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Cutting off the ultimate resource

"Cutting off the ultimate resource" Continued...

Issue: "Signs and wonders," Jan. 26, 2008

Powell argued against U.S. funding of UNFPA, and President Bush withdrew $34 million worth of UNFPA support in 2002. Three years later Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations, reiterated concerns about UNFPA's involvement, saying that assistance in China "provides a de facto United Nations 'seal of approval' on these abhorrent practices."

UNFPA's quiet support for abortion reflects its underlying premise that population control promotes economic development and eradicates poverty. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, notes that UNFPA is "a population control agency. . . . What this organization is about-first, last and always-is about driving down the birth rate." Anything else, Mosher says, is "window dressing."

Mosher, author of the upcoming book Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits, notes that as life expectancy improves, birth rates naturally fall: When people find that all their children can survive to adulthood, "they naturally begin to reduce their family size." He says UNFPA embraces worthy goals such as reducing maternal and infant mortality, but he promotes better ways to accomplish those goals: educating midwives, building hospitals, and providing care through pregnancy and childbirth. He also supports the funding of better organizations to implement those goals, organizations without "an ideological commitment to the failed idea that you solve problems by eliminating people."

UNFPA calls reproductive restriction "the cornerstone of UNFPA assistance." When a country is in conflict or in the throes of natural disaster, UNFPA rushes in with male and female condoms, contraceptives, IUDs, and emergency contraceptives. In 2006, the agency went to Bolivia, the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Pakistan. UNFPA also supplies population data with the goal of helping countries develop policies to reduce population growth.

Mosher believes that UNFPA's premise is untrue: "You don't eradicate poverty simply by going out to eliminate the poor." People are an asset, not a drain, he said: "They're not just consumers, they're producers." People provide the ultimate resource: "the ingenuity, the creativity of the human mind."

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