Our Government will be funding the work in China of the world’s largest abortion provider

A maternity ward in Wuhan, Hubei province, China (Photo: AP)

“Government proposals,” we read in an article by the excellent Simon Caldwell on the Herald’s homepage today, “to ‘hard-wire’ abortion and contraceptive services into overseas development programmes have been criticised by the English and Welsh bishops.”

Well, no doubt they have: but the bishops’ statement was issued only the day before the closure of the public consultation phase for the Government’s document Choice for Women: Wanted Pregnancies, Safe Births. Why not in time to rally Catholic opinion against it?

The proposals by the Department for International Development (DFID) seek to further development by giving women across the developing world “unprecedented” access to “safe” abortion and modern methods of contraception.

And how will they do this? The answer includes something else the bishops might have said something about, though perhaps they just didn’t know: DFID will be using as their agents the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

“DFID,” according to its own website, “will be partners of IPPF. The Partnership Programme Arrangement between IPPF and DFID is to formalise the relationship between the two organisations and to set out clearly what DFID’s expectations are with regard to the funding provided to IPPF during 2008/09 and 2012/13 (£42,999,990).”

So, not only has this government, through DFID, now entered into a “partnership” with IPPF, it is funding its activities. And IPPF’s activities include supporting, and funding, its constituent member, the China Family Planning Association. In fact, DFID has been funding IPPF for some years now. As Spuc told the select committee on foreign affairs in 2004: “DFID is effectively allowing the Chinese regime to use British taxpayers’ funds for whatever it pleases, including coercion.” That is still to be the case under a new government.

The IPPF, of course, denies that coercion is ever used. Look at this: “The China Family Planning Association plays a very important role in China’s family planning programme. It supports the present family planning policy of the government, which is appropriate for the present national situation… Its programmes have been well received by the people.”

Well received? I quote simply this, from the Times newspaper (April 17, 2010):

Doctors in southern China are working around the clock to fulfill a government goal to sterilise – by force if necessary – almost 10,000 men and women who have violated birth control policies. Family planning authorities are so determined to stop couples from producing more children than the regulations allow that they are detaining the relatives of those who resist.

About 1,300 people are being held in cramped conditions in towns across Puning county, in Guangdong Province, as officials try to put pressure on couples who have illegal children to come forward for sterilisation…

Zhang Lizhao, 38, the father of two sons, aged six and four, said that he rushed home late last night from buying loquats for his wholesale fruit business to undergo sterilisation after his elder brother was detained. His wife had already returned so that the brother would be freed.

Mr Zhang said: “This morning my wife called me and said they were forcing her to be sterilised today. She pleaded with the clinic to wait because she has her period. But they would not wait a single day.”

Thousands of others have refused to submit and officials are continuing to detain relatives, including elderly parents, to force them to submit to surgery. Those in detention are required to listen to lectures on the rules limiting the size of families…

An official at the Puning Population and Family Planning Bureau, who declined to be identified, told the Global Times: “It’s not uncommon for family planning authorities to adopt some tough tactics.”

If you thought how enlightened it was for DFID’s funding to be raised even in the midst of all the cuts, reflect on this: some of that £43 million will now be spent on supporting China’s one-child policy. Still happy about it?