An historic — though little noticed — legislative effort took place in the hectic days prior to Congress taking its August recess this year. Congressman Joseph Pitts, a freshman Republican lawmaker from Pennsylvania’s 16th District, drafted and tried to introduce an amendment to this year’s Foreign Aid bill that would have moved $100 million out of the budget for population control and into programs which focus on child survival.
Even though Congressman Pitts’ effort foundered on the rocks of parliamentary procedure and previous political deals, we thought it important to take note of this milestone. At no other time, since the inception of these programs, has any legislator attempted to address the issues presented by the population control movement on their own merits. We applaud the Congressman for his vision, compassion and bravery in being among the first to take on a great evil and injustice and we urge him to take up the battle in the next Congress.
The right to make decisions about the numbers and spacing of children is one of the most trampled of human rights. No government, movement, party or force has the authority to dictate to human beings how they can or cannot naturally express their fertility. The data presented in the Review’s every issue firmly contradicts the population controllers’ claims that their programs do not coerce or that they exist primarily to help the developing world’s people.
On the contrary, we have documented that these efforts, in addition to abusing human rights, undermine primary health care and actually compete for funds against efforts to combat genuine pandemics. The time has long passed for the government of the United States and other industrialized nations to begin examining their actions in the developing world and repenting of the wrongs perpetrated there. In the case of the United States, Congressman Pitts’ amendment made a good start. May he continue his efforts.