.- African Catholics remained concerned about a push from Western leaders to promote abortion and contraception in Africa in the name of economic development, especially as the United Nations Commission on Population and Development began its annual meeting Monday.
Pope Francis has repeatedly warned against Western “ideological colonization” of developing countries in which aid money comes tied to contraceptives, abortion, sterilization, and gender ideologies.
“‘Reproductive health’ is the phrase that is the battleground of every UN Commission meeting we attend,” said law professor Teresa Collett, who will be attending the 51st session of the UN Commission on Population and Development, from April 9 to 13.
“Now ‘reproductive health’ as a phrase doesn’t sound that bad,” continued Collett, “The problem is that is diplomat speak for abortion on demand. It’s diplomat speak for contraception” Collett explained last week at a conference at the Catholic University of America marking the 50th anniversary of Humanae vitae.
At last year’s UN population and development meeting in New York, the debate over reproductive health was “so heated that we had no outcome document,” Collett explained. She partly accredits this to the fact that “African nations stood strong.”
The UN preparatory document implicitly recommends policies to reduce the birth rates in Africa:
“In much of Africa and parts of Asia, numbers of children and youth are rising rapidly. Policies … to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services are critical to achieve further reductions in maternal and child mortality. Typically, such policies lead also to a reduction in the birth rate.”
The document continued: “In countries where growth in the number of children and youth has slowed recently, there is an historic opportunity for more rapid economic growth. With a sustained reduction in the birth rate, the working-age population (ages 25-64) may continue to grow for a few more decades, temporarily raising the ratio of workers to dependents.”
Read more at Catholic News Agency.