In a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Secretary of State Colin Powell explained the Administration's decision, declaring that "UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion."
For instance, a U.S. investigative team sent to China in May found that UNFPA works in one county in which women who have more than one child must pay a "social compensation fee," a penalty sometimes as high as three years worth of income. Such "crushing fines" constitute a "program of coercive abortion" since they "have the purpose or effect of forcing mothers to have abortions." According to Powell, "UNFPA is helping improve the administration of the local family planning offices that are administering the very social compensation fee and other penalties that are effectively coercing women to have abortions."
Powell also criticizes the fact that UNFPA supplies computers and medical equipment to family planning offices engaged in coercive practices. Powell claims that "Not only has UNFPA failed to ensure that its support does not facilitate these practices; it has also failed to deploy the resources necessary to even monitor this issue. In the context of the PRC [People's Republic of China], supplying equipment to the very agencies that employ coercive practices amounts to support or participation in the management of the program." Powell specifically states that UNFPA-donated computers allow Chinese family planning officers "to establish a database record of all women of child-bearing age in an area and to trigger the issuance of 'birth-not-allowed' notices."
According to Powell, UNFPA helps to "propagate the government's distinction between legal births and out-of-plan births." The US investigative team learned that UNFPA "takes credit for posted documents that note that it is forbidden 'to prevent legal births' - thus bearing partial responsibility for disseminating the message that it is not forbidden for government employees to prevent out-of-plan births."
For these reasons, Powell concludes that US funding for UNFPA would violate what is known as the "Kemp-Kasten amendment," a 1985 US law that stipulates that no US international aid may be given to an organization that "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."
In response, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid asserted that "UNFPA is pro-life....I would love for people to see UNFPA as the pro-life organization." A spokesman for China's State Family Planning Commission told the BBC that people who really care" would condemn the US action. The State Family Planning Commission is responsible for implementing the "One-Child Policy." A former US Census Bureau official estimates that, by 1985, the "One-Child Policy" had resulted in 100 million forced abortions and sterilizations.
The European Union (EU) has already signaled that it will replace the loss of the US funds. The EU currently contributes $47 million to UNFPA.