a) We read clearly in this Report:
While the agencies participating in this study have no specific recommendations to propose on abortion, the following issues are believed important and should be considered in the context of a global population strategy.
1. Worldwide Abortion Practices
Certain facts about abortion need to be appreciated:
- No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.
- Thirty million pregnancies are estimated to be terminated annually by abortion throughout the world. ...
[There follows a brief report on various laws about this.]
The abortion statutes of many countries are not strictly enforced.... Lack of medical personnel and facilities or conservative attitudes among physicians and hospital administrators may effectively curtail access to abortion, especially for economically or socially deprived women. ...
2. U.S. legislation and its policies relative to abortion
The predominant part of A.I.D.'s population assistance program has concentrated on contraception or foresight methods. A.I.D. recognized, however, that under developing country conditions foresight methods not only are frequently unavailable but often fail due to ignorance, lack of preparation, misuse and non-use. Because of these latter conditions, increasing numbers of women in the developing world have been resorting to abortion, usually under unsafe and often lethal conditions. Indeed, abortion, legal and illegal, now has became the most widespread fertility control method in use in the world today. Since, in the developing world, the increasingly widespread practice of abortion is conducted often under unsafe conditions, A.I.D. sought through research to reduce health risks and other complications which arise from the illegal and unsafe forms of abortion. One result has been the development of the Menstrual Regulation Kit, a simple, inexpensive, safe and effective means of fertility control; which is easy to use under LDC conditions.
[There follow considerations regarding the restrictions imposed by the American administration of the time on the use of AID funds for abortion. These considerations end as follows:]
A.I.D. funds may continue to be used for research relative to abortion since the Congress specifically chose not to include research among prohibited activities.
One major effect of the amendment and policy determination is that A.I.D. will not be involved in further development or promotion of the Menstrual Regulation Kit. However, other donors or organizations may become interested in promoting with their own funds dissemination of this promising fertility control method ...1
b) Between the twelve years of the Reagan and Bush Administrations, it was U.S. official policy to not fund population programs that used abortion. In fact, the pro-life tendencies of these two presidents sought to diminish public funding for abortion in general. However, the Clinton Administration rescinded the advances of the two prior administrations. This was expressed with great clarity in 1993 by Timothy E. Wirth, the U.S. representative:
"President Clinton is deeply committed to placing population among the top international priorities of America. ... The government of the USA believes that the Cairo Conference [Sept. 5-13, 1994] will be remiss in its duty if it does not develop recommendations and guidelines regarding abortion. Our position consists in supporting reproductive choice, including access to successful abortion." 2
1 These quotations are taken from pp. 182-184 of the Report.
2 See the statement presented by Timothy Wirth on May 11, 1993, to the second committee preparing for the International Conference in Cairo (Sept. 5-13, 1994) on population and development.