Playing with Fire



When PRI investigators confronted the head of UNFPA's Kosovo operations, Olivier Brasseur, with questions about the hand-held suction abortion machines, he claimed that the device was being used for safe delivery. Not only is such a claim medical nonsense, local Planned Parenthood personnel confirmed that the machine could only be used for abortions.

Nor was this the only problem. In kits marked “safe delivery,” PRI found subkits containing not only abortion machines, but abortifacient chemicals and outdated IUDs lacking provision for safe removal as well. And when PRI inquired of the UNFPA on whose authority they were in Kosovo itself, we discovered that the invitation had been issued by none other than the infamous Milosevic regime itself, which wanted help in lowering birthrates among the Kosovars!(1) Kosovars responded by denouncing the UNFPA's genocidal programs as a “white plague” upon their people.

So we were more than a little suspicious when the UNFPA recently announced that they are launching another “reproductive health campaign” to target refugees. This largest ever campaign–the UNFPA has budgeted $20 million dollars–will target the flood of Afghan refugees now exiting their homeland and seeking refuge in Pakistan, Iran, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan (2). The head of this new population control program is none other than Oliver Brasseur.

Testifying at a PRI-sponsored press conference in Washington this week, I raised the question of whether this “reproductive health” campaign, like the Kosovo campaign before it, would include abortion machines, morning-after pills, and unsafe IUDs. If so, UNFPA's campaign will rightly be seen by Afghan women as being not health care at all, but a form of population control directed at them, their families, and their people.

Then there is the issue of UNFPA's support of forced abortion and sterilization in China, which threatens to jeopardize the funding that this organization receives from the U.S., Great Britain, and other countries concerned about human rights. The government of Pakistan, a country which outlaws abortion, should take a close look at UNFPA operations within its borders.

The Islamic community is already beginning to voice concerns over the UNFPA's plans for Muslim women. The spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Islamic Institute, Asim Ghafoor, has publicly warned that “the values of the recipients must be considered” when providing humanitarian aid to Afghans displaced by the Taliban. Ghafoor said that one reproductive health kit containing abortion machines, unwanted IUDs, and abortifacient contraceptives could undercut the good will that millions of food packets would generate. “The whole country would never trust you again.”

The president of Concerned Women for America, Sandy Rios, echoed these concerns: “[T]hese 'safe delivery kits' contain a draconian method of abortion, called a manual vacuum aspirator. Thus, a diseased, desperate, already sad and hopeless woman can have the 'freedom' to find a corner somewhere in the filthy, unsanitary camp to hike her skirts and allow a worker to suction the new life from her body. Imagine that for a moment.”

Citing a doctor who practices among Afghan women, Rios estimated that 90 percent of those of childbearing age are suffering desperately from malnutrition. Yet, ignoring the desperate need for nutritional supplements and basic health supplies, UNFPA will focus its efforts on preventing Afghan refugees from conceiving and bearing children.

Population control programs directed at traumatized Muslim refugees will not be popular in the Middle East. And, to the extent that the U.S. is seen as supporting these anti-natal programs, the shock waves that result could threaten the fragile coalition between the U.S. and the Islamic nations that the Bush Administration has striven so hard to build.

There is only one thing to do. The U.S. should immediately distance itself from the UNFPA, cut off all U.S. funding, and publicly condemn its population control programs among Muslim refugees.

ENDNOTES

(1) “Milosevic and the UN Butchers,” Josipa Gasparic, PRI Review, 1999; see also: “The Kosovo File,” http://www.pop.org/kosovo/kosovofile.htm.

(2) “UNFPA officials say agency is ready for refugee exodus in Afghanistan,” UNFPA Press release, October 2001; http://www.unfpa.org/news/atwork/afghanwomen02.htm.

(Steven W. Mosher is President of the Population Research Institute, and author of Hegemon: China’s Plan to Dominate Asia and the World.)

Steven W. Mosher

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Steven W. Mosher is the President of Population Research Institute and an internationally recognized authority on China and population issues, as well as an acclaimed author, speaker. He has worked tirelessly since 1979 to fight coercive population control programs and has helped hundreds of thousands of women and families worldwide over the years.

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