Bush Withdraws US support for UN Population Fund

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STATEMENT BY Ans Zwerver (Green Left Party), member of the Dutch
Senate. Author, Motion for resolution condemning Mexico City Policy (Global
Gag Rule) written for the Council of Europe Parliamentary assembly.

I deeply disagree with the decision of the Bush administration to defund UNFPA. UNFPA saves the lives of women by providing them with the information and the means they need to make reproductive choices. UNFPA does so in China and in 139 other countries in the world.
UNFPA programs are based upon human rights and no allegations of being involved in coercive programs have ever been proven by anyone.
President Bush decision has nothing to do with saving women's lives and having fewer abortions. This decision only leads to more maternal deaths, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. In short, this decision is not about health and family planning but leads to death and family distortion.

Giving the by Congress approved 34 million UNFPA dollars to USAID is no comfort: US overseas aid cannot be used for safe abortion or for abortion related activities due to the Global Gag Rule. Today US policy tends to rely on sex education that > preaches abstinence. From experience and research we know the simple facts being: - The most effective way to prevent abortion is contraceptive choice and sex education. This is proven true in my country, the Netherlands, and in many countries of the world.

Providing women with the information, education and resources that enable them to realize their full potential is the common goal for UNFPA and many countries. It also should be Presidents Bush goal.
To achieve this goal we need to support programs like UNFPA's that empower women to achieve the highest standards of health, particularly reproductive health, and to secure their right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children. If we all take this approach we will see reduced abortion rates, reduced rates of unwanted pregnancies and healthier societies. UNFPA is working in this field and needs all the support it can get.

The lives of millions around the world who benefit from UNFPA programmes may not suffer as a result of the Bush administration’s decision. We, in Europe, will have to closely research the consequences of this decision and see how we can help to undo the devastating results of this narrow minded policy.

- www.unfpa.org
- www.planetwire.org

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