View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Newspaper catches Obama maneuver

The Catholic Key (the blog of the staff of the diocesan paper of Kansas City-St. Joseph) picked up on something interesting.

President Obama, as expected, reversed the Mexico City policy that prohibited U.S. funds from being used for foreign abortions. He did it on late Friday - perhaps to avoid lots of press for it (it's a time-honored political tactic).

But in reversing the policy, Obama apparently snuck something else in that could have additional adverse effects when it comes to abortion.

In announcing the reversal, Obama also said:

In addition, I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund. By resuming funding to UNFPA, the U.S. will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries.

The U.S. government had stopped funding the UNFPA after investigations showed the agency was "complicit in China's coercive one-child policy - coercion that includes forced abortions."

The State Department investigated, and, the Key staff notes, "then-Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote a letter to Congress saying, `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.'"

The staff notes that the State Department - prior to Obama taking control - had this on its website the following stop notice:

UNFPA China Program

The Government of the United States is disappointed that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has decided to continue to provide financial and technical assistance to the Chinese birth limitation program under the direction of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission. We have made our views known at the UNFPA Board meeting, which is currently reviewing the proposed new country program for China.

The U.S. opposition to this program is a matter of principle. It is not directed at UNFPA as an institution. Rather, it is based on the strong opposition of the United States to human rights abuses associated with coercive birth limitation regimes. While the United States has acknowledged that China has made some progress in its approach to population issues, Chinese birth limitation policy continues to contain clearly coercive elements in law and practice. The United States remains deeply concerned about these remaining coercive mechanisms, such as the "social maintenance fee" for "out of plan" births and regulations that leave women little choice but to undergo abortions.

The United States understands that UNFPA does not approve of these policies. Nonetheless, UNFPA’s continuing support for the Chinese coercive birth-limitation program unfortunately provides a de facto UN "seal of approval" on these activities. UNFPA should insist that all coercion end in the counties where it operates. Chinese birth limitation laws and policies are inconsistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with the commitments undertaken by the Government of China at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.

But now, that "matter of principle" is no longer operative. There are reports that China has relaxed its policy somewhat, but that forced abortions still take place.

Thus the Obama administration will help to fund abortions - with our money - and Obama announced it in a way that appears to be trying to slip it by us.

Given the way he has operated in the past, I would not be surprised. Nor would I surprised at any such actions in the future.

Good catch by the folks at the Catholic Key.

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Blogger Marie said...

what about his open government? I have written my own piece about Obama and abortion and why it has so much in common with the Nazi's!

Peace to you:)

Marie:) May I add your blog to my own blog roll?

12:52 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Given his "openness" during the campaign, I'm not holding my breath.

Please, feel free to add my blog to your blog roll. I actually have your "View fromt he pews" on my list of favorites, but I need to get you listed in my blog as well.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

Thanks Lee:)
I will add you now and thank you for adding ours.

Would you believe it is near 110 degrees here today WHOA! Send me some SNOW lol.

Peace to you

Marie:) God bless.

9:56 PM  

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