AP 7 Sep 94 8:36 EDT V0683 1994. The Associated Press

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Italy had a little trouble with the word 'contraceptive' on Wednesday at the U.N. population conference.

A text of the speech Family Minister Antonio Guidi gave at the conference in Cairo said several factors must be considered in "rebalancing the environment and population."

Those factors, the text said, include "education about sex and contraceptives." But when Guidi delivered his address to a half-empty auditorium, he dropped the word "contraceptive."

He later told reporters the omission was unintentional, and that the text was official.

The conservative government of overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Italy is a nervous neighbor of the Vatican, which opposes abortion and contraception. It does not want to offend the Vatican, but most Italians support the use of artificial birth control and the right to abortion, which is legal in Italy.

The Vatican has fought vigorously to keep abortion rights out of the plan of action to curb population growth that the conference is putting together.

The Italian delegation in Cairo has not yet spelled out its position on abortion as it would appear in the plan.