1999 Scorecard Vote
According to United Nations estimates, in October 1999 the world's human population reached the 6 billion mark--doubling itself in a mere 40 years. This rapid population growth, by exacerbating pollution and accelerating the depletion of natural resources, constitutes one of the most serious threats to a healthy and sustainable environment.
For more than three decades, the United States has worked to stabilize human population growth by contributing funds to voluntary family planning programs worldwide. In recent years, family planning opponents have cut federal funding for these programs by arguing, in part, that the money funds abortions. In fact, current law prohibits U.S. foreign assistance monies from funding abortion.
In addition, family planning supporters note that improving access to voluntary family planning not only protects the life and health of women and children, but also constitutes one of the best ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies.
The principal multilateral organization in the population and family planning field is the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which operates in about 150 nations. In fiscal year 1999, Congress blocked a planned $25 million contribution to UNFPA, ostensibly because UNFPA had launched a new program in China, where government authorities have compelled both abortion and sterilization. UNFPA, however, is working only in Chinese counties that have suspended the "one-child" policy and eliminated all birth targets and quotas.
During consideration of H.R. 2415, the authorization bill for the State Department, Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) offered an amendment to extend the fiscal 1999 prohibition on U.S. contributions to UNFPA. Under his amendment, no funds could be provided to UNFPA unless the President certified either that UNFPA had ceased all activities in China or that no coerced abortion had occurred in China during the preceding 12 months.
Representatives Ben Gilman (R-NY) and Tom Campbell (R-CA) introduced a substitute amendment authorizing the restoration of up to $25 million for UNFPA under a strict set of conditions. UNFPA must certify that it does not fund abortion in any country. U.S. funds must be maintained by UNFPA in a segregated account, none of which may be spent in China. Most significantly, the U.S. contribution will be automatically reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount UNFPA is spending in China.
On July 20, 1999, the House adopted the Gilman-Campbell substitute amendment 221–198. YES is the pro-environment vote. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also incorporated identical language into the Fiscal Year 2000 Foreign Operations appropriations bill adopted by the House on August 3, 1999. President Clinton ultimately signed the amendment into law on November 29, 1999.