Senator ties depopulation scheme to U.S. security memo

In August, Philippine Congressman Edcel Lagman introduced the Reproductive Health Act to the House of Representatives in Manila. The bill calls for “the limitation of the number of children to an affordable two children per family” and calls upon the government to “encourage two-child family size to attain the desired population growth rate.”

The following week, nine lawmakers filed two more bills seeking to address the supposed “over-population problem” by establishing “an integrated population policy and provide for reproductive health structures.”

The introduction of the bills has created a wave of controversy in the predominantly Catholic country and a strong admonition from both the church and pro-life and pro-family groups.

A recent report from the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau identified the Philippines as the fastest-increasing population in Asia at 2.36 percent annually. The Philippines is the 12th most-populated country in the world, estimated at 83.7 million. Population projections predict it to increase to 147.3 million by 2050.

The Philippine Department of Health has come out in favour of the two-child policy to address population growth in the country.

In an interview with the Manila Standard, Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit stated that the proposal to encourage couples to have only two children is compatible with the government’s advocacy of spacing a three-year period between pregnancies.

Dayrit said that his department is willing to support the House bill as long as it is not coercive. “We are open to the idea, as long as it is not coercive and remains consistent with the position of the administration on birth spacing and responsible parenthood. We would implement family planning policies even if it conflicts with the stand of the Catholic church, provided they are lawful, legal and approved by the government,” he said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that population control would not stand as a priority in her next six-year term and it was not included in her state of the nation address.

House Speaker Jose de Venecia defended the bill, stating, “Our resources can only afford a small population and the two-child policy is part of my strategy to save the nation because over-population will kill the nation.”

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. has linked the efforts to slow down the country’s population growth rate through the use of artificial contraceptives to the United States’ intention to maintain its imperialist domination of the world’s economies.

“This whole effort to propagate a two-child policy by all sorts of contraceptive methods and even abortion was borne out of a desire of the United States to control the economies of the world to sustain their predominant economic and military status,” Pimentel said at the First Faculty Philosophical Symposium on Population Issues at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila in September.

Pimentel cited the existence of the U.S. National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200, which concluded that the rapid population of Third World countries poses a threat to the national security of the United States. The study was commissioned in 1974 by then-secretary of state, Henry Kissinger.

“The rationale was simple,” Pimental said. “Growing population of these countries would mean expanding the domestic demands for their indigenous resources. That would, in turn, mean reducing the availability of those resources for the needs of the U.S.”

Pimentel continued: “In the view of NSSM 200, the solution to reduce the growth of those populations was by offering them aid, contraceptives or even the know-how of so-called safe abortions.”

He branded the promotion of artificial contraceptives as an “oxymoron,” as the expulsion of a fetus from the mother’s womb with the intent to kill would never be safe for the child concerned.

Pimentel went on to state that proponents of family planning programs in targeted countries were being offered $5 million by the U.S. government, aside from all-expenses paid participation in international conferences, among other incentives.

He accused the Bush administration of threatening to slash funding unless local family planning advocates could prove success in curtailing the birth rate. Pimentel surmised that the two-child policy was introduced to counteract the threat of the U.S. government to pull development funding.

In his remarks at the symposium, Pimentel said the proposal to implement a two-child policy is based on the erroneous premises that rising population is the cause of mass poverty, that the country is now over-populated and the church’s refusal to allow artificial contraception and abortion is to blame.

Pimentel argued that poverty in the country is caused not by the huge population, but by the mismanagement of government, as evidenced by widespread corruption, failure to deliver basic services, inability to create the climate for business to thrive and provide work for the people, and the poor maintenance of law and order.

He said that the advocacy of curtailing by law the right of the people, particularly the poor, to propagate ominously echoes the eugenics practised by the Nazis.

“If they were to be that blunt, the message would be too gruesome to Filipino ears. Thus, they talk instead of terminating ‘unwanted pregnancies’ to curtail the unwanted rise of the country’s population. Pregnancies, in their vocabulary, are more or less neutral in meaning. They blot out the idea that human lives are involved when they talk of terminating unwanted pregnancies,” Pimentel concluded.

The House of Representative is expected to vote on the three bills this fall.

Editor’s Note: NSSM 200 is a declassified memo outlining a suggested policy by then-secretary of state Henry Kissinger to limit the growth of the developing world to maintain American hegemony over the world’s resources. However, three of the last four U.S. presidents have opposed the thrust of that memo, most clearly by their support of the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits funding of overseas family planning outfits that promote abortion.