WASHINGTON (EWTN News) — The White House’s clarification that Vice President Joseph Biden opposes China’s “repugnant” one-child policy is welcome but will “ring hollow” unless the vice president or president publicly condemns the policy, House Speaker John Boehner’s office said Aug. 24.
“If the Obama administration truly opposes the one-child policy and truly cares about undoing the damage the vice president’s comments have caused, the vice president himself — or his boss, the president of the United States — should personally go on record immediately and unequivocally right the wrong,” Boehner’s press office said.
The U.S. should also stop its contributions to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports and subsidizes the one-child policy in China.
In remarks at an Aug. 21 appearance at Chengdu’s Sichuan University, Vice President Biden discussed the United States’ dilemma of paying for entitlement programs when there are more retirees than workers. Comparing that problem to China’s financial dilemmas, he said:
“Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”
Speaker Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said on Aug. 22 he was “deeply troubled” by the vice president’s comments.
“No government on earth has the authority to place quotas on the value of innocent human life or to treat life as an economic commodity that can be regulated and taken away on a whim by the state,” Boehner said.
In reaction to general criticism, Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said that the Obama administration “strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth-limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization.”
“The vice president believes such practices are repugnant,” she said. Noting that the vice president called the policy “unsustainable,” she said Biden was arguing against the policy to a Chinese audience.
Boehner’s office said it is important that Biden voice these objections himself, or Chinese leaders will assume his initial words reflected the U.S. administration’s views.
“It’s also a good bet the leaders of China’s government are not scrutinizing U.S. media outlets for comments made by a White House staffer in response to questions from the media, or putting a great deal of stock in such a staffer’s comments, even if they have noticed them,” the speaker’s office said.
Without high-level corrective action, Chinese leaders will believe that there are some American leaders, including the vice president, who “offer a wink and a nod” to the policy.
Reggie Littlejohn of the group Women’s Rights Without Frontiers said the Obama administration’s clarification was an admission that forced abortion and forced sterilization are official policies, not “random acts carried out by overzealous officials.”
“Actions speak louder than words. If the Obama administration ‘strongly opposes’ forced abortion in China, then why did they restore funding to UNFPA (United Nations Family Planning Fund), an ‘abortion provider’ in China?” Littlejohn asked.
“To fund organizations that work hand in glove with China’s ‘womb police’ does not constitute ‘strong opposition’ to forced abortion and forced sterilization. Rather, it constitutes complicity,” she said.
In 2001 the U.S. cut funding to the United Nations Family Planning Fund after an investigation headed by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell found that it was complicit in the coercive implementation of China’s one-child policy. The U.S. State Department reaffirmed that finding in 2008, but the Obama administration resumed the funding in 2009.
The U.S. budget for fiscal year 2012 requests $47 million for the fund.
Littlejohn also charged that the Obama administration funds the International Planned Parenthood Federation, another supporter of China’s population-control program.
She called on the Obama administration to defund both the Population Fund and the Planned Parenthood Federation or to insist that they cease operations in China.