International Ad Campaign Exposes New Attack by Bush Administration and Vatican on Women and Family Planning
Washington, D.C.– An international ad campaign starting this week exposes an attempt by the Bush administration, the Vatican and their allies to overturn a global consensus achieved in 1994 in Cairo on reproductive health and family planning. Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) is placing ads in major newspapers in Asia, Europe and the US on opening day of the Fifth Asian and Pacific Population Conference in Bangkok, Thailand fo focus worldwide atttention on this strategy.
The ad’s headline—The Bush Administration has picked its next target— is placed over a compelling photo of a mother and child from a developing country. Ad text explains how the Bush administration is joining forces with the Vatican and Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. to sabotage a landmark UN agreement that supports life-saving reproductive health care. The ad states that “they will try to impose minority religious views on the rest of the world,” and that “women and families in the developing world will pay the price.”
“Bad politics is mixing with bad religion in a powerful axis of the Vatican and the newly conservative U.S. government,” stated Frances Kissling, president of CFFC, an advocacy organization of Catholics who disagree with Vatican positions on sexuality and reproduction. “This growing partnership is extremely dangerous for women worldwide. Unless this attempt to undermine the Cairo agreement is stopped at the Bangkok meeting, we fear that the U.S. and the Vatican will turn important UN efforts to evaluate success of family planning into polarized debates, thus blocking progress on making family planning available to all women and men. What is meant to be a meeting on ‘Cairo Plus 10’ will become ‘Cairo Minus 10.’”
The ad’s sub headline—If religious extremism wins, the whole world loses—aims to mobilize supporters of family planning worldwide. The public is urged to contact their government leaders and express support for the consensus reached by more than 160 countries at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. A website connection provides contacts to decision makers for the Bangkok conference in each country.
On December 11, the Bangkok conference’s opening day, the CFFC ad will appear in The International Herald Tribune (Asia Pacific Edition), USA Today (Asia and Europe Editions), The Nation in Thailand, and on the Federal Page of The Washington Post. The ad will also appear in The European Voice, The National Journal, and Roll Call.
The ad can be viewed at www.catholicsforchoice.org.