DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     October 22, 1998     vol. 9, no. 207

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - The United Nations' secretary-general warned on Tuesday that United States risks losing its vote in the General Assembly if it does not pay its back dues.

          Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement, "Despite the extensive reforms we have undertaken ... the Congress and the administration once again failed to honor America's legal commitment and moral obligation to the United Nations and its 184 other member states." Congress has included a $197 million payment to the UN in a spending bill approved on Wednesday, but the remaining $1.3 billion was not approved for payment because President Bill Clinton threatened a veto. Clinton was opposed to a provision in the bill banning US funds for international population control groups that promote abortion.

          A senior UN official told Associated Press that the US will have to pay some of its back dues next year or risk losing its vote in the General Assembly. The United States' seat on the Security Council is not threatened.

          Undaunted, the US Congress on Tuesday eliminated $20 million in proposed funding for the UN Population Fund, a move with the group said threatened to increase the number of abortions worldwide.

          "The United States' decision is misguided from the point of view of all those, including UNFPA, who seek to minimize abortion," said UNFPA executive director Nafis Sadik. "At the very time when individual demand for family planning is rising all over the world, it will weaken family planning programs and increase the use of abortion to avoid unwanted births."

          Congress' main motivation for the cut was a UNFPA program in Communist China which maintains a one-child-per-family policy and is accused of widespread forced abortions. Sadik said the $20 million cut in funding would deprive 870,000 women of modern contraceptives, thereby threatening 1,200 maternal and 22,500 infant deaths, 15,000 serious illnesses during pregnancies, and causing 200,000 abortions. UNFPA had a budget of $290 million in 1997.

          The funding for UNFPA was separate from a controversy over payment of US back dues owed to the United Nations, but was linked to a provision banning US aid for population control groups that support abortion.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 22, 1998       volume 9, no. 207


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