AP 04/06 14:29 EDT V0219 APRIL 6, 1994 The Associated Press
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II on Wednesday issued an unusually pointed attack on a U.N. population plan, saying it permits the "systematic death of the unborn." The Holy See already has formally registered its opposition to the draft of a document being prepared for the International Conference on Population and Development, to take place this September in Cairo, Egypt.
The document advocates access to contraception and safe abortions. The Vatican delegate to the conference's preparatory committee voiced his objections in a speech Tuesday at the United Nations.
The pope returned to the matter Wednesday during his first general audience of the year in St. Peter's Square.
He noted that the United Nations had declared 1994 the year of the family. "It could easily become the year against the family" if the conference's proposals are adopted, he said.
"We protest! I have written to all the presidents of the world ... to reflect and truly protect and defend the family.
"We cannot progress toward the future with a project of systematic death of the unborn," he said.
Last month, the pope received the conference's secretary-general, Nafis Sadik, and gave her a written message saying the document caused him "grave concern."
He said the consensus reached at the 1984 Mexico City population conference -- that "in no case" should abortion be promoted -- was completely ignored in the Cairo draft.