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2002-07-24

As the Bush Administration Withdraws Funds to the UN Population Fund Claiming It Funds Forced Abortion in China, a Look at Coercive Welfare Laws, Forced Sterilization and Forced Foster Care Here in th

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In a move that inspired shock and anger around the world, the Bush administration announced Monday it is withdrawing $34 million from the United Nations Population Fund.

The Fund provides family planning and reproductive health services in 142 countries. According to UNFPA, the funds would have prevented two million unwanted pregnancies and more than 77,000 infant and child deaths.

The US is the only country ever to deny funding to UNFPA for non-budgetary reasons.

The Bush administration claims the UNFPA provides aid to Chinese government agencies that force women to have abortions. This in spite of a recent State Department fact-finding mission which concluded there is no evidence that the program knowingly supports coercive abortion programs.

But the administration does not need to look as far as China for evidence of coercive reproductive policies, forced sterilization, forced foster care, and child exclusion policies.

Today we’re going to talk to a legal scholar and social critic who traces a direct line between the eugenics movement, the forced sterilization of black women, and the way the current welfare laws in this country attempt to coerce poor women into having few or no children at all.

For example, the welfare programs in 23 states deny benefits to children born to a family on welfare. The federal "Illegitimacy Ratio program" gives a bonus of $20 to 25 million to the top five states that decrease their ratio of out-of-wedlock births.

But we start with Stirling Scruggs, spokesperson for the United Nations Population Fund.

Guests:

  • Stirling Scruggs, spokesperson for the United Nations Population Fund.
  • Dorothy Roberts, legal scholar and social critic. She is author of "Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty," which received the 1998 Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America, and most recently, "Shattered Bonds: the Color of Child Welfare." She is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research.

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