Abortion Axis of Evil: North Korea, China and UNFPA Support

Steven W. Mosher
Population Research Institute

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provides population assistance to some of the most oppressive governments in the world. North Korea, which practices forced abortion, is one such beneficiary of UNFPA largesse. Some in Congress want to re-fund the UNFPA by gutting the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which forbids the funding of organizations and countries that support coercive abortion.

During recent visits to Pyongyang, the capitol of North Korea, Population Research Institute associates inquired into the inhumane population policies of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. They found that North Korea considers pregnancy to be a crime under some circumstances, and routinely aborts women prisoners.

Pregnant women are seen as unsightly, and women who become pregnant are banished from the capital city. Triplets are regarded as inauspicious and are separated at birth from their parents and sent to a special orphanage which specializes in neglect.

Kim Jong-il rules by terror. According to the U.S. Department of State, "Citizens do not have the right peacefully to change their government. There continued to be reports of extrajudicial killings and disappearances. Citizens are detained arbitrarily, and many are held as political prisoners; prison conditions are harsh. (1)

"There are no restrictions on the ability of the Government to detain and imprison persons at will."

Millions of prisoners languish in concentration camps. Kim Jong-il's population program extends into these camps, where women are brutally and forcibly aborted and newborns are routinely murdered.

The following atrocities in detention camps in North Korea were conveyed from eye-witness testimonies:

"While I was there, it was commonly known that pregnant women were taken to a hospital outside the camp for forced abortion and that babies born alive were killed. One day when we came back from our work outside the camp, prisoners told us that a police doctor had inspected the female prisoners in the morning and had found out that two of them were pregnant. ... Both were ordered to run around the camp yard with a heavily loaded stretcher. The first women had [a] miscarriage and collapsed. Then, two prisoners were ordered to kick the swollen belly of Kim Son-hi. She miscarried about one or two hours later."

"There was a 19-year-old pregnant woman prisoner in the camp [who] gave birth to a baby with the help of an elderly woman prisoner. ... The guard immediately ordered us to kill the just-born infant. The eldest woman had to cover the infant with a blanket as instructed and to kill him."

"A woman was screaming as she went into labor. ... They threatened to take her out for running if she did not stop screaming.. When the baby was delivered after suffering a terrible ordeal, it was left on the floor to die. The mother wept to get the baby in her arms. Her eyes were swollen with grief but the guards hurled all sorts of invectives at her.

"A woman lost her mind in this dire process. It was just too much to witness so many baby killings. During the month that I spent in detention here, two adults, one four-year-old child and seven newborn babies were killed." (2)

The chief international supporter of North Korea's population control program is the United Nations Population Fund, which since 1985 has provided tens of millions of dollars in demographic and technical support.

UNFPA runs its North Korea country program from its office in Beijing. (3)

Although North Korea has signed on to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other U.N. programs, the UNFPA has refused to condemn the government of North Korea. Instead, as UNFPA admits, it has "engaged in close consultation with the Government" of Kim Jong-il. (4)

Since UNFPA has no office in North Korea and is far away from the atrocities it supports, it will likely claim it does not know about them. But ignorance is no defense. The UNFPA is supporting an axis of evil in Asia, as regimes from North Korea and China in the north, to Vietnam in the south, depend on its largesse to operate inhumane population control programs.

Despite UNFPA's checkered record, some in Congress continue efforts to re-fund this renegade group. Pro-abortion lawmakers want to gut the Kemp-Kasten Amendment. Only if UNFPA bureaucrats were caught actually performing forced abortions would they lose U.S. funds.

But no one believes that these bureaucrats dirty their own hands. Rather, they give money, encouragement and an international stamp of approval to regimes that do.

Copright 2003 Population Research Institute.

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The Population Research Institute ( http://www.pop.org) is committed to ending human rights abuses committed in the name of "family planning," and to ending counter-productive social and economic paradigms premised on the myth of "overpopulation."

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1. U.S. Dept. of State, "Democratic People's Republic of Korea: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001," Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor March 4, 2002.

2. Human Rights Without Frontiers, International Secretariat, "North Korea: Baby Killings: fact-finding mission by Human Rights Without Frontiers, Feb. 28, 2002.

3. UNFPA, "Recommendation by the Executive Director: Assistance to the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea," Feb. 9, 1998.

4. UNFPA, "Recommendation by the Executive Director: Assistance to the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea," February 9, 1998.

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