March 9, 2009
President Barack Obama last January 23rd —in office just two and a half days—revoked the Mexico City policy. That policy was initiated by President Reagan and supported by both Bush administrations. Obama’s action was hailed by pro-abortion groups around the world. The little-known but very powerful outfit, Americans for UNFPA, issued an ecstatic statement: “[This action] allows all Americans to again hold our heads high. We can be proud to be part of a nation that is, once again, ready to lead the world in promoting the health and rights of women.”
What was the Mexico City policy? It was a prohibition on giving U.S. foreign aid monies to organizations-like Planned Parenthood-that perform or promote abortion in developing countries. Because the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had been found complicit in communist China’s massive practice of coerced abortions, UNFPA was also de-funded. This was done under a provision of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment that has the force of law.
Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute (PRI), knows the China policy all too well. Steve was a young Ph.D. student from Stanford University when he first went to China in 1979-80. His researches in the rural villages of Guangdong province were the first studies done there since China re-opened to the West in the late 1970s. Steve was shocked to learn that pregnant Chinese women were being rounded up, hustled into open trucks, and carried off to population control centers where they were threatened and browbeaten, not allowed to return home, until they had abortions. At that time, Steve Mosher was not a Christian believer, nor even pro-life. He was simply a conscientious American grad student who was observing a massive abuse of fundamental human rights. Steve expected “pro-choice” groups in America to rally to the defense of Chinese mothers. They didn’t.
Steve Mosher was soon kicked out of the People’s Republic of China. Shortly afterward, he was expelled from Stanford University. Stanford’s president, David Kennedy, claimed Steve had violated academic regulations. Those were rules passed after Steve had left the U.S. His work was being done in very remote rural villages, many without electricity, where delivery of the Stanford Daily Cardinal is irregular. No matter. Congress can’t pass ex post facto laws, but Stanford can.
Steve Mosher’s book, Broken Earth, tells the full story of the rural Chinese with humor and compassion. It also documents the beginnings of China’s One-Child policy. That policy-still in effect-requires IUDs (intra-uterine devices) for women of childbearing age who already have one child. By the mid-1980s, China was engaged in coercive abortion, sterilization, and IUD insertion. Upwards of 30 million of these violations of human rights occur in China yearly. The only change has been a slight relaxation of the One-Child policy for couples whose first child was a girl. This was not so much done from mercy, or from respect for human rights, but because the Communist Party was beginning to be concerned about the growing disparity between male and female births. (For example, one village in Guanxi province recently reported 19 of 24 births were of males. Nationwide, of China’s 1.2 billion people, there are 41 million more men than women.) Girl babies are often killed at birth, left to die, or left at orphanages.
We need to put a human face on this inhuman policy. Some years back, a young Chinese woman was eight months pregnant, was being held in an immigration detention center in Australia. Zhu Qingping begged to be allowed to stay just one more month, until her “unauthorized” second child was born. Australian Minister of Immigration Philip Ruddock contacted China’s government. The Chinese assured Minister Ruddock that Mrs. Zhu would be allowed to bear her child if she were ordered back to her native land.
Australian pro-life hero, Sen. Brian Harradine, picked up on Mrs. Zhu’s story. He confronted Minister Ruddock with the results of his actions. Tearfully, on a videotape smuggled out of the People’s Republic, Mrs. Zhu said: “I thought the [Minister Ruddock] was telling me the truth. Actually, he tricked me by saying the government [of China] would give me a birth permit upon my return [that would let] me have my baby.” She was cruelly deceived.
Zhu Qingping was met at the airport by population cadres. They took her to an abortion center where her unborn child was killed-10 days before her due date. This is no isolated incident. As Steve Mosher and PRI have documented, such abuses are standard policy for China, with the UNFPA actively aiding in these crimes against humanity. Nor is China the only example. The UNFPA has also been implicated in massive human rights abuses in Peru, as well. There, Indian women were sterilized without their full knowledge or consent in a massive campaign waged by the government of Alberto Fujimori, since deposed.
Do President Obama’s revocation of the Mexico City policy and the Democratic Congresses restoration of UNFPA money make you proud? If you met Zhu Qingping today, would you “hold your head high”? Would you applaud your taxes now helping the UNFPA to back China’s coercive abortion policy?
President Obama has been in office barely six weeks. In that short time, he has revoked the Mexico City policy and also revoked the conscience regulations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These regulations protected pro-life doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. They would have allowed these health professionals not to participate in abortions, or not to traffic in abortifacient drugs. We are told the President is a great admirer of Lincoln. It took President Lincoln almost three years to gain the title of the Great Emancipator, but President Obama is already the Great Revoker. And he’s only just begun.