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Background: In 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb at the suggestion of David Brower, founder of the Sierra Club Foundation. This bestseller, essentially repeating the 1798 projection of Thomas Malthus, predicted imminent global famine due to overpopulation. “The battle to feed all of humanity is over.” Ehrlich wrote. “In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”
One year later, after a massive lobbying effort by billionaire John D. Rockefeller III, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) went to work. None of Malthus’s or Ehrlich’s prophecies have come true, but the myth of overpopulation has persisted, and for the last forty years the UNFPA has raked in huge contributions from industrialized nations and private financiers to combat this supposed menace.
In 1987, the name was changed to United Nations Population Fund, but the acronym UNFPA remained. Billed as an international development agency that “promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity,” the New York-based organization, under the authority of the UN General Assembly, maintains over 1,000 posts in 140 countries. Its stated goals are “to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.”
Wanted For: The UNFPA talks about poverty but focuses on population. According to the Virginia-based Population Research Institute (PRI), the UNFPA in practice reduces poverty (insofar as it does so at all) by reducing the numbers of poor people through high-pressure and even coercive sterilization, contraception, and abortion campaigns.
The UNFPA is prohibited from overtly promoting abortion, but World magazine reports that the agency sidesteps this constraint by channeling funds to other abortion providers such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International. The UNFPA also facilitates “quiet abortions” by distributing “emergency contraceptive kits” (abortion pills) and manual vacuum aspirators designed to empty a womb of its contents. “If an abortionist uses a manual vacuum aspirator before performing a pregnancy test,” writes World’s Alisa Harris, “he doesn’t have to call it an abortion.” Instead, it’s called “menstrual regulation.”
Most Recent Offense: The most egregious offenses take place in China. The UNFPA has been in China since 1979, and during the past three decades, the Chinese government has enforced its one-child policy through coercive abortion and sterilization.
Last year, “Dan Li,” a young Chinese woman, hid her illegal pregnancy for seven months. When her crime was discovered, family planning officials tied her to a bed, induced labor, then killed her baby when it was born. The UNFPA claims not to participate in any such abuses, but PRI found otherwise. “Our investigations found that UNFPA officials work hand-in-glove with the very family planning officials who carry out forced abortions and forced sterilizations,” reported Steven W. Mosher, PRI’s president. In the spring of 2009, Mosher interviewed hundreds of Chinese citizens, particularly in areas where the UNFPA’s presence is supposed to prevent coercion and abuse. “When you get them alone in their living rooms and it’s just a husband and wife or just the wife, they start talking and tell you stories about the children that they’ve lost,” he said. •
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