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Vatican says birth control not key to fighting poverty, renews call for focus on women’s rights

The Holy See is pushing back on the idea that promoting birth control is the answer to world poverty, according to Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations.

Archbishop Caccia rejected the “notion that population control is the key to sustainable development.”

Instead, he asserted, “it is essential to guarantee that all men, women, and children have the opportunity to actualize their full potential.”

Caccia’s comments came as the UN marks 30 years since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. The conference aimed to address population issues and development.

The Cairo Conference, held in 1994, was a pivotal event that shaped global dialogue on population and development, establishing an agenda that emphasized human rights and the reduction of inequalities.

The Archbishop argued that the focus of the ICPD has become “increasingly narrow” in recent years, with an overemphasis on birth control, including abortion, as a solution to poverty.

“It is evident that numerous challenges persist, especially in the pursuit of eradicating poverty,” he noted. 

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“The discussions have regressed with many attempting to frame population as an issue to be ‘solved,’” Caccia said. He criticized efforts to promote abortion under the guise of “politically correct language.”

The Vatican believes this approach disrespects human life and dignity.

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