From the 1998 Inside the Vatican
Special Supplement on Humanae Vitae
Far from diminishing in relevancy, the prophetic words of Paul VI are increasingly relevant as the 20th century draws to a close
Contraception Issues in the News
• April 29, 1998: Steven W. Mosher, Director of the Population Research Institute (PRI) of Falls Church, Virginia (USA) praises the US Senate for passing HR 1757 which reinstates the Mexico City policy barring international organizations which receive US funds from lobbying governments to promote abortion. “This measure helps to reign in our imperialistic population control policy,” he says. “Americans would be outraged if foreign governments set up front groups to overturn US laws. Yet that is exactly what international population control groups funded by the US do throughout the Third World."
• May 4: Maryland Gov. Parris Glendenning signs a new state law April 28 that re- quires health insurance companies cover the cost of prescription contraceptives if they also cover other prescription medicines.
• May 4: In an editorial, the Philadelphia Inquirer salutes RU-486 as the answer to America’s quandary over abortion. The abortion pill is portrayed as a great way for women to “choose that unhappy but sometimes necessary option... letting women avoid surgical abortion and sparing them the taunts and harassment outside abortion clinics.”
• May 11: The New York Post publishes an article headlined “Therefore, Choose Life.” The Post says America must answer the question, “What is life?” Citing recent news stories about frozen embryos and Jack Kevorkian, the Post says “nothing will define America in the future more than the answer it gives to the life question. And it is not for judges to answer it. Judges are supposed to interpret the law, and without firm and unambiguous laws, they are flying blind.” The editorial chastises Congress for shunning its responsibilities for the past 25 years, “ever since the Supreme Court improperly decided to declare abortion a constitutional right.” The Post concludes by suggesting lawmakers will find much wisdom Deuteronomy 30:19, which says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life.”
• May 13: Billionaire media mogul Ted Turner announces the Board of Directors of the United Nations Foundation, the organization established to execute Turner's $1 billion pledge to support UN causes. These causes include a heavy emphasis on population control. Turner challenges other billionaires to join him in giving to these causes.
• May 28: The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI) at the UN reports that Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC), a group advocating disobedience to Rome on questions of contraception and abortion, has received official recognition from the UN, one of 60 national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) approved after a year-long application process.
• June 8: The Population Research Institute hails the collapse of Peru’s brutal and notorious sterilization
campaign aimed at the poor in that country. Director Steven W. Mosher says his organization sent a video team to Peru in January to document the atrocities. (Mosher wrote an article on this situation in the March issue of Inside the Vatican).
• June 18: Two Americans are engaged in a controversial campaign to export a sterilization drug to women in developing countries in order to limit immigration to the USA, the Wall Street Journal reports in a lengthy front page story today. The newspaper says Stephen Mumford, 55, and Dr. Elton Kessel, 79, are the only distributors of “Quinacrine” pellets in the world. The two operate the non-profit “Center for Research on Population and Security,” manufacturing the drug in Switzerland and distributing it in 20 countries.
Quinacrine irreversibly sterilizes women after it is inserted into the uterus and scars the fallopian tubes. The process is painful, causing some women to faint, and may have dangerous side-effects. Quinacrine is banned in the US and even most population control groups, as well as the World Health Organization, oppose its use. Mumford told the Journal that his organization believes Quinacrine is a way to decrease world population and reduce the potential number of immigrants to the United States from developing nations. “This explosion in human numbers, which after 2050 will come entirely from immigrants and the offspring of immigrants, will dominate our lives. There will be chaos and anarchy," Mumford said. Mumford estimates that more than 100,000 women have been sterilized over the past decade. The report says the population control group is sup- ported by anti-immigration organizations in the US.
• June 19: The US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approves a bill which would require federal health plans to cover birth control for 1 million government employees. Catholic representatives oppose the amendment because of the Church’s teaching that contraception is a grave moral evil, in addition to the practical consideration that studies show increased use of contraceptives actually lead to more abortions, not fewer.
• June 24: At the National Press Club in Washington D.C., actress Jane Fonda, wife of billionaire Ted Turner, expresses her opposition to “abstinence only” sex-ed programs by lashing out at Christian groups. “They don't care about children who don’t look like them,” she says. “They don’t care about children that are not white, middle class Christians. As far as they’re concerned others can be eliminated. This is a holy war and everything for our children is at stake.” This statement comes a little over a month after Ted Turner pledged $1 billion to the UN to help with population control programs in the Third World. Christian missionaries report they cannot find antibiotics in Third World hospitals for sick children but the medicine closets are fully stocked with the latest contraceptive chemicals and devices.
• June 25: The US House of Representatives approves a measure forbidding the use of taxpayer money to develop, test or approve abortion-inducing drugs. The step was introduced by Rep. Tom Coburn, MD, OB/GYN (R- Oklahoma).
• June 25: Delegates to UN discussions in Rome over the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ask the Women’s Caucus, a feminist-con- trolled coalition of NGOs, to give strict definitions to terms like “gender agenda,” “enforced pregnancy,” and “gender persecution,” the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI) reports. The feminists “obfuscated vigorously” when pressed for precise definitions, the report says. Delegates feared vague terms like “enforced pregnancy,” if inserted into the laws, could lead to denial of abortion access being an international crime, and the term “gender” itself, despite its appearance in some international documents, could lead to homosexuality being recognized as a “gender,” thus outlawing the favoring of heterosexual marriage over homosexual pairings.
The objections raised by Libya’s delegate high- light the legal hazards that would inevitably ensue following the inclusion of an “enforced pregnancy” reference.
The Libyan noted that rape is already a recognized war crime, so the addition of “enforced pregnancy” can only serve to make the resulting condition of pregnancy a crime as well. However, she continued, that would immediately place many countries in an impossible legal position, since any termination of the criminalized condition of “enforced pregnancy” will necessitate an abortion — an action which is itself a grave criminal act under the laws of many religiously-based societies.
• July 2: Research published today in the July New England Journal of Medicine pronounces “morning-after” pills “safe.” The authors recommend that pharmacists make them available without a prescription. The pills make the lining of the uterus inhospitable to a living, fertilized human embryo. The embryo is unable to implant and gain nourishment, and so dies.
• July 3: US Surgeon General David Satcher outlines his agenda for dealing with the rising epidemic of AIDS and STDs among young people. He calls for condom commercials on television, and voices strong support for federally-funded needle ex- changes for drug users.
• July 6: A Chinese woman who sought asylum in Japan to escape Communist China’s one-child policy and a forced abortion is charged with unlawful entry into the country. Prosecutors seek a 1-year jail term for Li Xuemei, 25, who filed for refugee status. Li claims she came to Japan to have her child, accord- ing to investigators. Li was arrested in the town of Kashima along with 50 others aboard a Korean fishing boat on February 19. Li is the first Chinese migrant to apply for refugee status on the grounds she was fleeing China because of its one-child policy.
In June, a former population control administrator in China had provided extensive details to a US Congress human rights subcommittee on how China’s “one child per couple” system functions. Chinese government tactics for dealing with unauthorized pregnancies include nighttime raids, forced abortions, destruction of offending women’s houses, Gao Xiao Duan said. She said her office paid informants to report on unauthorized pregnancies of neighbors, relatives and friends. A videotape of Gao and the office building where she ran a birth control office included footage of an aborted unborn child, a detention cell with bars, an operating room and a computer records center.
“I did so many brutal things,” Gao said in Chinese translated by an interpreter. “All those... years I was a monster in the daytime, injuring others by carrying out the Chinese Communist authorities’ barbaric planned birth policy. But in the evening I enjoyed my life with my children. I could not live such a dual life anymore.” She quit her job in Fujian province’s Yongwe township this year, fled China and arrived in the United States in April, she said.
• July 3: Chile’s Public Health Office (PHI) today banned the controversial sterilization drug Quinacrine after it was extensively tested on women during more than 10 years in some state hospitals.
• July 10: The New York Times carries a front page story on Europe’s “birth dearth,” noting that experts cannot explain why so few children are being born. Not a single country in Europe has a fertility rate high enough to maintain its current population.
• July 17: The Washington Post echoes the New York Times in an opinion piece by columnist Charles Krauthammer. What will be the result of the “unprecedented population implosion now taking place in Europe”? Krauthammer asks. “Social disaster,” he concludes. “Children with no blood relatives but their parents; no brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. (That’s what happens when you have two generations of single-child families.)” In Bologna, Italy, he notes, there will soon be 25 people over 50 for every child under 5.