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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 15, 2003

CONTACT

Communications Department
202-667-5881

National Abortion Federation Condemns House Vote Barring Family Planning to Disadvantaged Families Worldwide

Washington, DC - The National Abortion Federation (NAF) today condemned the House of Representatives for its refusal to allow funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). An amendment to strip language restoring funding to the UNFPA from the 2004-05 State Department Authorization Bill was passed this afternoon.

"The Bush administration and the House leadership have made it clear that they are determined to placate political base- even when it places women and children worldwide at risk," said Vicki Saporta, NAF President and CEO. "Americans strongly support voluntary family planning and prenatal care. Today's vote will keep this vital care out of reach for some of the world's poorest families." The UNFPA provides voluntary family planning, pregnancy and delivery care. The administration has withheld $69 million appropriated to UNFPA by a bipartisan Congress over the past two years - money that could have prevented four million unwanted pregnancies, 9,400 maternal deaths and a staggering 150,000 infant deaths.

In January 2002 the Bush Administration announced its intention to freeze $34 million in United States funding for UNFPA, amidst allegations from anti-abortion, anti-family planning groups that UNFPA was complicit in coercive population control measures in China. A three-member investigatory team appointed by President Bush discovered "no evidence that UNFPA has knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or forced sterilization in [China]," and recommended the US funding be released.

Despite these findings, President Bush used an arcane executive privilege measure called the Kemp-Kasten Amendment to cut off funding to UNFPA. Bush justified the move on the basis of misleading evidence provided by a single anti-family planning group that the agency was indirectly contributing to forced abortion and involuntary sterilization measures in China by providing the Chinese government with computer equipment.

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The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.
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