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Ethnic cleansing in a pill

"Ethnic cleansing in a pill" Continued...

Issue: "More clay than Potter," Oct. 30, 1999

The assessment also found (not surprisingly) that "ethnic Albanians do not trust the public-sector [reproductive health] system." It read, "from the Albanian point of view, family-planning programs and condom distribution are an effort to reduce the population."

Pro-life groups in the United States share the distrust. "The UNFPA is complicit in Milosevic's 'stealth' ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kosovar population," said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. "The UNFPA has admitted that it is working hand-in-glove with the Milosevic regime, which the world knows has recently attempted the forceful extermination of its Kosovar minority."

Austin Ruse, director of Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, says the collaboration was confirmed in a tape-recorded phone message he received from UNFPA spokesman Sterling Scruggs. Mr. Scruggs said, "The [Yugoslav] government asked us to do what we could and we were able to find funds to help out, and we had just completed a needs assessment at the request of the Yugoslavian government in Kosovo, and the only thing we will be doing now there is going back to update the needs assessment. And there will in time be a regular program there."

Mr. Scruggs denies that he made that remark, even though Mr. Ruse and the Population Research Institute have made a tape of it publicly available. UNFPA officials say they are not working anywhere else in Yugoslavia except Kosovo, which, to pro-life groups, indicates that they are targeting the Albanian population. Mr. Scruggs said the tape "hardly represents evidence of any wrongdoing by UNFPA," and he told reporters the agency has never had dealings with President Milosevic.

Michael Schwartz, legislative aide for Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), said, "The UNFPA knew what Milosevic wanted. They knowingly participated in a mission that was intended to redress the population balance in Kosovo."

Rep. Coburn, an ob/gyn who delivers babies on weekends back home, believes funding can be stripped from this year's spending bill because U.S. policy prohibits funding coercive family-planning programs through UNFPA. U.S. funding for the agency was eliminated in last year's budget over renewed concerns about China's one-child policy and forced abortions. "The White House has to change funding priorities," said Mr. Schwartz. "If the president wants money for Wye River Accords [U.S. aid promised to Israel and the Palestinians after they signed the land-for-security agreement a year ago] or something else, it has to come out of other categories."

For lawmakers, UNFPA may be an easy mark. No matter how they view abortion and family-planning issues, most-having supported NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia-are not ready to fund a mandate from Mr. Milosevic to assist in ethnic cleansing, whether it's with a rifle or RU-486.

Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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