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Susan Roylance: Romney commits to defund United Nations Population Fund, Planned Parenthood

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012.
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012.
Associated Press

In a speech before CPAC Friday, Mitt Romney announced steps he would take against abortion, inluding cutting off federal funds to Planned Parenhood, if elected president.

“Mine will be a pro-life presidency,” he said. “On day one, I will reinstate the Mexico City policy. I will cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which supports China’s barbaric One Child Policy.”

The Mexico City policy prohibits funding organizations that promote abortion in other countries.

UNFPA spokesman Omar Gharzeddine denied Romney's accusation that UNFPA promotes China's coercive family planning.

Gharzeddine said the UN Population Fund “promotes voluntary family planning and human rights in more than 150 countries, including China. It does not support coercion in family planning, coercive abortions or forced sterilizations anywhere in the world.”

He also said UNFPA “highly appreciates the political and financial support of the United States.”

But Jeanne Head, National Right to Life vice president for International Affairs, responded to KSL in support of Romney's claim: “There is no doubt that the United Nations Population Fund participates in the management of China's one-child population control policy which has resulted in countless forced abortions throughout the country. Sadly, right this very minute, the United States government is providing funding to the UNFPA.”

Congressman Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, also said he believes the UN Population Fund supports China's one child policy. He recently traveled to China to investigate and reported his findings before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October.

China's “one child per couple policy is the most egregious systematic attack on mothers ever," he said before the House committee."Yet the UNPFA incorporates and defers to that policy in its programs.”

The Mexico City policy, also known as the "Global Gag Rule," was originally enacted by President Ronald Reagan, has been through a series of rescissions and adoptions in the past three decades — depending on the current US president's party affiliation. President Bill Clinton rescinded the policy; President George W. Bush adopted it again, but President Barack Obama, during his first week in office, rescinded it yet again.

When Obama rescinded the ban, Planned Parenthood responded to ABC News, saying “the Global Gag Rule was a threat to the health of millions of women. ... It's been a long eight years, and we have a lot more work to do to roll back President Bush's awful legacy on women's health."

Smith's House committee testimony included the Sept. 22 congressional testimony of Yeqing Ji, a 37-year-old woman from Shanghai:

Yeqing said she told authorities she wanted a second child and was "prepared to pay the fines," but she was told "the child could not be registered and would not be able to attend school." She testified that she was told she and her husband would be fired from their jobs.

According to her testimony, authorities ordered her to be transported to the hospital for an abortion. She said she and her husband were surrounded, authorities beat him and she dragged outside.

“They dragged me down from the fourth floor into a waiting car, drove into the Jiading Women and Children's Clinic, and pulled me directly into the operating room," Yeqing said. They held me down in a bed and sedated me. The abortion was performed while I was unconscious."