The U.S. Agency for International Development is implementing rigorously its new anti-abortion guidelines on population assistance, setting something of a bureaucratic record for counterproductive activity. Impoverished foreign governments and agencies are being bullied for doing what is entirely legal and acceptable within the United States.
The latest to fall victim of the AID effort is the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. Press reports, otherwise not identified, have led AID Administrator M. Peter McPherson to suspect that some of the U.N. fund's money may be finding its way into programs in China that may "support or reinforce" coercive population activities. An investigation has been ordered. McPherson is now weighing the possibility of dispatching a mission to China to do his own audit. If his suspicions turn out to be grounded in fact, the United States may cancel its entire $46-million contribution to the population fund. That would be in defiance of the congressional appropriations that earmarked the money for the fund without the conditions that are now being imposed.
Once again money for an entire organization is in jeopardy because a related organization is suspected of abortion-related activities that neither involve U.S. funds nor violate American law. Application of the rule already has denied the International Planned Parenthood Federation about $11.5 million in cash and $2.5 million in contraceptives this year. Some of that money may now be fed to the same recipients as originally intended, including planned-parenthood affiliates in Africa, but it will be done through other private organizations rather than through planned parenthood. That possibility dramatizes the absurdity of such clumsy rule-making, because no other organization can bring the expertise, efficiency and effectiveness of planned parenthood to that particular work.