In a dramatic reversal of U.S. government policy, funding of abortions in the third world may be ended by the Reagan administration.  A paper prepared by the White House Office of Policy development and the National Security Council calls for a substantial reduction in the funds given to such agencies as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

The policy statement, to be presented at the U.N. -sponsored International Conference on Population in Mexico City this month, says, in part,

The U.N. declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) calls for legal protection for children before as well as after birth and the United States accordingly does not consider abortion an acceptable element of family planning programs and will not contribute to those of which it is a part.

Nor will it any longer contribute directly or indirectly to family planning programs funded by governments or private organizations that advocate abortion as an instrument of population control.

The U.S. currently contributes $240 million annually to organizations involved in international population control programmes.  Groups such as UNFPA and IPPF which fund abortions in the third world would lose more than $100 million in assistance.  Contributions to family planning programmes in countries such as India and Bangladesh would also be stopped.  Aid to countries and groups whose family planning programmes do not include abortion would not be affected.

According to the American Life Lobby, the UNFPA has been supporting China’s forced abortion and sterilization programmes.  U.S. assistance, through its Agency for International Development (AID), was given to Iran under the regime of the Shah who legalized abortion and sterilization.

In an article in ALL About Issues in July, the American Life Lobby reported that AID money helped Iran to support … “Menstrual regulation by electric suction pump,” “Menstrual regulation by Burnett hand pump,” “menstrual regulation performed by physicians and nurses” in Isfahan, and experiments upon pregnant women in Tehran to abort them with prostaglandin.

According to the New York Times, the policy change does not need Congressional approval.  Once President Reagan formally approves the new policy, the State Department and other agencies would have to revise their rules to reflect the change.  Congress could only block the policy by passing specific legislation.  Congress will probably not do this, as it does not want another abortion debate in an election year.

The new policy will be presented in Mexico City by former senator James Buckley who heads the U.S. delegation.  Newsday calls Mr. Buckley “a vehement foe of abortion.”

In the meantime, the names of those who will form Canada’s delegation to the International Conference on Population have not yet been announced.

However, the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada has announced that it has obtained “special funding” from the Canadian International Development Agency “to promote awareness of population issues” and to assist in the printing and distribution at the Conference of its magazine Tellus. Planned Parenthood Canada promises that the magazine will “highlight some of the major global issues of population and the implications for development.”

Since the U.S. delegation is heading off to Mexico City with a strong policy in favour of protecting life, it is to be hoped that serious consideration will be given to pro-life policies.

The Canadian Population Task Force points out that “it is important to remember that the recommendations agreed to at this meeting are binding; that Canada, as part of the planet Earth, will be asked to implement those that are appropriate for its setting.”

Transcript of President Reagan’s Filmed Address to the National Right to Life Convention, June 8, 1984, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Convention Chairman Kathy Edwards, ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry I can’t be with you in Kansas City, but I’m delighted to have this chance to speak to you.

When the Supreme Court handed down its Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, abortion became the over-riding moral issue of our times.  Ever since, the National Right to Life committee has worked diligently to protect the lives of unborn infants.

You serve as a clearing house of information for the press and public.  You maintain an effective lobbying-force here in Washington and you’ve proven instrumental in enacting significant legislative reforms like crucial restrictions on Federal funding of abortions.

Today the National Right to Life committee represents nearly 2000 chapters, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with millions of supporters.  That’s a powerful army, marching in the name of human life.  Together, we must continue to proclaim the noble ideal that human life is sacred and that our nation cannot turn its back on the taking of some four thousand unborn infants’ lives every day.

Abortion as means of birth control must stop.  Many who seek abortions do so in harrowing circumstances.  Often they suffer deep personal trauma and no man or woman should sit in judgment on another.  But if we could rise above bitterness and reproach, if Americans could come together in a spirit of understanding and helping, then we could find positive solutions to the tragedy of abortion.  

Over the first three years of my administration, I have closely followed and assisted efforts in the Congress to reverse the tide of abortion – efforts of congressmen, Senators, and citizens responding to this urgent moral crisis.  I will continue to support every effort to restore legal protection for the unborn child, and I ask for your all-out commitment so that together we can convince our fellow countrymen that America can, should, and will preserve God’s gift, human life.

Shortly before his death last October, my friend, Cardinal Cooke wrote these words: “The gift of life, God’s special gift, is no less beautiful when it is accompanied by illness or weakness, hunger or poverty, mental or physical handicaps, loneliness, or old age.  Indeed, at this time, human life gains extra splendor as it requires our special care, concern, and reverence.

It is in and through the weakest of human vessels that the Lord continues to reveal the power of his love.”  No human life is weaker, and therefore, more deserving of our reverence and care than that of unborn infants.

I commend the National Right to Life Committee for all you’ve done to protect these innocent lives, and I urge you to carry on your noble work with vigor.

Thank you, and God bless you.