The Government should stop funding abortion services overseas finds new poll, as a major new report concludes that money from UK taxpayers in the form of international aid, have funded coerced terminations in China.
The poll was released ahead of the publication of the report from the British NGO the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). It found that by a ratio of more than two to one (56 per cent – 26 per cent) the public believes it is wrong for the Government to fund abortion services outside of the UK.
The survey of 2,018 adults, by British Polling Council member Whitestone Insight, asked about international aid funding abortion and reproductive services in countries, including China, six in 10, (60 per cent) said that the “UK should cut funding to countries such as China where there is concern that women are routinely forced or coerced into having an abortion”, while just 16 per cent or less than two in 10 of those surveyed disagreed.
The polling found clear support for attaching clear strings to any aid given by the UK to countries where problematic abortion policies are practised. More than three quarters (76 per cent) including almost four in five women (78 per cent), support making it clear to China and other countries in receipt of UK aid that gender-selective abortion should be explicitly banned.
The same proportion, 76 per cent also back the view that abortion on the grounds of a child’s ethnicity should also be banned. This includes the support of more than six in ten across every demographic – age, sex, socio-economic gradeand region.
More than seven in ten (72 per cent) agree with the suggestion that the Government should make it clear to China and other countries in receipt of aid that safeguards such as the two doctors rule help to protect women against being pressured into abortion and that the UK should encourage China and other countries in receipt of aid that women in those places should have access to independent counselling.
The survey is being released ahead of the publication of a major new report that lays bare the scale of forced or coerced abortions in China, especially among minority population such as the Uyghur Muslims.
The report, COMPLICT: Is UK money contributing to coerced abortions in China? finds that coerced or forced abortions are happening on an industrial scale in China, with estimates suggesting 200,000 fewer births in the Xinjiang province than would normally be expected. While natural population growth rates of the Uyghur people had collapsed between 2015-2018 by more than 70 per cent and in some areas had dropped to zero or even become negative.
The authors of the report acknowledge that the Government has committed to end ending international aid to China. However, they highlight that in 2019 – 2020 the UK gave some £82 million directly to the world’s second largest economy and a further £80 million to the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA), both of which have supported family planning and reproductive services, including abortions in China.
The following year, 2020 -2021, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), estimates that aid to China amounted to more than £60 million, while figures for the last financial year have yet to be published.
Michael Robinson, Executive Director of SPUC, told parliamentnews.co.uk that: “Our report lays bare the scandal that UK aid, however well-intentioned, being directly or indirectly involved in funding coerced abortions in China. This is truly shocking and a slap in the face to the generosity of hard-pressed taxpayer who expects aid to help and support pregnant women, not being used in coerced or forced abortions.
“No wonder the public, by a clear margin want funding of these services to be stopped and even more so in those countries that have few if any safeguards, such as two doctors signing off any procedure, or other safeguards designed to protect women and their unborn babies.”
The report, which was launched in Parliament on Tuesday, is highly critical of China’s “one Child” policy, which has resulted in as many as 400 million abortion since its introduction in 1979, but it is particularly scathing about the treatment of minority communities in China, most notably the Uyghurs, citing evidence of the forced sterilisations of Uyghur women and coerced abortions on an industrial scale.
Documents obtained by Chinese academic Adrian Zenz show that, “…starting in 2016, the Xinjiang government began pumping tens of millions of dollars into a birth control surgery program and cash incentives for women to get sterilized. While sterilization rates plunged in the rest of the country, they surged seven-fold in Xinjiang from 2016 to 2018, to more than 60,000 procedures. The Uyghur-majority city of Hotan budgeted for 14,872 sterilizations in 2019 — over 34% of all married women of childbearing age,” the report says.
It goes on: “Zenz concluded that ‘these findings raise serious concerns as to whether Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang represent, in fundamental respects, what might be characterized as a demographic campaign of genocide per the text of Section D, Article II of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide’.
“A few months after the Zenz/AP findings were published, in September 2020, a Uyghur doctor spoke to ITV News about her participation in at least 500 to 600 operations on Uyghur women that involved forced abortion, forced contraception, forced sterilisation and forced removal of wombs.
“The doctor said that on one occasion a baby discarded in a rubbish bin was still moving.”
The report concludes by laying out a series of recommendations, including: ending UK aid to China, stopping funding multinational organisations which collaborate with the China Family Planning Association (CFPA), providing full transparency on funding that has gone to China up to this point, calling on the CCP to end all coercive reproductive programmes, with special reference to Xinjiang and insisting that in any country in receipt of UK ODA should have robust safe-guards against women being coerced into abortion.
Mr Robinson concluded: “Now the truth is out, the Government must move quickly to end the use of taxpayers money by abortion services where women are being coerced into having an abortion. This must include those international funds such as the UNFPA that the UK remains a leading donor.
“Ministers should also come clean about how much they knew and why there appears to have little or no attempt to ensure that there were robust safeguards in place. I am confident that members of parliament will be keen to look at this issue further.”