A controversy over U.S views on capitalism and abortion

Shahabuddin Khaled Chowdhury

Shahabuddin Khaled Chowdhury.
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In the middle of August 1984, more than 3000 delegates from 148 countries assembled in Mexico city’s biggest centre to attend the second united nation’s sponsored international conference on population control of the world. Their only purpose was to find out appropriate ways to curb the growth of world’s alarmingly rising population growth which threatens nearly to double to 8.3 billion by the year 2025.

A serious critical controversy arose not because of the problem itself but because of the strangely peculiar attitude of the United States of America which contributed 44% of the total contribution to global family planning programme made by all developed countries of the world. James Buckley, the then U.S.A’s chief delegate announced that U.S would redirect its financial assistance to such organizations that do not allow abortion as a tool of family planning. According to him, in this way U.S foreign assistance programme will be more reflective of its fundamental value. He also said that federal law already prohibited clearly the use of funds for the abortion in other countries. It would cut off funds to private organization that promote abortion. It has already been decided by the American govt, it would cut off  funds to private organization that promote abortion. Any government that promotes abortion as a method of its family planning programme will have definitely assure that the U.S money will not be used for that purpose.

Any violation in this regard will not be approved. Delegates from other countries attending the conference seriously and vehemently criticised American pressing attempt to impose its own values on other countries of the world without logical justification whatsoever. An important member of indian delegate Mr. Satpal Mittal said ” India as estimated 15 million abortions are performed annually but it cannot impose its views on other countries of the world. The U.S attempt to advocate a model world-wide is unrealistic “.

Capitalist model as always followed by United States of America is very much unrealistic for poor countries . Because it is quite impossible that poor countries are not capable of developing themselves in the way America and other developed countries did . Kenya’s ex-vice president Mr. Mwai Kibaki said, even if it were true that rising standards of living lead to reduced population growth, the time schedule is 100 to 150 years. No one has the right to ask developing countries to wait.

Many delegates of the conference vehemently criticised U.S policy as an election year more.United States of America wanted to satisfy conservatives and Roman Catholic voters who are very much loyal to the Vatican anti-abortion stance. Although the U.S representatives denied the charges very vehemently.

Vice president of the Washington based population crisis committee, totally refuted the U.S co-relation between rising incomes and falling birthrates. As for example in Mexico a rising income level in the 1960’s did not help birthrates fall. Significantly until the govt started a family planning programme. On the other hand at the same time Thailand and Indonesia lowered their birthrates by family planning programme  but still had low income levels.

Some population specialists argued that inspite of different views, many countries urgently need abortion programme. According to surveys by the many economic organizations including those of world bank, millions of couples both in developing and developed countries want no more children. So, if opportunities of birth control are not easily available, many people will continue to take the advantage of illegal abortions. But at the same time, it is really difficult for many reasons connected with the morality, abortion is very difficult to be promoted as a method of population control. Moreover, efforts require not only will but money also.

World Bank estimated in the year 1983 that $ 7.6 billion will be necessary if the third world is to achieve a rapid decline infertility by the 2000.That figure pales against the estimated $600 billion a year that the world spends on armaments. As long as there is lack of understanding among the policy makers regarding links between population and global stability, it will be really difficult to have global stability without which world peace will not be restored in real sense of the term.