From .............. National Catholic Reporter

December 13, 1996

page 8


Vatican officials criticized United Nations' plans to include contraceptives and "morning after" pills in its aid package for Rwandan refugees.

With hundreds of thousands of refugees facing hunger and contagious diseases, population control "is not the problem," said Joaquin NavarroValls, Vatican spokesman.

A Nov. 15 U.N. press release said a six-month pilot project would make a "package of reproductive health services" available to the approximately 1 million refugees in flight along the Zairean-Rwandan border. The United Nations said the package would address contraception, childbirth, sexual violence and rape, and sexually transmitted diseases. Contraceptives will also include post-coital contraception.

The fact that drugs to terminate pregnancies are included under the heading of "reproductive health care," one Vatican official said, "proves the Vatican was right on fighting the 'right to reproductive health' down the line at every U.N. conference. 'Reproductive health' does include abortion."