Legislator Seeks to Protect International Planning Funds

Aug 28, 2002
Charles Wright - (916) 445-6447

SACRAMENTO – The California State Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 51 (Karnette D-Long Beach) yesterday on a 50-27 vote. SJR 51 officially requests that the Bush administration reinstate funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Last month, the Bush administration unilaterally withdrew $34 million in funding for UNPFPA after Congress had already approved the expenditure. The UNFPA provides 142 counties with health services during pregnancy and birth, voluntary family planning, teen-pregnancy prevention, and services to protect women and families from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

“The UNFPA provides important services that are not only critical to the health of women, but to their children, communities, and nations,” said Senator Karnette. “UNFPA programs improve individual and community health and, most importantly, their quality of life.”

The administration took the independent action after stating concerns that China, one of the countries that benefits from UNFPA services, has government programs that create an environment of forced abortion and sterilization. However, a U.S. fact-finding mission to China found no evidence that the UNFPA participates in such programs. The UNFPA strictly adheres to a voluntary, human-rights approach to voluntary family planning. Additionally, past U.S. contributions to the UNFPA were already prevented from funding programs in China. 141 other countries benefit from the U.S. funding.

“Without educating communities on women’s health and smart growth, the world will continue to battle rampant spread of STDs, including HIV/AIDS, and wide-spread poverty,” said Karnette.

The UNFPA estimates the $34 million from the United States would have been enough to prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies, nearly 800,000 induced abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths, nearly 60,000 cases of serious maternal illness, and over 77,000 infant and child deaths. SJR will soon be sent to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.