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Robertson seeks to clarify statement on forced abortion

Thursday, April 26, 2001 | Tag Cloud

April 26, 2001
By Kenny Byrd

WASHINGTON (ABP) -- Christian Coalition founder and President Pat Robertson claims he was misunderstood in comments taken by some as justifying forced abortions in China.
Robertson's recent statement aired on CNN that Chinese officials are "doing what they have to do" to curb population growth by implementing a one-child policy has bewildered and angered pro-life advocates.

In a recent interview, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Robertson about "the so-called forced abortions in China?"

"Well, you know, I don't agree with it," the televangelist and one-time presidential candidate said. Robertson went on to say: "But at the same time, they've got 1.2 billion people, and they don't know what to do. If every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable."

"So, I think that right now they're doing what they have to do," Robertson added. "I don't agree with the forced abortion, but I don't think the United States needs to interfere with what they're doing internally in this regard."

When Blitzer said his critics would claim Robertson was "justifying abortions in China," Robertson responded, "Well, I just think they need to get involved in what's happening."

Robertson continued his statements and appeared to be concerned about the "racial purity of the Han Chinese."

"When they're having abortions, they're picking the girl babies for the slaughter, and they're allowing only the males to be born," Robertson stated. "And in another, say, 10 or 20 years, there's going to be a critical shortage of wives. The young men won't have any women to marry, so it will, in a sense, dilute the -- what they consider the racial purity of the Han Chinese. And that to them will be a great tragedy, because then they will have to be importing wives from Indonesia and others countries in order to fill up the population."

Fellow members of the Religious Right objected to what they called Robertson's backing of "forced abortion" in China.

The American Life League issued a statement by President Judie Brown, saying, "Of all people, Pat Robertson should have faith that God will find a way to provide for the Chinese people that doesn't require slaughtering millions of babies in the womb." The group said Robertson sounded "like a Ted Turner clone."

And Robertson's clarification statement did not do much to appease the criticism.

The statement, according to a press release by the Family Research Council, said: "In my CNN interview, I did not preface my remarks with my long-held view [favoring the right to life], but I merely expressed what to me seemed obvious … that the Chinese people with a population of 1.2 billion will face a dilemma of massive proportions if they permit their population to explode upwards of 2 billion people." He added that the one-child policy reflects "an obvious necessity."

FRC President Ken Connor said, "I have profound respect for Pat Robertson and all he has done to champion faith and family, … but these statements, and the clarification that failed to clarify, are misguided and just plain wrong."

"It may not be pleasant to point it out, but the role of racism in the protection and promotion of abortion is a nearly universal phenomenon," Connor said. "It was there at the beginning in the negative eugenics and racist theories of Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger. It is there outside our own legislative chambers where, as debate raged, members whispered to me, 'Connor, how are we going to build all the prisons and schools we need for those people if we limit abortion?'"

A Christian Coalition spokesman told Associated Baptist Press that Robertson wrongly assumed his audience would understand his comments in the context of his long-held views against abortion. The Christian Coalition aide also said that Robertson's subsequent clarification statement was "a bit mucky."

But the spokesman cited a more-recent television interview in which Robertson stated: "I am unalterably opposed to forced abortion. I am opposed to abortion as a means of population control and that has always been my position for the past 40 years or so."

The spokesman attributed criticism from the Religious Right in part to competition that sometimes occurs between various organizations and the desire to keep each other in check. He added, however, that the Christian Coalition still "works closely" with the Family Research Council on legislative issues.

In the CNN interview, Robertson also discussed religious liberty in China, pointing out that "there is a tremendous religious revival, and I have seen an emerging middle class come on in China that ultimately is going to win the day."

When asked to grade the Bush presidency so far, Robertson said a B-plus or A-minus. He also reiterated his new skepticism of Bush's faith-based initiative to fund religious social service programs with tax dollars.

"If the government forces these faith-based institutions to give up their unique distinctives and no longer preach the gospel or read the Bible or have prayer or use spiritual counseling, if that's denied them, then of course the government will ruin the organizations," Robertson said.

Associated Baptist Press. Used with Permission.

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Worthy Christian News » Christian » Robertson seeks to clarify statement on forced abortion

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Worthy Christian News » Christian » Robertson seeks to clarify statement on forced abortion