U.S. Accused of Trying to Isolate United Nations Population Fund

United Nations officials, diplomats, and NGO workers are accusing the Bush administration of attempting to isolate the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) by bullying groups with which it works. Enviros, family-planning advocates, and other folks with a basic sense of decency have long criticized the administration (and previous administrations) for withholding millions of dollars in support for the UNFPA, bowing to pressure from conservative anti-abortion groups that claim the fund — which, among other things, educates poor women on their family planning and birth control options — promotes abortion, a charge the agency denies. In April, the administration withdrew its support for a major international conference on health issues involving UNFPA. It has privately warned other groups like UNICEF and the World Health Organization that their funding could be jeopardized if they work with the UNFPA. Four Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell last week demanding a legal explanation for the administration’s actions.