Are U.S. Dollars Supporting Abortion in China?

Deal W. Hudson
February 4, 2008

The mission of the Global Fund is to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis around the world. Since 2004, this Swiss organization has received over $3 billion, one-third of its entire budget, from the United States. A study just released by the Gerard Health Foundation provides evidence that Global Fund grants are supporting abortion providers in China, which violates the spirit of the Mexico City Policy.

Unfortunately, the Mexico City Policy does not apply to the Global Fund, which is a private foundation rather than a non-governmental organization (NGO).

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the five-year, $15-billion plan for combating HIV/AIDS expires in 2008. When Congress considers PEPFAR’s reauthorization later this year, it will need to take a close look at the work of the Global Fund. Appropriate measures will need to be taken to ensure coercive abortion policies in China are not being supported by U.S. taxpayers. Not only do these practices violate the Mexico City Policy, they also contradict the Congressional intent of the Kemp-Kasten and Helms Amendments.

The Mexico City Policy, reaffirmed by President Bush in January 2001, requires non-governmental organizations, such as the Global Fund, to “agree as a condition of their receipt of [U.S.] federal funds” that they will “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”

China’s coercive abortion practices to enforce its one-child policy are well-known and well-documented. According to the report from the Gerard Health Foundation, the Global Fund has funded several HIV/AIDS grant requests from the agency empowered to enforce China’s one-child policy, National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC). Similar grants have been awarded by the Global Fund to two organizations that “facilitate NPFPC’s activities,” the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Maria Stopes International.

The United States has withheld contributions from the UNFPA since 2002 because of its participation in China’s program of enforced abortion. Maria Stopes International, a major supplier of abortion around the world, acknowledges several provinces in China are “major partners.”

The Gerard Health Foundation reports, “Programs funded through the Global Fund exist in all seven provinces that the State Department has identified as requiring ‘termination of pregnancy’ if the pregnancy violates provincial family planning regulations: Anhui, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Hunan, Jilin, and Ningxia.”

The participation of China’s NPFPC, UNFPA, and Maria Stopes International in grants from the Global Fund is buried in structures called “Country Coordinating Mechanisms” (CCMs), by which a country develops and submits its grant proposals as well as oversees their implementation. All three organizations are listed as participants in various stages of China’s development of its grant proposal and implementation.

Lest there be any doubt about the intent of these organizations, the grant from China approved by the Global Fund includes country population and family planning services in the list of “responsible implanting agencies.”

The amount of Global Fund grants awarded to China for HIV/AIDS prevention totals $171 million, which means about $58 million of that amount came from the United States.

Given the recognized ideological commitments of China’s NPFPC, UNFPA, and Maria Stopes International, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that U.S. funds appropriated to fight HIV/AIDS are being used in China to enforce its one-child policy through coercive abortion.

The Gerard Health Foundation report argues, “The American public has reason to be seriously concerned about the Global Fund’s camouflaged activities and what is being done with taxpayer dollars.”

According to the report, the best way for the Mexico City Policy to be enforced in President Bush’s HIV/AIDS program (PEPFAR) is for the reauthorization of legislation to incorporate the language of the Kemp-Kasten and Helms restrictions. Present authorization exempts the Global Fund from the legal restrictions of these amendments.

The Kemp-Kasten Amendment, for example, prohibits giving U.S. “population assistance” funds to “any organization or program 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.”

Another avenue would be to close the loopholes in the Mexico City Policy that allow the Global Fund to form partnerships with abortion providers like the UNFPA and Maria Stopes International.

Money is fungible, the saying goes. Taxpayer money put in the top of the pipeline to fight HIV/AIDS can come out the other end into the pockets of organizations who think the best way to fight disease is to eliminate the number of people who can get sick.

The Global Fund, like every other NGO receiving U.S. funds, needs to be reminded that the American people don’t want to pay for abortion, especially at the cost of HIV/AIDS victims whose suffering could be prevented.

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