He didn't have to do it. President Bush went out of his way to cut funding for the UN Population Fund because of its role in China's program to limit families to one child. Earlier this year the president froze the money, $34 million, and could have left it unused-a political expedient that would have placated pro-lifers without giving pro-abortion liberals a real bone of contention.
Instead, the president announced last week he would use his legal discretion to eliminate this year's money altogether. The total budget for the Population Fund is $270 million. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the decision came after the administration concluded the funds "go to Chinese agencies that carry out coercive programs" that involve abortion. In a letter to Congress, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, regardless of the size of UN population programs in China, "support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion."
Controversy over UN population-control money for China arose after a team of investigators, sponsored by the private Population Research Institute, discovered UN Population Fund workers sharing office space with Chinese bureaucrats who oversee forced abortions (see "Volunteer . . . or else," Feb. 2, 2002). Those findings led to onsite inquiries by both the State Department and the UN. Chinese government officials accompanied both teams of investigators; even so, the State Department analysis noted that in one of 32 counties where the UN works, fines of two to three times annual family income are imposed on parents who have more than one child.