You are on page 1of 2

NOTE:ThiswasauthoredbyMichelineKennedy,executivedirectoroftheliberal CommunicationsConsortiumMediaCenter(knownasCCMC,www.ccmc.org)and spokespersonforCatholicsforFreeChoice.

Legislative Background: The Kemp-Kasten Amendment NB: Kemp-Kasten should not be confused with the Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City policy. The gag rule is an executive branch policy in force during the Reagan and Bush (Sr.) administrations, and reimposed by President Bush in 2001 on his first business day in office.

June 2004 The Bush administration justified the de-funding of UNFPA under a little-known provision of law called the Kemp-Kasten Law. This was created in 1985 as an amendment to the foreign aid appropriations bill. It prohibits U.S. foreign aid for any organization that the President determines "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." That same year, a review of UNFPA programs by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) determined that UNFPA neither funded abortions nor supported coercive family planning practices through its programs. But the Reagan and Bush I administrations interpreted the language very broadly, charging that Chinas one-child program involved coercion and that UNFPA was ineligible for funding simply because it was working in China. Since then, various studies of China's family planning program have continued to document government abuses, but UNFPA has always been cleared of involvement in any coercive practices. These findings were ignored by the Reagan and Bush I administrations, however, and UNFPA was still denied funding. Change in course The Clinton administration ended that practice. Using its authority under the KempKasten amendment, President Clinton gave $14.5 million to UNFPA in August 1993. After that, U.S. funding for UNFPA fluctuated under various restrictions imposed by Congress, but a contribution was made every year except 1999. In 2001, the Bush Administration reviewed UNFPA's activities, determined the agency was not in violation of Kemp-Kasten, and provided $21.5 million. In July 2002, however, President Bush changed his mind and once more invoked Kemp-Kasten, canceling the $34 million appropriated by Congress for fiscal 2002. There had been no change in UNFPA's activities during that time. These widely divergent interpretations of Kemp-Kasten over the years illustrate vividly the serious need to clarify the laws intent, so that the fate of U.S. contributions does not depend upon the politics of the White House but upon the law. Saving lives or playing politics?

NOTE:ThiswasauthoredbyMichelineKennedy,executivedirectoroftheliberal CommunicationsConsortiumMediaCenter(knownasCCMC,www.ccmc.org)and spokespersonforCatholicsforFreeChoice.

The State Department analysis justifying Kemp-Kastens use in 2002 indicated that the principal reason for denying funds to UNFPA was the existence in China of the requirement that families pay "social compensation fees" for unauthorized or "out-ofplan births." Such fees, or fines, are sometimes significant, and some women might have abortions rather than pay them, according to the analysis. UNFPA, by supplying the Chinese government with computers and automobiles, supports or participates in the management of a coercive program, the analysis concluded. Under this logic, any recipient of U.S. funds should be disqualified if any of its programs cooperate with Chinese government institutions involved in the "one-child" policy. That would include many multilateral and other U.S.-supported organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the World Bank. All have ongoing relationships with the same Chinese agencies that work with UNFPA, and many even work on reproductive health-related programs as well. In fact, last year the White House approved a $15 million joint initiative between the National Institutes of Health and the Chinese Ministry of Health to address HIV/AIDS. The disparate treatment of UNFPA relative to other multilateral and U.S. organizations illustrates unmistakably that President Bush's decision to defund UNFPA was clearly not about China but about U.S. domestic politics. This choice comes with an enormous human cost. Without U.S. support, the programs that suffer most are those in the 150 other countries where UNFPA works, including many where U.S. aid agencies have no programs. UNFPA estimates that the lost $34 million could prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies, nearly 800,000 induced abortions, 77,000 infant and child deaths, and 4,700 maternal deaths.