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July 18, 1994
Page two

      Unrestricted abortion has had a devastating impact on our country. There has been a decline in respect for unborn children, women and family life in general. In many ways, human life has become cheap. It is no longer respected as a gift with innate value.

      Nevertheless, millions of Americans are undeterred in the quest to reestablish the most basic human right of all -- the right to life. Public opinion polls now show that 80% of Americans are against abortion as a method of birth control. As the tide is turning in favor of life here in the States, it would be an enormous tragedy -- and a gross injustice -- if countries that have had the decency and compassion to protect their unborn babies all of these years were pressured, even coerced into reversing their pro-life policy.

      As you know, at the 1984 U.N. population conference in Mexico City, the international community showed great sensitivity and concern when the delegates agreed to language that said, "abortion ... in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning."

      At the Cairo conference, we urge you to exclude abortion from the definitions of the many ambiguous terms included in the proposed document, and to reject entirely the promotion of "safe abortion." How can a government be expected to promote the safety of a procedure which violates its laws or constitution? Abortion is inherently inconsistent with "reproductive health," "reproductive rights," "family planning," "fertility regulation," and "safe motherhood." Such a principled stand is entirely consistent with compassionate care for women who have undergone abortions and who have suffered physical or psychological wounds as a result. We hope that you will find the enclosed information, which addresses the myth of "safe abortion," of value.

      We are pleased to note that many delegates to the ICPD Prep-Com wisely resisted pressure to agree that the availability of "safe" abortion should be part of the ICPD plan of action. These delegates understood very well that couching the debate in terms of "reproductive rights," "sexual and reproductive health care," "safe abortions," "safe motherhood," "reproductive choice," etc. does not change the purpose of such a statement in the plan of action: that is, the sanction of the international community for abortion as a method of family planning and population control -- a position which is diametrically opposed to the consensus of the international community ten years ago at the Mexico City Conference.

      For our part, we will continue our efforts to increase access to basic health care services which would more successfully prevent maternal and child mortality and morbidity, including pre-natal and post-natal care, coverage for antibiotics, vaccinations and immunizations, oral rehydration, and other successful measures.

      With respect to reports of pressure concerning abortion language in the Cairo document, we intend to intervene actively if any U.S. officials, U.S. conference delegates, or international organizations seek to encroach on the rights and responsibilities of nations in this sensitive area.

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