World Delegates Discuss Population Control (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: An international conference sponsored by the United Nations emphasized links among population control, economic development, and the advancement of women.
The Cairo Conference
The United Nations sponsored a conference in Cairo, Egypt, in September, 1994, with the intent of creating a twenty-year master plan for population control. Although conferees agreed to roughly 90 percent of the draft document in advance of the conference, debate and controversy reflected fundamental differences on a variety of difficult issues. These issues included reproductive rights, abortion, women’s rights, and family structure. Press reports focused on dissent from nations with traditional views about the role of women, family life, and reproductive freedom. In particular, the delegation from the Vatican (represented as a sovereign state) was joined by leaders from Islamic states in opposing draft language believed to be destructive to the traditional family unit. Delegates particularly opposed liberal access to abortions.
The issue of abortion, described in paragraph 8.25 of the plan, raised the ire of the Islamic leaders, Vatican delegates, and Pope John Paul II himself. The plan conceptualizes abortion as a public health issue, focusing particularly on the potential risk of unsafe abortions to women’s health. Taking into account the concerns of the Vatican and allies, the adopted language holds that...
(The entire section is 1003 words.)
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