Claiming to honor the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population Control (ICPD), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared in Washington D.C. on January 8 that the U.S. government will push for international acceptance of reproductive health for women, including abortion, contradicting the conference's previous agreements.
The ICPD, which was held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994 with 179 participating countries, was part of a U.N. effort to address population concerns, including reproductive health initiatives for women.
“The Cairo document did not include abortion as part of reproductive health,” stated Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). “As a matter of fact,” he continued, “the Cairo conference formally said that abortion cannot be a part of family planning.”
Though Ruse told CNA that this was initially a “a great victory” at the time for pro-life supporters, things have now drastically changed under Secretary Clinton's influence. The C-FAM president underscored his claim by pointing to her testimony before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee in April 2009. Clinton told Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) in her testimony that “We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women's health and reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal and rare.”
Ruse says that “billions of dollars” from the U.S. have been pledged toward this agenda.
According to Secretary Clinton, “This year, the United States renewed funding of reproductive healthcare through the United Nations Population Fund, and more funding is on the way … The U.S. Congress recently appropriated more than $648 million in foreign assistance to family planning and reproductive health programs worldwide.” She also mentioned a larger health initiative that will take place over the next six years which will spend $63 billion “to improve global health,” which includes prevention of “millions of unintended pregnancies.”
Secretary Clinton also used her speech to praise the Obama Administration's reversal of the Mexico City Policy, which served in the past to prevent U.S. money from funding organizations that supported abortions overseas.
“This goes against the agreement of the governments at Cairo, that family planning and reproductive health would include abortion,” reiterated Ruse, who also stated that Mrs. Clinton and the Obama Administration “are going to throw the full force of the U.S. government behind getting Catholic Countries to change their laws on abortion.”
Population Research Institute president Steve Mosher also criticized Secretary Clinton's initiative, telling CNA that “'Reproductive health' is a code word for abortion and population control. It has little to do with women's health and everything to do with advancing an anti-life agenda worldwide.”
In her Jan. 8 speech Secretary Clinton also asserted, “Poll after poll has shown that a majority of Americans across the ideological divide support family planning programs and proven investments in women's health.”
In reaction to this, Mosher told CNA, “Polls that show majorities of Americans favor such programs are an artifact of the misuse of the word 'health.' Who isn't in favor of better health?”
“But reproductive 'health' programs exist not to improve the ability of women to reproduce,” Mosher explained, “but to cripple or disable their reproductive systems by means of abortion, sterilization and contraception. They should more accurately be called 'reproductive crippling' programs.”
Secretary Clinton's goal of spreading the full range of reproductive measures is being supported by the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
“The fact that organizations like International Planned Parenthood Federation applaud such programs means little more than they expect to profit from the increased funding that Hillary promises for such programs, however much women have to suffer as a result,” Steve Mosher remarked.