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The White Man’s New Burden: Abortion and Population Control

By Chuck Colson

If I asked you who understood a country’s needs better, its residents and leaders or some foreign technocrat who had never been there, you might think that it was a trick question.

Well, according to some Obama administration officials, you would be wrong. Not only that, but believing otherwise is proof that you are under the Vatican’s thrall. At least that was the position taken by the American delegation at a recent United Nations’ panel entitled, “Secure Human Development: Marriage, Family, Community.”

The American delegation tried to persuade other countries to adopt a more “comprehensive” approach to development and population. By “comprehensive” the American delegation means fewer people. Their emphasis was on “family planning” and access to abortion.

To the Americans’ consternation, the foreigners weren’t buying. The representative from St. Lucia asked a good question: “How do we get our fertility rate to rise? We were told we needed to reduce our fertility rate—[but] now we have an aging population.”

St. Lucia is not alone: After 40 years of population control propaganda and coercion, all of the industrialized and much of the developing world has below-replacement level fertility rates and aging populations, which in turn threaten economic development.

Nonetheless, this questioning of population-control dogma was too much for American delegate Laurie Shestak-Phipps to bear. Ignoring St. Lucia’s problem with a declining population, she replied that, “It is detrimental to not have adequate family planning resources.” She then asked, “Why is there a resistance to acknowledging access to family planning as a necessity?”

Actually, she already had an answer in mind: It’s the Vatican’s fault. Shestak-Phipps lashed out at the co-hosts: the Vatican and very Catholic Malta. To her, valuing “family, community, and marriage” means being able to “avoid unsafe abortion,” having “access to the highest attainable standard of reproductive health, and [people deciding] how many children they should have.”

It doesn’t matter that what Shestak-Phipps thinks is good for countries like St. Lucia isn’t what they need or want: She knows what’s best for them and anyone who says otherwise, like the Vatican, is the enemy of human well-being.

This is not the first time that our representatives have gone after the Vatican. In a March meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council, the State Department misrepresented the Vatican’s position on a proposal to add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to international laws against discrimination.

They told Latin American representatives that the Holy See had changed its position on the proposed addition when it had done no such thing. As a result, “several Latin American delegations” threw “their support behind the declaration after incorrectly believing the Holy See [supported] it.”

Reading these stories, you might think it was the 19th century all over again: powerful western countries taking up, with apologies to Rudyard Kipling, the “white man’s burden” and bidding famine and sickness cease. This time, however, it’s simply by passing out condoms and family-planning literature.

From BreakPoint, April 26, 2011, reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship,

Chuck Colson launched BreakPoint in 1991 as a daily radio commentary, providing a Christian perspective on the important news and issues of the day. Today, the BreakPoint broadcast is heard on more than 1,000 outlets by an estimated audience of over two million. In 2009, Colson launched the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, to allow visitors to dig deeper into Christian worldview teaching and application.