Bill. This would allow the Kemp-Kasten amendment to the annual foreign operations appropriations bills to operate as it has since 1985, to prohibit funding of organizations that (as determined by the President) support, or participate in the management of, programs of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Cardinal Bevilacqua said such action is needed in order to remove the Crowley amendment from the State Department bill. Narrowly approved in Committee, the Crowley amendment would earmark $50 million in funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) despite its well-documented participation in China's coercive program, effectively nullifying the longstanding human rights protections in the Kemp-Kasten amendment.
The Cardinal noted that UNFPA's participation in the Chinese program was uncovered during an investigation by Chinese human rights activists. In congressional testimony, these investigators provided evidence that the program can be violently coercive, resulting in forced abortion and forced sterilization.
The investigators found that in Sihui County, Guangdong Province, a county in which UNFPA had claimed there is no coercion, a program administered by UNFPA and the Chinese Office of Family Planning used forced abortion and sterilization and the imposition of fines, destruction of homes, and imprisonment of women and their family members for failure to comply with the program.
A subsequent investigation by the Bush Administration concluded that "UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion." Instead of contesting this finding, "UNFPA's defenders have concluded that they must remove or weaken the relevant legal standard, so the UNFPA will be funded even if the Administration's finding is absolutely correct," Cardinal Bevilacqua wrote.
"That standard, however, is an essential human rights protection which must not be eroded to serve the interests of any particular organization," the Cardinal said. He noted that the international community has treated participation in programs of coerced abortion as a crime against humanity since the time of the Nuremberg trials.
"American taxpayers must not be forced to fund organizations that support, condone or defend such violations of human rights," Cardinal Bevilacqua said. "Please stand in defense of the freedom and dignity of women and their unborn children, and support the motion by Representatives Hyde, Oberstar and Smith to strike the Crowley amendment."
Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, is Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The full text of Cardinal Bevilacqua's letter