March, 1994

VATICAN CITY (Reuter) - Pope John Paul II delivered a scathing attack on sterilization, abortion AND CONTRACEPTION Friday, warning the United Nations against trying to impose limits on family size.

"All propaganda and misinformation directed at persuading couples that they must limit their family to one or two children should be steadfastly avoided," he told Nafis Sadik, head of the U.N. Fund for Population Activites, at a Vatican meeting.

Sadik is also secretary-general of the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Population and Development, to be held in Cairo in September. The Pope's unusually blunt comments, made public by the Vatican, are regarded as the Roman Catholic Church's attempt to exert an influence on the Cairo meeting.

One Vatican official said the Holy See was concerned that the conference was aimed at winning what he called "massive world funding for more abortion and more contraception."

A Vatican delegation was active at a similar conference 10 years ago in Mexico City, [as reported by Mumford's book jp] which agreed after much argument that "in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning."

"Human life itself from conception to natural death is sacred," the Pope said.

The Pope said families should be able to decide on their own, "free from all social or legal coercion, the number of children they will have and the spacing of their births."

He said contraception was immoral and abortion a "heinous evil." Sterilization "poses a most grave threat to human dignity and liberty when promoted as part of a population policy," he added.