July 23, 2002
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to commend you for your decision to withhold $34 million in U.S. funding from the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) due to its support for coercive population programs.
Despite many efforts to obfuscate this issue, it has always been about the rights and dignity of women, the lives of children, and our obligation to respect the law. Since 1985, Congress has forbidden the funding of any organization which, as determined by the President of the United States, "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." No one can plausibly deny that the Chinese population program uses these coercive means, or that the UNFPA supports and even helps manage the Chinese program. Therefore your responsibility was clear.
No less compelling are the humanitarian and human rights arguments for taking a clear and absolute stand against any involvement in coercive population programs. At the Nuremberg trials over fifty years ago, those who managed a program of coerced abortion were convicted of having committed a crime against humanity. More recently, the nations of the world condemned "forced sterilization and forced abortion" as "acts of violence against women" at the United Nations' World Conference on Women in 1995. It is tragic that one of the UN's own agencies has failed to appreciate that such policies assault the dignity of women as well as the lives of vulnerable unborn children. I hope the wise action you have taken will encourage the UNFPA to reconsider its involvement in such injustice.
In the name of the Catholic Bishops of the United States, I thank you for taking this action in defense of women and children in developing nations.
Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Bishop of Belleville
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops