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Senate Rejects Amendment to Stop Taxpayer Funding of UNFPA-Forced Abortions

Steven Ertelt,

Washington, DC ( — The Senate on Thursday rejected an amendment that would have stopped the sending of taxpayer funds to the United Nations Population Fund. That’s the UN agency that has been found to have supported the Chinese population control program that relies on forced abortions and sterilizations.

The Senate voted 55-39 against the amendment, with a handful of Democrats joining most Republicans in voting pro-life for the amendment.

Most Democrats and a small group of pro-abortion Republicans voted against the amendment to cut UNFPA funding because of its backing China’s anti-choice family planning program.

The vote count was similar to the Senate vote in February against restoring the Mexico City Policy. The Senate rejected that pro-life amendment on a 60-37 vote, making it clear that pro-life advocates have around 40 pro-life votes they can count on for most issues.

Last month, Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives restored funding to the UNFPA. The measure, H.R. 1105, contains language that would restore the money President Bush withheld because of the group’s pro-abortion activities.

House Democrats prohibited pro-life Rep. Chris Smith from introducing an amendment to cut out the UNFPA funding, but the Senate allowed a vote on a similar amendment by Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi.

Wicker told on Tuesday that his amendment would "stop taxpayer dollars from being awarded to a group complicit in China’s forced sterilization and abortion population control program."

Wicker’s amendment would have restored the Kemp-Kasten anti-coercion population control provision that prohibits funding of any groups that engage in or support forced abortion programs.

"By restoring the Kemp-Kasten provision that Democratic leaders have gutted in this bill, we can ensure that UNFPA is not assisting in coercive abortions in China with the help of U.S. taxpayer dollars," he added.

Several investigations have shown the UNFPA to work hand-in-hand with the family planning officials in China that enforce its coercive one-child policy with forced abortions and sterilizations as well as other human rights abuses.

The House bill was brought to the floor under a closed rule that prohibited Smith from amending the bill and from submitting an amendment to restore the Mexico City Policy that President Obama rescinded.

The House adopted the rule and then passed H.R. 1105 by a vote of 245-178.

The omnibus bill adds language that makes it so the president or his administration is not required to sign off on the funding and make sure the UNFPA is not violating the Kemp-Kasten law which forbids funding groups involved in forced abortions.

The language causes a concern for pro-life advocates because it ties the hands of future presidents who want to limit UNFPA funding because of its involvement in China’s forced abortion population control program. As a result, pro-life advocates may have to approve new language in a future bill for a future pro-life president to withhold the money in the manner Bush did.

The new language also goes much further than merely exempting the UNFPA from the Kemp-Kasten law. It is so broadly worded that the UNFPA will receive funding notwithstanding the operation of any provision of law.

As a result, even if the UNFPA were to violate provisions of law unrelated to abortion, it would still receive funding.

Not only has the funding been restored, but Congressional Democrats boosted the amount from $40 million to $50 million.

The Democratic spending plan also cuts total funding for abstinence education by $14.2 million, compared with the previous year.