How Your Tax Dollars Support Population Control

You probably didn’t know it, but some of the money extracted from your paycheck by the IRS winds up in China, where it is used to fund that country’s population control programs.  Here’s how it works:

The United States gives money to the UNFPA. Last year this largess came to $30,200,000.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in turn, gives money to China. Last year some $4,861,000 went to China for so-called “population dynamics programs,” “family planning,” and other population control programs.

The United States also funds population control directly through USAID. This year, “family planning and reproductive health” ranked third in USAID’s Global Health funding requests. Of course, if you took into account the way that the No. 1 funding request, Maternal and Child Health, works to to “leverage investments in other health programs, particularly family planning and reproductive health”, population control would rank first.

Let’s look at the numbers. The Global Health Program requested the following allocation of funds:

  • $680 million for Maternal and Child Health.
  • $670 million for Malaria (Check out our video on Malaria funding here.)
  • $534 million for Family Planning and Reproductive Health
  • $95 million for Nutrition
  • $23 million for Vulnerable Children

As Vice President Joe Biden says, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” What USAID values above all is population control.

Your (Hidden) Contribution

According to a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, it costs $15.80 for the supplies and labor necessary to perform a sterilization which lasts 10 years. They therefore calculated that their average annual cost to provide one year of “modern contraceptive services” by sterilization is $1.58 per year. They measure their work  by “annual direct costs of modern contraceptive services.”

From this, we can calculate how much you contributed to the UNFPA and USAID family planning based on your overall tax bill, and how many years and months of sterilization you paid for in consequence.

Table 1 shows how it breaks down.

Table 1: Sterilization and Taxes

Amount you paid in federal income tax in 2012

Length of time a woman in the developing world was sterilized


2.5  months


5 months


8 months


1 year


2 years


4 years and 3 months


6 years and 6 months

Not all money which goes into US family planning budgets goes directly to sterilizations, of course. Some goes to overhead, some goes to salaries, some goes to condoms, and so forth. But there is no denying that some of your tax dollars go to sterilization programs, including some which are not voluntary.

We do not want to be forced to pay for chemical or surgical sterilizations. We do not want our money to be sent to programs which blatantly violate the human rights of women. And no one, wherever they stand on the issue of abortion, wants to pay for young women in China to be dragged through the streets into abortion clinics.

The only people who agree with these spending priorities are those who are determined to contracept and sterilize as much of the world’s population as they can — regardless of the cost.


This article was originally published at Population Research Institute.

Cover image credit:


Steven Mosher is the president of and an acclaimed author and speaker. Anne Morse is a contributing writer to population Research Institute.

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