Politics & Policy

Case Closed

Ms. confirms the House did the right thing on UNFPA funding.

On Tuesday, shortly after Congress voted 216-211 to hold U.S. financial involvement with the United Nations Population Fund to a vigorous human-rights standard, by coincidence, I happened to literally step on a copy of the summer issue of Ms. magazine. On the back cover (which my foot was directly over — a metaphor for what had just happened on Capitol Hill, I suppose) was an ad for the United Nations Population Fund.

The advertisement says that “When the Bush Administration withdrew $34 million allocated for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Lois Abraham and Jane Robert took action. They urged friends to send $1 to help off set the shortfall created by the U.S. decision.”

The ad — paid for by the United Nations Foundation — continues: “Lois and Jane ignited a nationwide grassroots reaction. Thousands have responded in support of UNFPA’s life-saving work for safe motherhood, HIV/AIDS prevention and delivery of family planning and reproductive health services.”

Lois and Jane have a goal: $34 million dollars, of course. “Lois and Jane won’t stop until 34 million friends of UNFPA have responded and the United States is a full participant in international family planning efforts.” They have a ways to go still — as of this morning, the campaign had raised under $1.4 million.

You could call Lois and Jane compassionate conservatives (O.K., not quite) — the major catch is that they’re sending money to an organization that has helped support coercive population-control programs. They do have the private initiative idea down, though.

Remember Lois and Jane when groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights insists that Congress “is sacrificing the health and lives of women and their families in low-income countries simply to please an extreme anti-family planning minority” by not reinstating the UNFPA money. (Remember, too, who it was who kept the money from going to an alternative women-and-children option. Hint: Not the radical right-wing Bush administration.)

Thanks, Ms., for the assurance!

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